Last year, my USGA index skyrocketed to embarrassing heights and I scrambled for excuses in this year end post of 2012. And then I played the same type of schedule in 2013 and dropped down to my pre-season goal of a handicap in the 8’s, finishing at an 8.8. So I guess all my logic from last year didn’t hold water. Out of about 35 rounds, at least 20 were on courses new to me and I shaved 4 strokes off anyway. Only five rounds crept into the 90’s, and two of those were in February when I only had one working wrist. But only two rounds snuck into the 70’s, one of which won me $200. So now I’ve settled into a low 80’s threat in the midst of what are supposedly my prime physical years (though at the moment I look more like the “before” pic). So then what changed?
Breckenridge Golf Club in Breckenridge, CO
Tee Time: July 27, 2013, 12:20, 69 F, overcast
Designer: Jack Nicklaus (1987)
Playing Partners: Brendan Noonan, CJ Phelan, Greg Ryan
Tees: Beaver/Bear tournament, Par 72 (71.6 rating/139 slope/6,605 yards)
Course Handicap: 12 (9.5 index)
Stats: 85 (43-42); 33 putts; 5/14 fairways; 7/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes
High up in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by thousands of evergreens and snow-covered peaks, sits Breckenridge Golf Club. And I do mean high. At the 8th tee of the Beaver 9, you are 9,426 feet above sea level. Which means if you really pop up a driver up in the air, you can almost launch a ball to an altitude where it would be safe to turn on portable electronics and cell phones, as long as they remain in “Airplane Mode”. The tricky thing is, though, that never on the golf course does it really seem like you’re at nearly 10,000 feet. There are some slight elevation changes, but none of the hundred-foot drops that you might expect playing atop a mountain range. It makes it even more fun, because the layout is similar to many others around the country, meaning you get to experience what it’s like to play golf like a tour pro and their drives topping 300 or 320 yards. The setting is amazing. Despite being only fifteen minutes from Main Street, it feels isolated. There is one road that has a bit of traffic on the Bear 9 and some holes are bordered by million-dollar cabins, but for the most part it is the golf course that takes center stage. There are 27 holes at the club, the Bear, Beaver and Elk. We played the Beaver/Bear circuit, and hopefully I’ll come back for the Elk. Looks are deceiving here. The golf may look simple and easy at times, but this is one tough course. Don’t even think about playing the Nicklaus tees and their 147 slope from nearly 7,600 yards. Altitude or not, that’s a lot of turf. Continue reading Breckenridge Golf Club
So in 2012 I got a new job, new car, moved into a new house, published a book and got a black lab puppy (which I now know can be more exhausting than a new job, new car, new house and publishing a book). Despite all that, I still managed to log over 30 rounds of golf and get to 5 new states. Now that all that craziness is over I can get around to focusing on playing better golf in 2013. I did start ’12 as an 8.5 and rocketed all the way up to a 13.2 before settling at my current 12.5. That’s not acceptable, and my new goal is to work that down to an 8.0. I’m not a man to make excuses, but if I were, they’d go something like this:
- Out of those 30+ rounds, only 6 were on courses I had played before. A wise man I played with at Lookout Mountain mentioned that just knowing a course can save 4-5 strokes. I agree, which is why it’s my fake excuse #1.
- I did get brand new irons and a new 3-wood, which took a few rounds to get adjusted to. But I do love those Cleveland TA7’s and the Taylor Made Rocketballz.
- I was hungover during 1 or 2 rounds, possibly.
- I’m pretty sure the holes at the Stadium Course in La Quinta were smaller than the specified 4-1/4″. Yeah, that’s it.
- Raising a puppy is exhausting.
- According to the Chineze Zodiac calendar, it was the Year of the Dragon. We Tigers don’t play our best golf during years of the Dragon, Rat or Rabbit. So sayeth ancient Chinese folklore (see author’s illustration below).
What about 2013 then? I still expect it to contain the required 20+ rounds of desert golf as I remain a resident of Arizona. But I still need 5 new states. I’ve got a few ideas and what my odds are of actually getting there.