What follows is a long, boring narrative. There are no photographs, it has footnotes, and unsurprisingly, it’s all about me. If you choose to read anyway, please accept my apology in advance—sorry.
I promised to write about the golf I’ve played during the 2015 season, but I’ve resisted because it will only be an exercise in arrogance, or false modesty. The fact is I had a pretty amazing season. I won some, exceeding my potential for a significant portion of the season.
Last fall I detailed my commitment to getting better. I had lofty ideas that I’d be able to power through last winter’s hated cold and snow, emerging from the chrysalis in mid-March as a new woman, able to make golf balls travel precisely by force of will—or some such B.S. The facts are the cold paralyzed me yet again. I spent the bulk of winter sitting in front of a computer. When I surfaced I’d gained a few pounds and my fitness level had dropped like an anvil. Despite those issues, in March I packed my golf clubs and camera, and headed south to play golf and photograph sunrises.
The 36 holes I played on my trip got me out of my funk. Upon my return home, I resumed lessons with Melissa and spent many hours at my local driving range trying to make a good swing something I didn’t think about. By mid-April, I was playing semi-regularly, surprising myself with the occasional good shot among the several I wish I’d hit better.
My leagues began at the end of April with mixed results. I’ve played in two separate 18-hole leagues for all the years of my retirement. My Monday morning league was at a course that brings me to my knees. My first round there I actually played pretty well (95, with two birdies), then my game collapsed and I couldn’t break 100. In early June, I quit playing that course. I picked up a Tuesday morning league in July at a course that didn’t stress me out as much.
I played my Thursday morning league at my “home” course. While reasonably good results are my norm, my season there started rough too.
Dropping the Monday league in favor of Tuesday was a good decision. My attitude about my game improved and my Handicap Index1, which hit its peak for the year at 23.9 on June 15, finally started its anticipated decent. I was playing what I considered good golf.
I played some tournaments this year, and I think I did pretty well, although it didn’t start that way. The first was my EWGA2 Chapter Championship, which was held on a Sunday at the end of June in Sellersburg, Indiana. I did not do well—missing every three-foot putt; I had a lot of them. I had hoped my play would springboard me to the National Championship in Palm Desert, California.
The next day, Monday, the 100th Annual Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship began with stroke play3 which would determine seeding for match play4, the real tournament. The Cincinnati Country Club, in the conversation for most exclusive club in the city, (it’s so exclusive only members are allowed to see the Web site) was the venue. A large amount of rain had fallen in the weeks before and during the tournament so carts were never permitted off the paths. That meant a significant amount of walking up and down hills was required. After playing a practice round the previous Friday, the course was not a complete mystery to me. I got around with a fairly respectable 94, which put me in a tie for 24th place, middle of the field. I ended up being the number one seed in my group (flight) of eight going into match play.
My first opponent was Jean from the Four Bridges club. This was my first experience with match play; surprisingly I won convincingly, 5 and 3. The next day I played Kim, also from Four Bridges. I won that match 1-up. I got my comeuppance on Thursday when I played Tracey, another player from Four Bridges; she defeated me soundly, 5 and 3, but that was good enough for second place and a nice trophy. I like trophies. I have so few of them.
My home course Club Championship began in mid-July. The format was three rounds of stroke play, with the two best rounds of the three used to determine the winner. The best gross score and best net score in each flight were the winners. Due to weather, i.e., more rain, the Championship extended into mid-August before it was decided. I played all three rounds and did pretty well. I ended up with a win for Low Net and tied for fourth place Low Gross. There was no trophy, just bragging rights and a pro shop credit.
At the end of August, I played the two-day Metropolitan Senior Women’s tournament that was held at a country club in Northern Kentucky. This was also stroke play, flighted by age—I was in the 65-69 group. I shot 97 on day one, not good. I attribute the day two 89 to having a plan after seeing the course for the first time the previous day. As a result of my relatively high Index I managed to win Low Net for my flight. Again there was no trophy, but I did win a good pro shop credit.
With tournament season complete, I was back playing in my weekly leagues; reasonably good rounds continued. At the end of July I broke 40 for nine holes for the first time ever, shooting 39 on the back nine in my Tuesday league. In early September I did even better, a 37 (that’s only two over par) on the same nine.
My season began with a Handicap Index of 23.0. By mid-September I had gotten it down to 19.4, where it remains at this writing. I achieved my goal of getting it into the teens and at my lowest ever. The work I put in has paid off. My leagues are over for the year and the official season ends October 31. I’m playing and practicing less frequently, and courses I am playing these days tend to be unfamiliar so my scores and Index are likely to increase a little. I’d prefer they didn’t. Already I’m looking forward to next season and a serious attempt to get my Index down to 15. To make that happen I’ll need to be more aggressive with physical conditioning and make opportunities to hit balls during the coming winter. Whether I achieve that or not (spoiler alert: I will), golf is still the sport about which I’m most passionate. I’ll do my best, but most of all I’ll have fun.
So there you have it, 1300+ words of self-adoration. As I said at the beginning—sorry.
A Handicap Index, sometimes referred to herein as Index, is a calculated measure of one’s scoring potential based on posted golf scores. It allows players of differing abilities to equitably compete against each other. ↩
EWGA is the Executive Women’s Golf Association, a national organization to which I’ve belonged since 2007. I’m a member of the Cincinnati, Ohio Chapter. ↩
Stroke play is a method of scoring where every time a player hits a ball it is counted as a stroke. At the end of a round of golf the total number of strokes, plus any penalties assessed, is the stroke play gross score (note: some of my scores, especially those with three digits, are pretty gross). The net score is achieved by subtracting the course handicap from the gross. ↩
Match play scoring is by holes won or lost. It is played between two opponents (although there are variations) rather than against the entire field. The match ends when one player has too few holes remaining in which to make up the difference. In the first example above I won when I was five holes ahead with only three holes to play. That score is written “5 and 3.” ↩