Sunday, November 17, 2013

Comeback after over 4 weeks of injury - Bobby Jones Golf Complex Skins tournament

Friday the 15th of  November was the day. Finally I thought I will be back an see that I have some fun doing what I like most. So I got all my stuff ready and let Bubba know that I am in the game again.
The plan was to stretch as good as I can and warm up nicely. However, I was running late yet again. So I had to do a short version of the warm up session. Which in that case was fine. I did not want to hit to many balls anyway and take it easy even before we started. Signed up and got myself a small bucket of balls. First I did some stretching for my back and it felt good. I still have a strange feeling when I lean backwards, but it is much better and it is not hurting, just a strange feeling I can not describe. Next I warmed up with wedges, 7 iron, 5 iron and a few hybrids. About 40 balls and I have to say that my wedges looked pretty good. 7 iron looked pretty good also. My 5 iron and hybrid looked pretty insecure, but that is not a surprise. After weeks of not hitting any balls or even have a club in my hand, I did not expect to hit great shots right away. I did not swing any woods at all on the range. I kept it short and then went on to do a few chips and putts. This all looked good. I think I reached a point where I can chip and putt any time. That does not mean I will not practice any more in that matter. As a matter of fact, my practice for the most part is around the green all the time.

We started on time and I had a good group. All pretty good golfers and people I like to play with.
The first tee was really strange. I was not exactly sure how hard I should swing, turn or whatever I should do. So I decided to simply start slow and move the ball forward one shot at a time ( as I should do it all the time anyway). My first tee shot was straight down the middle exactly where I wanted it. My first approach was right over the trees and on the green for my first GR and a birdie chance. I was pleased with both shots and right away felt that I will be able to increase my swing hole by hole. I made a good par to start with. My next tee shot I gave a little more and again had a great tee off. So I was confident to play good on the front 9.

So I did. Except 2 tee shots which one cost me a bogey all my tee shots were good on the front 9 and I was able to play a solid 5 over par. Not that this is a good score, but for not playing all this time I was pretty satisfied. Not hurting and feeling good I made the decision to play 80 to 90 percent on the back 9.

Started with a good drive on 10, GR and then missed the birdie putt close. My drive on 11 I put all the way to the right over the trees, but when I got there I had a shot at the green from besides the tree and over another one , clearing the bunker to a back pin. Ball was sitting on sand which was not so good. About 180 to the pin. I made a commitment and gave it a go to hit it over the tree, clear the bunker. Pulled off a great golf shot which left me 12 foot for another birdie, which lipped out. No doubt, that this was a great  shot.

12 I missed the green but had a super LW within 2 feet and saved par. Putted for birdie on 13, 14 and made 13. 14 I was short with my approach but chipped it within 9 inch. 16 I putted for birdie again and missed it by an inch. On 17 I hit a wonderful 7 iron with in 5 feet and made a difficult down hill putt for birdie. 18 I putt it within 8 feet for another down hill birdie putt which lipped out again. However, I played the back 9 2 under par for a 34. That left me with a 75 and in fact with the best round on that course in 2013! Now that was a bummer. I lipped 3 birdie putts and missed another 3 by inch or less and had one double bogey and yet I finished 3 over par . Not even playing with 100 % force and not yet sure I am all in good shape. Go figure.

My putting was doing well, my chips were no good except 2 of them, my drives were straight but not huge. Although I had a utility club in on the par 5 hole 14 which I put it on the edge of the green from 245 out.

There were some great shots and some very good putts. Good course management and I was very calm. It gave me 2 closest to the pin, 1 skin and some other winnings. So that was a good start back into the game. It showed me, that all the work I did this year was worth it. I was able to come back without practice and play and yet shoot one off my better rounds this year by playing with about 80 % power. Now that tells me something right there.

Coming home I felt great and the next day I had no issues at all with my body. So I think, I can slowly start working my way back into my practice routine and playing routine. Just need to keep it easy and focus on the right things on the course. I stretched in between and did nothing wild from difficult lies. Just moved the ball and gave myself opportunities when I could. Really was reading the greens well. Looked at every putt from all 4 sides and made sure I have a good overview. It paid off greatly and I will make sure I will do it the same way from here on.

I will not do any practice or play until about Tuesday. Just resting my back even more and do some putting and chipping at home and then start going to the range on Wednesday. Maybe we play in Capris Isle on Friday. There is a two men best ball tournament and I play with a good friend there. Since we never played there , it would be good to drive down there and see how the course is. Same before the tournament.

I am truly excited about the West Florida Amateur Tour, which starts on December 2nd at Laurel Oaks Country Club. For sure I am in this game. One of my favorite courses to play and I like the group which is playing there. Is a little more expensive, but good price money and good skins and most important , good practice for playing on fast greens and tough courses. That will help for next year. There is huge plans for next year and I better be in shape and continue to work hard. I want to move on to higher things. But that is a complete new entry :). For now , I am excited that I had a good come back at Bobby Jones and that I feel good. We will take it from here and see how things develop.

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