Sometimes the greatest gift to a golfer is that tomorrow is always a new day. No matter what happens, you can always take comfort in waking up to a clean slate and a clean scorecard. My last update outlined some joyous match play successes and lessons learned from some early season matches, but all good things come to an end eventually.
Last week Fred and I headed into Round 3 of the Riley’s best ball match play at Earl Grey Golf Club. We were once again up against a couple of solid, experienced players. To boot, they both grew up playing at Earl Grey, and it was our first time playing the course, so we had about 70 years of home course experience to overcome as well. We knew we’d need our A-game.
We got off to a positive start. The experiences from the first two matches had me feeling calm and confident headed to the first tee, despite not feeling my best physically. Six days prior I had to pull the plug after 9 holes of play with pain in my lower back and lower right ribs. I tweaked something pretty good and the surrounding muscles decided to curl up into a ball. I got multiple treatments and rested as much as I could prior to the match, and got to the point where I could swing without grimacing much – bonus!
With some Advil flowing through my veins, Fred and I both striped our tee shots off the 1st tee and we were off and running. After opening pars to halve the first hole, Fred grabbed some momentum when he birdied the 3rd hole to go 1-UP. Our early momentum was fleeting, however, and we ended up 2-DOWN at the turn. My game turned a bit sloppy, and neither of us managed to make any meaningful putts outside of 5-feet, and sometimes even struggling to get our first putts within 5-feet! Coupled with our opponents turning up their game as we made the turn, we could only extend the match through 15 holes.
All credit to our opponents, they played solid golf and were deserving of the win. I still drew a lot of positives from this match – we got to know a couple of great guys, we got to play a fantastic golf course for the first time, and we chalked up some more great experience. Although we felt capable of going deeper in the tournament, we were both very happy with the experience and our efforts.
The day after the match I was fortunate to have another great experience, as I had the pleasure of hosting fellow golf writer, Mike Johnny, at the Calgary Golf and Country Club. Mike’s personal blog, 36aday, has great info on Canadian golf courses and other insights into the game. Mike is also a contributor to Canadian Golf Magazine.
After following his blog for quite sometime, it was pretty cool to finally connect and play golf together. We didn’t quite have our A-games, but that didn’t stop us from soaking in a beautiful day on the course. Mike is a class act and I think he enjoyed his experience at the club, so I’m sure he’ll be writing some great things in the near future!
Although my body is still on the mend, my handicap has slipped back to 5.0 in the process, and IMS needles in my back are plentiful, it hasn’t stopped me from enjoying my time on the links lately and enjoying the game in fantastic company. Usually that’s all you need to have a good time.
Next up is the Willie Park Cup this weekend – a two-day Ryder Cup style event for the 24 lowest handicaps at the club. My father-in-law, Gary, is one of the team captains and selected me for his team, so I’m working hard to get my body and game in order and back on the upswing for the weekend festivities.
Golf — what a ride!