When we get days off from work, we golf. That is what we do.

I was off on Wednesday, April 6 because I was in New Orleans for work for five days. A day to recharge the batteries means a day of getting a ton of shit done in the morning, then going outside and playing 18 holes with your buddy in absolutely dreadful conditions.

My round of golf on Wednesday had four of my favorite things.

  1. Nobody else out there on the course. Nobody at all.
  2. Golfing with my buddy Mike Ritz, who is very good at golf and is very patient with me while I struggle.
  3. We were walking the course, which I always prefer when there is an option.
  4. The weather was poor, so I could blame my poor play on something other than just myself.

The weather this past Wednesday was a high of 45 with constant rain and winds up to 20 miles per hour. It was not what one would call ideal conditions…but if you are in Ireland than it is just right.

Ritz and I decided to meet up at Orange Hills Country Club in Orange, CT, which is a halfway point between us. I walked into the clubhouse and I had to wait 10-15 minutes for someone to see/hear me, and then they proceeded to tell me that I was the only one who had booked a tee-time for that day. Music to my ears.

The course itself is very nice, and Ritz and I will be going back. Even amongst all the rain and heavy wind, it was easy to tell that when the weather turns, the course becomes glorious. There are a couple holes that are straight up postcard holes once the leaves come in.

One other things about Orange Hills Country Club is that the greens are lightening fast…even when they were sopping wet. Ritz and I were shocked with how fast they were even with the puddles.

Now here is my hole-by-hole recollection of my second round of golf of the year.


Hole 1
Par 4 | 390 Yards

First hole of the round and it didn’t go so terribly! Drive was a bit askew and I did the classic Stanko first hole. Second shot was okay, third shot was terrible, fourth shot onto the green and two-putt from there for a six. It was better than the seven I started with last round out. No four-putt this time around.

Score On Hole: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 9
Score Overall: 6 (+2)


Hole 2
Par 5 | 481 Yards

They start you off with the par four, and then give you the longest hole on the course. So courteous and kind.

I was unable to put this drive in the fairway and it did have a negative impact. I was not able to hit my second shot very far out of the rough and so I had I still had a hike to get to the hole. from there it was a errand iron, a duff chip, then finally onto the green. I was putting for bogey, but my unpredictable putting skills reared its ugly head again and I three-putt. The first of…EIGHT THREE PUTTS.

Iona golf coach Sean Burke would murder me if he ever read this.

Score On Hole: 8 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 5
Score Overall: 14 (+5)


Hole 3
Par 3 | 148 Yards

So here we go, a par three to bounce back. Will I?

148 yards away and I take out my seven iron and big-bang-boom I am back on the double-bogey train. I get a five on the par three and I am right back on track on where I would be for this entire round.

Score On Hole: 5 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 17
Score Overall: 19 (+7)


Hole 4
Par 4 | 435 Yards

A longggg as par four. It is only a few yards shorter than the par five 18th hole.

This hole goes right along side the road with cars rushing by you on the right side. Luckily for all the passer byes…I did not hit any cares! This was the first of NINE fairways in regulation. NINE of them! I hit nine of 14 possible fairways, which is a legit record for me.

The issue here is that I did not trust my wood game (PHRASING!) so I hit my three iron which I knew would leave me short. It did, and then it was putzing around the green to get to six strokes.

Score On Hole: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 3
Score Overall: 25 (+9)


Hole 5
Par 4 | 349 Yards

I am upset with myself on this hole. I am in the midst of a double-bogey streak here but on this hole I should not have had such a high score. Short par fours are where I need to score because I do not hit the ball very far. This hole was somewhat like a reset for me.

Score On Hole: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 11
Score Overall: 31 (+11)


Hole 6
Par 4 | 365 Yards

The reset did not work out for me entirely…because a three-putt is in my near future!

Hole six is a dog leg left so it should have fit my swing…and that it did. It was actually on this hole when I realized that my driver was working very well because I did not have the crazy banana hook I usually do.

Score On Hole: 6 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 7
Score Overall: 37 (+13)


Hole 7
Par 4 | 399 Yards

I had three holes where I three-putted on the front nine, and this is the last one of the bunch on the opening half.

The key to this hole was keeping it away from the white stakes on the left that are out of bounds…but I was feeling comfortable on the tee box. I hit another fairway, my first of four in a row, but after that is where my struggles began.

Score On Hole: 7 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 1
Score Overall: 44 (+16)


Hole 8
Par 4 | 300 Yards

The shortest par four on the course, hole eight’s difficulty is the fact that it is a dog leg. Luckily my drive was straight so it didn’t really fuck me over with the dog leg. It is crazy how well I was driving this round.

A pitching wedge lands a bit off the mark, but then a pitch and two putts later I am writing down a five.

When i don’t play bad, I don’t have as much to write.

Score On Hole: 5 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 13
Score Overall: 49 (+17)


Hole 9
Par 3 | 134 Yards

We end the front nine with a par three. This is the first of back-to-back par threes.

I did very well on this hole. Happy with my performance. From 134 out I hit a eight iron well, just a little bit short of the green. I had a great chip that got me in the area of the hole. I had a legit chance to make par, but I just missed the putt. A bogey, but still did very well. I was putting together some good swings.

Score On Hole: 4 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 15
Score Overall: 53 (+18)


Hole 10
Par 3 | 207 Yards

Gahhh I had a duffed chip. That is exactly what fucked me up on this hole. This 207-yard par three is down hill, and my drive off the tee box was a bit short and too the left. Needing to chip it about 15 yards onto the green…I only got it like five. Then…on my second attempt of a chip, I hit what I meant on the first one and so the ball went flying past the hole. Three putts later and I am writing down a six for a par three. Not good. Not good at all.

Score On Hole: 6 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 16
Score Overall: 59 (+21)


Hole 11
Par 5 | 466 Yards

This is where the rain starting coming down the hardest. This par five is the longest hole on the back-nine, and me hitting a pair of ground balls on a soggy fairway is not a recipe for success. It took my only too putts to get into the hole, but the plotting down the fairway was not good. Add in that I lost a ball among the trees on the right side. Just a bad blow up hole.

Score On Hole: 7 ( 2Putts)
Handicap: 10
Score Overall: 66 (+23)


Hole 12
Par 4 | 365 Yards

This was the hardest hole on the entire course. Sure it is not long, but your second shot is not easy at all. I plopped a decent drive into the fairway and had about 180 to go to the green. The only issue is that there is no run-up allowed at all because there is a man-made lake that takes away an east approach. I hit my second shot and it skidded left and short and went spelunking into the water. From there it was a chip and two putts. After Ritz and I played this whole, we both agreed this was the hardest hole on the course.

Score On Hole: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 2
Score Overall: 72 (+25)


Hole 13
Par 3 | 153 Yards

Hole 13 was a massive missed opportunities for me. I had a great bounce back shot off the tee box with a seven iron that flew over the green. It felt great coming off the club. I chipped it onto the green and go zero roll-out because this was the wettest green on the entire course. Thinking the wet green would slow it down…I putted it a bit crispy…and I burnt it past the hole. So in summary, hole thirteen was another three-putt. Sure a five on the scorecard is okay for me normally, but this was a shaking head in frustration moment.

Score On Hole: 5 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 18
Score Overall: 77 (+27)


Hole 14
Par 4 | 377 Yards

This hole had the wetting fairway on the entire course. I took my energy drink on this hole and I think it immediately sped up my swing and therefore I hit my worst drive of the day…about 20 yards in front of me. It was time for me to take out my three-iron…for two shots in a row. I was able to hit a pair of good iron shots and I got around the green. Chip onto the green, and two putts later, and I am writing down another six. I can not be that upset with the score because my drive was truly abhorrent.

Score On Hole: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 12
Score Overall: 83 (+29)


Hole 15
Par 4 | 339 Yards

Hole 15 has to be the prettiest hole on the entire course. Even with it being wet and rainy, it was easy to tell that this hole was the one they put on all the post cards and atop all the photo galleries. When the leaves grow into the trees, this hole has to be a visage to play.

So how did I play this hole? I hit it into the fairway, and then again got myself near the green. I was on the green with a putt for par…and then THREE PUTTS LATER I PUT DOWN ANOTHER SIX. Gahhh I am not a good putter at all.

I got very very lucky on this hole. There is a bit of water in front of the green and I hit a ground ball that seemed to be heading directly for it. Somehow my ball went through the walk path of the water and it was just sitting in front of the green. I swear it was my shot and my dropping a ball down like Goldfinger (1964).

Score On Hole: 6 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 4
Score Overall: 89 (+31)


Hole 16
Par 4 | 335 Yards

This tee box was not designated for Jonathan Stanko. Trees lined the right side and it wasn’t too open until about 150 yards out. The green is elevated on this hole, and so the approach was about 110 yards out uphill. I took a nine-iron and tried to get it up there but I messed up and got way too much loft. Short of the green I SUCCESSFULLY did a nice little flop shot and got it onto the green. Two putts later I am marking down a five.

Hole 16 is a hole that once you know its layout, you learn how to play it better.

Score On Hole: 5 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 8
Score Overall: 94 (+32)


Hole 17
Par 4 | 413 Yards

My biggest memory for hole 17 is that the fairways tilts heavy to the right, and I am a terrible putter. I hit a great drive but then hit my four iron about 25 yards. I stick with my four iron and get it pin high on the right side. This is good right?? I chip onto the green and it is not a good one. I am about 30 feet away because this chip got caught on the grass and I didn’t make good contact.

Then I proceeded to three-putt it again..because that is what I do. Hit my first one 10 feet past the hole. Second one just missed, so tap in three.

Score On Hole: 7 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 6
Score Overall: 101 (+35)


Hole 18
Par 5 | 459 Yards

I played my best hole of the day on my last hole! A good drive that hugged the left side of the fairway. I decided to take out my one-wood…because you know, I had not hit it all day. Well, I took a nice easy swing and I KILLED IT. Like I smoked it. A par five and i was chipping to get onto the green in regulation…

And I did! Now, it was not a great chip. It did go past the hole 15 feet. But I still got my one-and-only green in regulation! I took out my putter, which had been my worst club all day, and was able to put it within five feet. A par putt success means that I had ended by day with a five, and a damn good five.

We talk about golf bringing you back, and that is exactly what I did on hole 18 here.

Score On Hole: 5 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 14
Score Overall: 106 (+35)


FINAL THOUGHTS

  • I was nothing but consistent. I shot a 53 on both the front nine, and the back nine. I also putted 22 times on both the front nine, and the back nine. I was nothing but consistent.
  • Definitely took a step-back on the putting front compared to my first round out. I had 38 putts at Oak Hills in Norwalk, so six more putts this time around. The crazy part of this is that I had 19 putts on both halves of the golf course in my first round. I am just a visage of consistency.
  • My driver was WORKING on Wednesday. It was my best club. I only had one hole where I had a couple terrible tee shots. That is it. And that was on hole 14 after it had rained its hardest the entire day. I hit NINE fairways in regulation. NINE OF THEM. I had two separate stretches of hitting the fairway FOUR TIMES IN A ROW. What was up with that!
  • My only green in regulation came on the last hole…the game draws me back in.
  • My next round is most likely going to be in Florida with clubs that are not my own…so we will see how that goes.
  • Next time I go golfing in cold weather I should not wear my “three-putt” Barstool hat because I think that seeps into my brain.

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