I am in Florida because my cousin is getting married. It is a little bit of an unorthodox wedding, but in the good sense. My cousin and her new husband got married in the condo complex that my parents and my grandma live in. They did not want the big crazy wedding because they want to save money for a house and eventual move back to the Northeast (they currently live in Seattle). It is also kind of sad because they wanted to get married in Florida so my grandfather could be a part of it, but he passed away before the wedding so it is a little bitter sweet.

So before all the wedding festivities and family connectivity on Friday, my dad organized a golf foursome in the morning at Meadowood Golf And Tennis Club. I have played this course a couple times, so it is not a foreign land to me. What was different about Friday were the clubs I was using. Also for reference, I shot a 99 last time I played this course, which was last summer, only four rounds ago.

I did not bring my own golf materials/gear down because it was not worth the cost for one day. My dad got some lefty clubs from various people in the Condo. I now present to you…the starter set for borrowing clubs in Florida in a condo complex that is filled mainly with people who are retired.

Oh yea, look at this starter kid! Drivers that are 10+ years old and haven’t been used since at least 2010. Kirkland Signature’s as the ball of choice, and a wood that is twice as old as I am. This is the way to go!

We arrive at the Meadowood Golf And Tennis Club and immediately get on the tee box. No warm ups. I get three putts in with a new putter and otherwise, it is straight to the tee. Throwing my into the fire.

On the course, I played the white tees that were a distance of 5749 yards and had a par of 72. My dad and his friends played from the greens that was 5276 yards and a par 72.

Now let’s see how things played out for me in my third round of the year.


Hole 1
Par 5 | 480 Yards

It is not very often that you start the round with the longest hole on the golf course…but that is what we are dealing with here. A par five, 480-yard hole to start off your eighteen holes.

So on this hole I used the Hippo John Daley driver…and it did not go great. It was a low line drive that didn’t get much distance. From there I was ground balling the ball all the way until I was about 90 yards away from the pin. My fourth shot needed to go over a river. Success, I hit it in the air! Bad news is that it is in the bunker behind the green. My shot for par involves a 60 degree wedge that I have not used before…BUT BAD OMENS BE DAMNED. I hit a great bunker shot that used the slope of the green and I ended up 10 feet from the hole. A quality two-putt later, I am writing down a seven on the scorecard.

Biggest thing from hole one is that I needed to get used to my irons. They are different lengths than the one I have in CT.

Score On Hole: 7 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 9
Score Overall: 7 (+2)


Hole 2
Par 4 | 331 Yards

On the second hole I tried the other driver, the BIG BERTHA. My Kirkland Signature ball goes left…a bit left…but at least this one was in the air. My second shot is from near a house and I have to hit it over a tree in the direction of the green. Shockingly, I did it! Boom, a nine iron lands just short of the green and I am chipping for birdie to a hole that is about 20 feet away.

The issue is that I am on a different tier of the green. With my chip I tried to toe the line and get it perfectly near the hole rather than just ensuring a good lag to be around the hole. That is a bad mistake. I misjudge the hill, and my chip goes rolling very far away from the hole. Now I am about 40 feet away…farther than what I was when I was chipping.

My first putt, again the hill got me, so now I am 15 feet putting up hill trying to salvage the two putt. I can not, and I have my first three putt of the day. With that being said though, I did not have many three putts on the day.

Score On Hole: 6 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 7
Score Overall: 13 (+4)


Hole 3
Par 4 | 353 Yards

UGHHHH I HATE DUFFING CHIPS.

It was honestly a standard Stanko bad hole going back and forth a bit, but the disaster of trying to chip softly and then not hitting the ball far enough and getting more dirt than anything else is the worst.

This is the only note I have on this hole. It is not the best start to the round with myself going seven, six and seven. I am already at 20 through three holes.

Score On Hole: 7 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 3
Score Overall: 20 (+7)


Hole 4
Par 3 | 143 Yards

We love a good bounce back hole!

A 143-yard hole that needs to carry water. I took out an eight iron and hit it the perfect distance! But it was left of the green. I landed on the opposite side of a bunker…which means I have to chip over a bunker. That is never a good thing. This was a hole where being lucky is better than being good. I hit a low chip and it hits the lip of the bunker. Nice! Two putts later I am writing down a four in the scorecard! This is the golf and scoring I can get behind.

Score On Hole: 4 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 11
Score Overall: 24 (+8)


Hole 5
Par 4 | 330 Yards

Now we are getting to the Stanko golf I know. A decent drive that was just off the fairway. A second shot that was off the green. A chip onto the green but still like 15-20 feet away for par. Miss the putt by a couple feet and then putt in for a five. That is the quintessential Stanko hole.

Score On Hole: 5 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 15
Score Overall: 29 (+9)


Hole 6
Par 4 | 368 Yards

Hole six was a classic Stanko hole but with a duff chip mixed in. I hit the drive into the fairway for my first one of the day. I hit an awesome second shot to get around the green on the hardest hole on the front nine…but then I duff my chip and now if I wanted par I need to chip it…and let’s be real…that is not happening. Chipped it onto the green and two putt later and I am writing down a double bogey.

Score On Hole: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 1
Score Overall: 35 (+11)


Hole 7
Par 3 | 130 Yards

The shortest hole on the course. I took out an eight iron because I hit it well on the first par three and I just wanted to get a bit more loft on it. However…I skull fucked it bad. It is a line drive and goes sailing off back left of the green. I chip it…past the hole and now I am on the fringe doing the classic walk back and forth. One putt later and I am 10 feet away for a bogey…BUT I BURY THE PUTT. I good second putt ensures I don’t yet jot down my second three putt.

I had to borrow my grandfather’s putter and I am going to be honest…I putted pretty darn well for myself.

Score On Hole: 4 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 17
Score Overall: 39 (+12)


Hole 8
Par 5 | 437 Yards

Found the fairway! Let’s go!

Horrendous second shot…FUCKKKK.

Really was upset with myself for screwing up a picture perfect drive. I could blame the weather and say that this was the only hole that we got stuck in a pretty bad rain shower…but I can’t in my right mind do that. I just did not hit my three iron well, and such was my mistake.

Otherwise, this was a good hole. I was around the green chipping for a birdie and a solid two putt later put my into a par possible but likely bogey scenario…which is exactly what happened.

Score On Hole: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 13
Score Overall: 45 (+13)


Hole 9
Par 4 | 312 Yards

Not a good way to end the front nine. In fact…a bad way to end the front nine.

I drove it way left and was nearly in the practice range. I had to hit from around a tree, and it did not go well. Oh, then my third shot I ended up in the bunker, which you know, is my favorite place on earth.

Now I did get out of the bunker in one…but I was about 25 feet from the hole. I rushed my first putt. Like I knew it. I was over the ball and felt it in my bones, but I still hit it anyway and I left it wayyyyy short. I then missed my second putt…so I had to put down a three putt. Just not a smooth operation.

Score On Hole: 7 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 5
Score Overall: 52 (+15)


Hole 10
Par 4 | 347 Yards

NOT GOOD BOB. Another bad start to a nine holes.

This was the only hole that we really had to wait to tee off, and I will admit that did affect me. I teed up the ball twice…and was just impatient.

My drive went left in-between some trees. I tried to hit it out of the trees…but I didn’t. I then tried to be crazy and hit a low stinger that would roll onto the green…but instead I ended up 10 feet from where I was. Frustration sits it, and I hit it again, and I end up 15 feet behind the green. You would think I would be good now right? Wrong. Couple duffed chips later…I somehow end up two feet from the hole. I did one putt! But in reality, this tenth hole was the worst hole of the day. It didn’t have any positive aspects. Like, in reality I got a 10 later in the round, but this was the hole were I had the least amount of confidence coming out of.

Score On Hole: 7 (1 Putt)
Handicap: 2
Score Overall: 59 (+18)


Hole 11
Par 3 | 149 Yards

BUT THIS IS WHERE WE BOUNCE BACK!

We have our first green in regulation, and we have a legit chance at birdie. A shot over a sort creek, I loft up a nice seven iron for the 149-yard hole and BAM, I am on the green putting. We love to see it! I two putt and I am writing down a par.

A nice touch on this hole too is that my dad ended up in the bunker, but he had an awesome shot that left him with a par putt that he canned as well. The par boys headed back to the cart with their spirits held high. Can we carry on this momentum in a par five?

Score On Hole: 3 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 16
Score Overall: 62 (+18)


Hole 12
Par 5 | 445 Yards

Oh you betcha!

I drive it a little bit left but I avoid the bunkers lining the left side. I take out a three hybrid that I have never hit and I don’t get all of it…but I hit it straight and so it is a nice layup to the green. I have a pitching wedge in. When I tell you that I putt back spin on the ball…that is exactly what I did. Backspin. Legit, backspin. I have a GIR on this par five and I am stoked. I did leave the birdie putt a few feet short. I was nervous over my par putt, but I was able to keep it in the cup and don’t look now…but I have parred two straight holes with just high quality golf shots.

Score On Hole: 5 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 18
Score Overall: 67 (+18)


Hole 13
Par 4 | 341 Yards

OH, NOW WE ARE PLAYING GOLF!

I got my first birdie of the year, and it was on the second hardest hole on the back nine at Meadowood.

I hit my drive a bit left on a dogleg right, do I really did extend the hole by another 25 yards. I took my 7 iron out and I hit a perfect (I mean by my standards) shot. I hit it over a bunker that was placed in front of the green and I plopped the ball 15 feet from the hole. There was a legit ball mark. It was beautiful.

Stepping up to the putt, I was like just don’t leave it short. I MAY have hit it too hard. MAY HAVE. But, I will never know because I sunk it off the flag stick and BOOM, I have a birdie. It was awesome. Going par, par, birdie…that is just a good feeling. It is almost like I knew what I was doing.

Score On Hole: 3 (1 Putt)
Handicap: 4
Score Overall: 70 (+17)


Hole 14
Par 4 | 320 Yards

Short par four here. I am riding high after my birdie and hoping to keep the momentum and the mojo going. The issue was that I overshot the green on my second shot. I was about 130 out and I was between and eight iron and a nine iron. One of the players I was playing with mentioned twice how there is a big bunker in front of the green, so I went a club up. That was the wrong decision.

I am back in the shit behind the green. I have to move a broken pottery plant. Don’t ask me how it got there. My chip from the mess is HOT, but I get very lucky that it hit a branch on a tree and came straight down, so I had a fairly straight 15 foot putt from the fringe for par. I don’t make the putt, but it is a tap in bogey so it’s a five that goes down on the scorecard.

Score On Hole: 5 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 10
Score Overall: 75 (+18)


Hole 15
Par 3 | 159 Yards

Time to break out the six iron…a club I have not yet to this point of the round. A par three with water all around the left, and overhanging trees on the right. This hole is not the easiest thing in the world.

I hit a six iron and it starts out straight at the flag, but then begins tailing to the left. It lands on the green, but rolls just off to the fringe.

I am not the most pleased with my putting here, because it was a step back from where I had been on my last six or seven holes. I end up three-putting this hole and writing down a four on my scoreboard. I really have to blame my first putt which was just oh-so-short. I just hit it like a baby.

Score On Hole: 4 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 12
Score Overall: 79 (+19)


Hole 16
Par 5 | 472 Yards

So. This was a bad hole. I will get in front of this. I got a 10 on this hole…and it could have been worse.

To begin, I hooked my first drive and nearly broke a house’s window, so I took me one and only mulligan. My second attempt went high up in the air and the wind blew it back in my face so my drive did not go very far at all. With the bad drive I cold not attempt to reach the second part of the hole which was over a river. I tried to layup, but instead duffed a three iron (I hit this club very poorly all day) and I went into the water. Oh Joy! Now I am about 220 yards from the pin but I only need 100 yards to get over the river. I then hit a three iron about four feet off the ground and it didn’t make it over the river edge so again…another lost ball.

Alright…new paragraph. Let’s try and reset, right?

Nope, let’s not. I drop on the other side of the river and then I duff my next shot. I then skull fuck my shot after that and I am chipping down hill out of dirty sandy rough on a pin that has very little runway with my precarious position. I trickle my ball onto the green and two putt into the hole…for a 10. A legit 10. Everyone is like don’t count it that high…go only with an eight. I admit, I am a hardo, I wrote down my true score.

My thing is that if you are going to celebrate all the good holes, you have to acknowledge the bad ones as well. It is only fair. This, was not a good hole…at all.

Score On Hole: 10 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 8
Score Overall: 89 (+24)


Hole 17
Par 4 | 282 Yards

Now this is what we call a bounce back hole!

Full transparency, I played the green tees here with my dad and his friends because the white tees were a bit of a hike from the green tees. About a 60 yard difference. So rather than making everyone wait for me to walk and hit from the island, we just drove up to the greens.

I PIPED a drive and ended up in the fairway, 70 yards from the put. So I have my 60 degree wedge…and my pitching wedge. I choke up on the pitch and I actually hit a gorgeous short shot that lands on the back of the green, 15 feet from the pin. I am putting for birdie. I miss the sub-par putt by a little bit, but it is a tap in for par.

If you told me last year, or even earlier this year that I would be able to bounce back from a 10 with a par, I would not believe you. But I did it. Fair and square. Sure it is a shorter hole, but I have played shorter par fours in Connecticut.

Score On Hole: 4 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 14
Score Overall: 93 (+24)


Hole 18
Par 4 | 323 Yards

So this is how we end the round. A round in Florida where it only rained for one hole and it wasn’t too hot. Not a bad day.

I hit my drive well but then it started being pushed left more than I would like with the win blowing that way. My drive technically goes OB…but I can see it…so I grab it. I give myself a bad drop and I have to hit a low punch between some trees to get it near the green.

Incredibly, I did it! But I did it too well. My second shot goes over the green and I have a downhill chip towards the hole. The downhill chip did not go exactly as planned…and I am not on the fringe below the hole, needing to chip again to get it on the putting surface. My fourth shot gets on the green about 10 feet from the hole and a two-putt from there ends my day with a six.

I ended the day how I started playing it, some inconsistency but overall it is okay. I broke 100! All okay with that!!

Score On Hole: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 6
Score Overall: 99 (+26)


FINAL THOUGHTS

  • First round breaking 100 of the year! Let’s goo!!! I also got the exact same score I got the first time I played the course, so at least I am consistent.
  • I ended the day with four fairways hit; two on the front nine and two on the back nine.
  • I ended the day with four greens in regulation…all of which came in the back nine. I hit three greens in a row on 11, 12 and 13, where is when I played sub par, minus-one golf.
  • I had 37 putts in total on the round. That is almost a perfect 2-putt per hole average. I had 20 putts on the front nine with two three-putts. I had 17 putts on the back nine with only one three-putt and two one-putts.
  • Having the driver BIG BERTHA just seems to give yourself a sense of pride.
  • There were A LOT of bunkers on this course. A lot more than in the Northeast. The other Floridians I was playing in the group with my dad apologized for the bunkers being in bad shape…but really they are such an upgrade from the mess in the northeast and the rain.
  • I had played this course once before…and I shot a 99 then as well. The more some things change, the more they stay the same. Looking back on my hole-by-hole performance then, it was a lot more consistent in the five and six department. This round was more erratic with the wonderful holes and the not so great holes.

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