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Every golfer has been there. You make the turn with a sense of satisfaction that only comes with pleasing a woman and closing a deal. That past nine holes were a display of incredible golf; at least for your personal standards. Everyone has different standards when it comes to what qualifies as a good round, and what qualifies as destroying one. But we all know the feeling of being in control of your game, as well as the feeling of watching it all slip away like Buck Showalter’s job security.
The First Mistake
In golf, it’s all about that next shot. Sure, you may have just saved par with a nice 10 footer, but now you’ve gotta get to the next tee box and get it in the fairway. Golf is also a game of confidence, and when things are going well you feel like you can do no wrong. The problem with that bravado-induced set of golf armor is that it only takes one poor shot to create a crack that can spread.
Maybe it’s a shot in the deep rough behind a tree on that hole you usually always par. Or maybe you’re first attempt at chipping it on the green sent you to the sand instead. It could even be on the green, scalding your initial putt and leaving you with a second one farther than its predecessor. A bad shot happens, yeah. But a really bad shot can turn a hole into pure hell and leave you with an ugly number on what was a damn good looking scorecard. That could rattle anyone.
The walk to the next tee box gives you time to collect your thoughts, but unfortunately it’s hard to get the score you just posted out of your head. You were absolutely cruising; how the hell did you let that hole get that out of hand? No matter, you’re going to make it up with a birdie, and it starts with this drive. A birdie or two and you’re right back on pace to that dream number.
Remember in Shawshank when Red said he wished he could tell you that Andy fought the good fight? Well, I wish I could tell you that this drive following the multi-bogey was right down the middle….but a decaying golf round is no fairy-tale. You’re not rattled enough to where it’s OB, but it sure as shit is buried in rough that you were specifically aiming to avoid. But easy enough, a nice recovery shot back into the fairway and you’re on your way to a respectable number.
But that hole doesn’t go smoothly either. Approach shot found the sand which was then followed by a brutal three-putt. Suddenly you’re heading to the tee box like Dwight Howard needing to hit three free throws to win Game 7.
The Tipping Point
You tee the ball up.
Nice and smooth here, lot of fairway, dogleg right….I should’ve hit my fucking 6 instead last hole
Address the ball.
Focus on making good contact, need to avoid that water….please God stay away from that water
You’ve been killing your 3-wood today…except last hole but I’ll get this one
Wait….where is that going…wait…
As soon as that ball sinks to the abyss you’re in full blown Mr. Krabs Meme-mode. It seems like an eternity ago that you were dropping dimes all over the course and sinking putts like Patrick Reed at the Ryder Cup. Now you’re a shell of your former self; hitting the ball like Roy McAvoy at the U.S. Open driving range and putting like a toddler at Putt-Putt.
Frustration of what could’ve been and your inability to stop it turns into seething anger. By the time you’ve made it on the green with an approach shot for bogey you’re seeing red. After your partner sinks a birdie, it takes every bit of effort you can conjure to grunt out, “Nice putt,” and you stare at your putter wondering if you can throw it in the water from here. Your record setting round was right in front of you, until you went back to back to back shit holes like Tom Emanski. With each shot you ask yourself why the hell you put yourself through this anguish.
As you’re driving along the 18th hole cart path to your not quite as shitty drive, you realize that hell, you’ve definitely had worse. That front-nine score still looks sexy as fuck. You start looking forward to the next time you’ll get to play and getting that feeling of playing lights out back. A nice approach, good first putt, and you tap in for par.
Based on a true story.