Well, I tried the new draw swing out for the first time on my home course today. Hasentree is wide open out of the tee box so I knew it would allow me to get comfortable with my new shoot shape. So, here is how it went.
We were starting on 10 tee box today which means we don’t start with one of the hardest holes on the course (#1). What is does mean is that the two hardest holes on the course are back to back (#18 and #1). My first drive of the day was almost perfect as it had about a two yard fade on it. I was left with 100 yards into the green so I hit a 52 degree wedge hole high and parred the hole. What a great way to start!
Hole #11 has always been a difficult hole for me. I just can’t seem to hit the ball far enough and the hole can play very long for short ball hitters. My second drive of the day was dead straight and left me with about 165 yards into the green. I hit a 7 iron about 20 feet from the pin and two putted for a par. That is back to back pars to start my round.
The 12th hole at Hasentree plays as a 200 yard par 3. This is when my swing was really going to be tested. To make it even more difficult, a foursome waved me through while standing right beside the green. Talk about some pressure with a brand new swing! I hit a fantastic 4 hybrid that rolled about 25 feet past the pin. Three holes, three GIRs. I ended up two putting and getting in for par.
One of my favorite holes at Hasentree is the par 5 #13. This hole is a straight away par 5 that plays between 475 and 500 yards. In reality, it plays shorter than that because the second shot almost always hits a power slot and rolls close to the green. I hit a decent drive but it was pushed a little bit right. It was still hit hard enough where I could go for the green in two. I had a hook lie and was a bit concerned about hitting my 5 wood as the new swing is causing it to hook at times. I stood over it with confidence and hit a great shot about 10 yards in front of the green. I was left with a tough angle to chip. I ended up chipping to hole high, two putting and walking away with a par. That is four pars to start the round. This is not common for me.
The 14th hole is not easy for me. It is a par 3 with a bunker to the right. As someone that used to fade the ball the bunker was always in play. Today it was playing around 155 yards so I decided on an 8 iron. I hit it very well but pushed it a little bit into the rough around the bunkers. I hit a fantastic chip shot but it rolled out to about eight feet from the hole. I two putted for my first bogey of the day. Still, one over through five holes is fantastic for me.
On 15 I ran into a twosome that asked me if I wanted to play through. This was another opportunity to test my swing under pressure. I stood over the ball and piped a driver straight down the middle about 260 yards. I was left with a 129 yard uphill shot into the green. I hit a fantastic 9 iron that left me with a 12 foot putt. I two putted and took my par.
The 16th hole has been my arch nemesis over the last several weeks. It is a dogleg left par 5 that baits you into going for it in two. Let’s just say that my second shots have been horrendous lately. With a draw, maybe I can turn that around; literally. I hit my best drive of the day so far off 16 tee box with a five yard draw. The drive likely went about 270. I was left with around 195 yards into the green but over a ton of junk including bunkers and waste. I hit my 4 hybrid but left it out to the right because I am still a chicken on the hole. I was left with a very difficult chip over bunkers. I hit it long just to make certain I did not go in the bunkers. I ended up two putting for another par. Not too bad for a hole that has been eating me alive lately. I am now one over through seven holes.
The 17th hole is a short par 3 so I knew I had to get a GIR here. I hit an 8 iron that landed about two feet from the pin. It ended up rolling out and leaving me with a 15 foot birdie putt. I was a little upset the ball ended up so far away from the hole. Instead of worrying about it I jarred the putt in the back of the hole to get myself back to even par for the day. Remember, I am a 14 handicap right now.
The 18th hole is a beast. There is no other way to put it. It is a dogleg left and plays about 435 yards uphill. If you want any chance of going for the green you have to hit a good drive. I ended up hitting the drive well but pushed it to the right. I was left with about 225 yards to an elevated green with bunkers to the right. This is a shot I could never hit with my old swing. I stood over the ball with a 5 wood and did my best to execute a good swing. As soon as I hit it I knew it was fantastic. I hit a 5 yard draw that just kept going. It landed on the front of the green and rolled all the way out to the back of the green for this birdie putt to end my front 9 at -1.
Remember that this is the hardest hole on the course and very rarely have I had a birdie putt. This was to go -1 for the nine. I ended up pulling the putt and two putting but even par on my front 9 (the back 9) is pretty darn impressive for me.
As I made the turn I wondered what would happen through the first four holes of the course which always play hard. If I can get through the first four holes at +4 I am usually happy. On the tee box I ended up pushing my drive right but it was hit hard. I was just over the cart path but had an open shot to the green from about 240 yards. I hit my 5 wood very well but left myself about 15 yards short of the green. I hit a fantastic chip and run that left me with an 8 foot putt. I canned it to par the first hole. Parring #18 and #1 back to back is nearly impossible and I did it!
Hole #2 is not my favorite. It plays difficult because of the green complex. I hit my worse drive of the day that was pushed right and not hit hard. I had 170 into the green which is not a good distance for me. I mishit a 7 iron and had a very awkward bunker shot for my third shot. I was extremely lucky to hit my bunker shot the way I did as it could have been much worse. I caught almost all ball but it stayed on the green. I had a 30 foot bender coming down the hill. As soon as I hit it I knew it was good. It was about three revolutions from going in the hole. Unfortunately, I walked away with a bogey which left me at +1 for the round.
The third hole at Hasentree is an elevated tee box par 3. It was playing about 170 yards today so I hit a 7 iron. I hit it on the screws and left myself with an 8 foot putt uphill. I ended up two putting and staying at +1 for the day.
Hole #4 at Hasentree is very hard. It was especially hard for me when I faded the ball. Today I stood over the ball on the tee box and hit a fantastic draw. On the second shot I was left with around 165 to an elevated green. I hit my first chunk shot of the day which brought out my true 14 handicap. I ended up leaving myself about 85 into the green. I hit a fantastic 52 degree wedge to about 10 feet left of the hole. I two putted for another bogey. Not good! That is two bogeys in three holes.
The fifth hole is a gettable par 5. Even if you aren’t long it is still a birdie hole. When I had my fade swing I was able to birdie this hole every so often. I hit a fantastic draw with my driver that left me with 245 into the green. There was a couple playing in front of me and they were waving me through. Yes, waving me through on a 245 yard shot. Talk about pressure! As soon as I hit the ball I knew I hit it too well. It got caught up in the wind and ended up about 15 yards in front of the green but in a great position to chip. I hit a fantastic 60 degree wedge chip shot to within 5 feet of the cup. I one putted for a birdie and I was back to +1 for the day.
The sixth hole is hard. No bones about it. It is a 210 yard par 3 that is covered with bunkers. I tried to hit a good 4 hybrid with my new swing but left it out to the right a little bit. I ended up between two sets of bunkers but it was a great lie to chip from. I hit another fantastic 60 degree wedge to within gimme range to stay at +1.
The 7th hole is a long par 5 that is not really reachable in two. I hit a very bad drive that was almost topped but rolled out a ton just because of the top spin. I was left with about 270 into the green so I decided to hit an 8 iron as a layup. It was perfect and I was left with a wedge in. I hit my approach wedge pin high but about 15 feet left of the pin. I was given the opportunity to putt this in for a chance to get back to even. Are you kidding me? I hit a fantastic putt that just missed going in the hole. Still, +1 for the day is not bad through 16 holes.
The 8th hole plays long. It is about a 420 yard par 4 but can be shortened with a good drive. Unfortunately, I did not hit a good drive. I left myself in a terrible position in front of a bunker with no sight line to the green. I had to hack out a 7 iron which ended up much better than I thought. I was in chipping range. I hit a decent chip but left myself with about 10 feet for the par. I two putted for a bogey. At this point I was +2 for the day.
The 9th hole is one of my favorites. Lately I have been hitting less than driver off the tee to give myself a full shot into the green. I hit a 5 wood off the tee box that wasn’t hit great but good enough. My new swing allows my misses to be pretty darn good. I was left with 135 yards into the green. I knew this would be a perfect 9 iron. I was actually nervous standing over the ball. I hit it perfectly! I was left with a 12 footer for birdie to end my day. I hit a fantastic putt that rolled just over the edge. That finished the round at +2 (73). This was the best round of my life, by far and away. Here is the card:
Here are the stats:
- 10/13 Fairways hit
- 12/18 Greens in Regulation
- 32 putts
I had many bounces go my way on this day but I can honestly say this is not the best I can play. There were a handful of putts that rolled right by the edge and I still haven’t mastered the 170 yard shot. As things come together I will be interested to see how my scores adjust. Remember, at this point I am a 14 handicap. Can you imagine turning in a scorecard in a tournament with a gross 73 as a 14 handicap? That means I would have shot a net 56 or 57 on my course today.
I have no idea if I can keep this up but today was a special day. Tomorrow I am playing a target golf course that requires lots of 210 to 240 yard shots. Three years ago this course ate me alive. I will be interested to see how my new swing works under pressure. I will only hit two or three drivers tomorrow as I will rely on my 5 wood and 4 hybrid quite a bit. It will be a great test for my new swing. If I can break 85 I will be ecstatic.
I believe I can stay under 80 at Hasentree with this swing. I guess we will see how it holds up over time.