It is a unique one today. Last Saturday I went for a round of golf at Western Hills thanks to an invite from my girlfriend’s brother Stephan and his two friends. I had not played this course in years, so I was excited to go out. I also had never golfed with these guys and I new they were a very fun and easy going group, it was going to be a good time.

Turns out that this was all a rouse, because after this round I came home to a surprise birthday party that was planned by my awesome girlfriend. I actually turn 30 years old today, the day this blog post is being published. I am not a guy to throw myself any sort of part of want any recognition, so this was an incredibly nice gesture by my girlfriend.

It was an awesome day. Player some golf, then got to hang out with a ton of my friends who all made the trek to Norwalk. We all drank, ate tons a food and chilled by a camp fire. It all made me forget about Boston College losing a bad effort game against Rutgers.

Thank you Emma. I love you. Thank you Stephan for keeping a secret and thank you to everyone who came. It was a great day.

Now let’s see how I did in my 12th round of the year.


Hole 1
Par 4 | 354 Yards

I use a breakfast ball. As per the usual.

How about it, the first drive of my day is straight as an arrow so my 45 degree right aiming measure doesn’t work. My second drive is what I expected. It hits the fairway. The drive went about 210 yards. It is a good feeling. Let’s keep it going.

My second shot, which I believe I hit with a seven Iron from about 140 yards out, ends up over the green on the back right. Not a terrible shot. Still working out the early morning kinks.

Bad mojo at the start of round comes from a duff chip. Instead of getting on the green and putting for par…I am on the green putting for bogey.

Come on Stanko. I even practiced chipping quickly on the practice green in the time we had.

SCORE: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 11
Score Overall: 6 (+2)


Hole 2
Par 5 | 458 Yards

This is the hardest hole on the course. I remember the first time I played it, I struggled. This time…I struggled again.

I had a good drive that touched down in the fairway going about 200 yards. Still about 250 yards away from an uphill and elevated green, all I wanted to do was get it closer. A ground ball that goes about 50 yards is not going to get it done.

I hit a second three iron and I get closer, a nice nine-iron or pitching wedge away. My fourth shot is a pitching wedge which I just want to get near the green. What I don’t want to do is skull-fuck the shit out of my wedge and send it over the green and into the woods.

Whoops. That’s what happened.

So I drop in the shit. That is my fifth. I then swing my chip, and that is my sixth. I get the ball onto the green, have no shot at par, so two-putt for a triple-bogey eight. Brutality.

SCORE: 8 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 3
Score Overall: 14 (+5)


Hole 3
Par 4 | 356 Yards

FIRST PAR OF THE DAY! THIS IS WHAT WE CALL A BOUNCE-BACK HOLE.

I had a good drive that went about 220 yards and landed nicely on the left hand side of the fairly wide fairway. I was a little worried because it was a blind tee shot (there are a lot of them on this course), but I walked up to a wonderful view. A great look at my second shot.

From roughly 130 yards out, I take out my eight iron and I hit a fucking beautiful golf shot. It is glorious. It is magical. It is a lofted eight iron that is headed literally dead straight towards the pin. Good lord. I whispered to myself “that felt good” and then when it lands eight feet in front of the pin and stick…I just scream “THTA IS A GOLF SHOT!”.

My birdie putt misses the mark, but it is a tap-in par. I love every single bit of them.

SCORE: 4 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 9
Score Overall: 18 (+5)


Hole 4
Par 4 | 340 Yards

Folks, we have a third straight fairway hit and we have a second straight green in regulation. Amazing. This is what good golf feels like?

I hit a drive about 220 yards, so I have about a 120 yard shot into the green. I take out a pitching wedge and I hit it just onto the green. I have maybe about 25 feet for birdie, and in an bold choice, I decide to leave my birdie putt like 10 feet short.

WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF. I HAVE A BIRDIE PUTT. GIVE IT A CHANCE!

So may birdie putt is short, and par putt misses the mark, and then I finally get it in for a bogey. I had a chance for back-to-back pars, which for me would be the equivalent to getting treated to a nice steak dinner. Instead I am having a good home steak meal. Maybe the side pieces got burned a little bit, but you still can’t be too upset with the end result.

SCORE: 5 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 5
Score Overall: 23 (+6)


Hole 5
Par 3 | 174 Yards

it is a down hill par three that reads out to be 174 yards but plays more like 160 yard. My question in my own brain was do I go with a shorter club that I tend not to fuck up as much (i.e. a seven iron that will land shot but safe) or do I go for the biscuit?

I went to my bag and pulled out my five iron. I was going for the green. I wanted to stick it.

AND I DID! I HAD TO FIX TWO BALL MARKS ON TWO GREENS ON BACK-TO-BACK HOLES.

My five iron lands nicely on the green, a bit short of the hole but still in a good spot. It is a high arcing five iron (probably too high if we are being honest) and it landed maybe around the 160 yard mark. From there it is a two-putt, and I have my second par of the morning.

We are doing okay here. Two pars is making me feel a lot better about my eight on hole two.

SCORE: 3 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 15
Score Overall: 26 (+6)


Hole 6
Par 4 | 374 Yards

Holy moly what a drive. This may have been the best drive of my entire summer. I do not care if it did not land in the fairway. I hit this ball at least 230 yards and I had a wonderfully clear shot to the green. It was glorious.

It is a downhill hole, so I hit a pitching wedge and and wanted it to land before the green and then, if it were kind, it would roll onto the green.

Unfortunately My shot does end up a little short of the green and it is in the rough in front of the hole. Thankfully I just missed a bunker on this hole (I think, if I remember correctly).

Chip onto the green followed by a two-putt.

I guess i have to start taking longer notes because these classic Stanko bogey holes are boring to type out and I imagine boring to read as well. It is just a good drive, decent approach, not fuck up the chip too bad and then two putt.

SCORE: 5 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 13
Score Overall: 31 (+7)


Hole 7
Par 5 | 527 Yards

Distance wise, this hole is the longest hole on the course. It is not the hardest hole by far, but you have to know that you are not getting anywhere near the green in two.

I hit a decent drive that goes a little left and about 200 yards in the air. I am fluffed up in a nice lie, so I am able to hit my one wood (dangerous club). I do a nice easy swing. Nice and easy. It worked out okay. I had a seven iron for my third shot in and I tugged it a little right so it landed off the green by about three yards.

From there…you guessed it…it’s classic Stanko around the green. Chip it one to within a diameter of 20 feet around the hole, then two putted in for a bogey.

SCORE: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 7
Score Overall: 37 (+8)


Hole 8
Par 4 | 387 Yards

They say that this is the hardest hole on the course. They might be right.

I put my drive way left and frankly it should have gone OB but my way of a minor miracle it is playable against the woods. I have to punch out of some thicket with a five iron and I am incredibly fortunate because I hit the shot way to high, but it only hit one branch corralled forward rather than bouncing into the woods.

It is true, it is better to be lucky than good.

I have a bad pitch up to the hole at this point, so I am around the green on my fourth shot but then I decide to just continue butchering this hole util I have a seven on the scorecard. There is a three putt in there followed by a really frustrated eye roll. Nothing good. Bad vibes.

SCORE: 7 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 1
Score Overall: 44 (+11)


Hole 9
Par 3 | 145 Yards

And my second lost ball and penalty stroke of the day comes on the last hole of the front nine. Not the way you want to end the first half.

This short par three has some OB the left side of it, and I hit a screamer right into it. Nothing was good about it. Just a very poor swing. I drop, then have a terrible chip which puts me at the bottom of a hill…and the hill is all the way on top of this mound.

It takes me three putts to get the ball in the hole. This pin placement was dastardly. Too soft on the downhill and you risk the ball coming back to your feet. Too hard and you are heading to the other side of the green. Nothing was good about this.

I shot a 50 on the front, which has really been my status quo for a very long time. I want to break 100, so all I need to do is one stroke better on the back.

SCORE: 6 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 3
Score Overall: 50 (+14)


Hole 10
Par 4 | 363 Yards

Smart golf. Smart golf indeed. I hit a three-iron off the dee and it is picture perfect. This hole is a severe dogleg right…AKA it does not fit my driver swing at all so I decided to lay up further back then potentially find trouble. A pretty good idea if you ask me.

I hit a solid eight iron and I am around the green…BUT A FUCKING STUPID ASS BAD CHIP SETS ME BACK. I WAS SET UP FOR A CLASSIC STANKO BOGEY BUT THEN I BLEW IT SO NOW I HAVE A DOUBLE-BOGEY! FUCK!!

It has gotten to the point in the round where my scores are getting crushed bc of green side fiascos.

SCORE: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 10
Score Overall: 56 (+16)


Hole 11
Par 3 | 158 Yards

This whole right here. Hole No. 11, may have been the best of the day for me. There is one simple reason for it.

I made par with after hitting my tee shot into the bunker, which means I had a legit sand par save. That is a sign of the oncoming apocalypse. I need to go and play the lotto and then ask the merchant to make it double or nothing.

The hole was a bit over 158 away so I took out my seven iron and swing true. Not a terrible swing, but it faded a bit right and rolled into the front edge of a bunker. The lip was maybe two feet high, but it didn’t matter. It was my only bunker shot of the day, and I freaking nailed it. Nothing lucky about it scalding and bouncing off the lip and over. This is how a bunker shot is supposed to look.

Also, a one putt? My only one putt of the day? Could not have come at a better time.

I don’t care if they say that hole No. 11 is the easiest hole on the course. I know what I believe, and I was on cloud nine after this hole.

SCORE: 3 (1 Putt)
Handicap: 18
Score Overall: 59 (+16)


Hole 12
Par 4 | 305 Yards

Hole twelve is a perpendicular hole. It is about 200 yards out straight, and then 100 yards straight left. It is a dog leg left, but I decided that it was better to hit a five iron off the tee. I wanted to get out to the 150 marker, and that is exactly where i got too.

Who is this man playing smart golf??

I hit an eight iron, but I needed to hit a seven or six because I came up short of the green. There was a mound that made the second shot a blind shot for me, and I hit the top of the mound and rolled back about 10 feet. Now I am chipping on an up hill lie. Still a blind shot. I scamper up the hill, take a peak, and return to my ball.

You know the rest of the story. The chip is okay but rolls past the hole by like 10 feet. My par putt misses the mark, so it is a two-putt bogey.

I enjoyed this hole because the layout of the course made it tricky. you needed to be smart with what club to hit and how to see the shot you were hitting.

I should not that this was the last hole of the day where I hit the fairway in regulation. Was a bit Helter Skelter the remainder of the time.

SCORE: 5 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 6
Score Overall: 64 (+17)


Hole 13
Par 5 | 495 Yards

After a short par three, we approach a par five that is just short of 500 yards.

I hit my drive left into the fairway of the 14th hole…and I hurry off to hit my second shot before that group hits off the tee. It is not a great second shot. My drive went about 200 yards, so I took out a three iron and prayed to keep a punch shot under some trees in order to get the ball into the fairway.

I BARELY miss a tree. It was by like a foot. Too close for comfort. It gets the fairway and I am still about 200 yards away from the hole.

Now this is where I get a little weird. I hit back to back pitching wedges here. Yes, it is strange. I did not want to go for the green and lose my ball on my third shot, so instead I laid up to 100 yards, and then from 100 yards out I hit a pitching wedge onto the green.

Listen, I gave myself a par putt. I can not be upset about that.

I can be upset that I did miss the cup, but a tap-in bogey it is.

SCORE: 6 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 8
Score Overall: 70 (+18)


Hole 14
Par 4 | 391 Yards

After some holes where I played good, safe golf, I reached the 14th. The momentum stopped in its tracks.

I hit my drive left of the fairway about 180 yards. With more than have the distance to the hole to go, I take out my three iron…and hit it about 20 yards in front of me. Just a duff. Picked my head up and swung out of my shoes therefore left myself with a disastrous third shot.

My third shot…well I have a predicament. I technically hit this very poorly as well, but Stephan was walking behind me as I was swinging, and it was close enough where I saw above his knee caps. I was frazzled and completely mishit it. I took it upon myself to hit another ball because why not, and I wanted a shot were I was not distracted.

My shot goes into the rough on the right side past the green. I chip onto the green, but it is a bad chip and I leave myself 30 feet from the hole. Three putts later it is a seven. This is the start of a tough stretch. We need to have hope as we wrap up.

I think after this hole I made sure that I had a snack.

SCORE: 7 (3 Putts)
Handicap: 2
Score Overall: 77 (+21)


Hole 15
Par 5 | 480 Yards

Here we are on the last par five hole of the course. I am in a good spot. Really just trying to not screw myself.

>>>>>> I screwed myself <<<<<<<<

The 480 yard challenge started off okay with my drive going about 200 yards to the right. I got a bad bounce so my second shot I didn’t have much of a chance to advance the ball further. It was just a plot along sort of scenario. My third shout gets around the green…but not on the green.

So I am doing okay right? I am in a position to make a double-bogey at worst, right?

Bad first chip. I was between my sand wedge and regular pitching wedge, and I chose the SW, and that was a terrible idea. My second chip, which I admittedly rushed, just gets out of the rough on the right side, but now I am on an in-between lie between the fringe and the rough. I have to use my PW again just to finally get on the putting surface cleanly.

I needed three chips to get onto the green. This was an utter mental collapse. Nothing positive about it. Two putts later and I am writing down an eight. A triple-bogey. Brutal. I was on a great pace to break 100, but now I am going to need to fucking buckle down if I want any shot.

SCORE: 8 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 12
Score Overall: 85 (+24)


Hole 16
Par 3 | 153 Yards

Bounce. Back. Hole.

A huge, much needed, bounce back hole.

The hole is between 150 and 160 yards away and it is dead uphill. After the frustrating hole 15, I step up to the tee box first to get some frustration out. I wanted to just wale on something.

But you know what it is better than just hitting something really hard?

The answer is hitting a beautiful golf shot. I hit a five iron that starts out right but curls back and ends up on the green about 15 feet away from the hole. It is the perfect distance. A two-putt par for my fourth overall par of the day and third par on a par three gives me some much needed confidence heading into the final two holes.

SCORE: 3 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 14
Score Overall: 88 (+24)


Hole 17
Par 4 | 381 Yards

I knew I needed to score well on this hole if I wanted to break 100. I had a par on hole 16, so i gave myself a chance after the debacle on hole 15.

My drive on 17 was hit well, but I got lucky with where the ball went. It did not get knocked around by trucks or branches. I somehow swing my ball between two trees on the left side on a hole that leans toward to the left. For comparison, one of the partners I was playing with got caught in a really bad spot behind a tree where he could not get it up and over and so he had to go just perpendicular to the fairway.

With about 170 yards to go, I hit a soft three iron that does the slice I needed when punching out from the mess my drive found itself in.

I end up short of the green and from there is it just a chip and a two-putt for bogey.

This hole was a testament to being smart on the course. My second shot could have been disastrous if I swung to try and get the ball onto the green. A measure of patience helped me in the long run.

SCORE: 5 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 4
Score Overall: 93 (+25)


Hole 18
Par 4 | 327 Yards

We are ending with a fairly easy straight forward par four. I end my round with a banana hook times two, and my drive on this 18th hole ends up in the rough leading up to the fairway of 10. I have to wait to let the people clear off on the tee-box on 10 before I can go over there and just chip out into the fairway.

I think that my drive probably went about 170 yards so when I chipped it between two trees back into the fairway, I had about 80 yards left to the hole. I needed to hit a solid pitch, so I went with a very long and aggressive bump and run. I aimed to land it about 70 yards and then left the ball roll onto the front of the green.

I do not control my distance and precisely as I wish, so I land the ball about 75 yards and it rolls past the hole about 20 feet. I would have love to end with a par, but a good two-putt bogey is fine for me.

I also did all this green approach and putting with about 100 people next to the green at a bar and watching our group. Kudos to us.

SCORE: 5 (2 Putts)
Handicap: 16
Score Overall: 98 (+26)


FINAL THOUGHTS

  • I hit five fairways. I hit four in a row to start. Then I only hit one. I started off WAY too hot.
  • Four fairways in regulation is pretty good, but again I had three of them in a row on holes three through five. Again, hitting my peak way too early in this round. But what if I told you that I shot better on the back nine than the front nine?
    • I shot a 50 on the front and 48 on the back. I only had one fairway in regulation on the back while I had four in the front. I only had one green in regulation on the back…but I had three in the front nine.
    • Huge reason may be that I only had one three putt on the back nine…and I had three on the front nine. 21 putts on the front and 18 putts on the back.
      • My only one-putt was on the back.
  • Four pars in a single round may be a personal best this season.
    • I got par on THREE par threes?? What am I?? A pin seeker??
      • The only par three I did not get a par on was hole nine where I got a six because I lost the ball left OB.
  • This is the first time that I played Western Hills in at least five years? Probably more? I played there with my dad once a long time ago.
  • This may be the last time I can go golfing in a while unless I get a random day off in the middle of the week.

WESTERN HILL ROUNDS

9/3/22 Score
#1 | Par 46 (2 Putts)
#2 | Par 58 (2 Putts)
#3 | Par 44 (2 Putts)
#4 | Par 45 (3 Putts)
#5 | Par 33 (2 Putts)
#6 | Par 45 (2 Putts)
#7 | Par 56 (2 Putts)
#8 | Par 47 (3 Putts)
#9 | Par 36 (3 Putts)
#10 | Par 46 (2 Putts)
#11 | Par 33 (1 Putt)
#12 | Par 45 (2 Putts)
#13 | Par 56 (2 Putts)
#14 | Par 47 (3 Putts)
#15 | Par 58 (2 Putts)
#16 | Par 33 (2 Putts)
#17 | Par 45 (2 Putts)
#18 | Par 45 (2 Putts)
Total98 (+26) | 39 Putts, 5 FIR, 4 GIR

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