Like I mentioned earlier, I rarely add my score up on the course. I find it distracts me and I begin to fixate on it.
But as I reach the tenth tee, I see another single getting ready to tee off right in front of me. His girlfriend/wife is
in his cart and they appear to be just checking out this course to see what it is all about. Ok, I’ve got some time to
kill. I add it up. 45 on the front. Wow, this makes 3 consecutive nines of 45 on this beast and it doesn’t seem to
matter if I am striking it well or not. Weird. As I wait for the gentlemen in front of me to finish up the hole, I begin
to get centered again and my frustration wanes. The bottom line is this, if I want to break 90 I have to break 45
on the back. If I want to break 45 on the back, I have to hit the ball just well enough to sneak in one par with no
doubles. I don’t have to be a hero, I don’t have to make 9 birdies, I just have to be average for 8 holes and pretty
good for one. Ok, ok…I can do this.
Home-boy is off the hole and I am up…the 10th is 380 yard par 4 that plays into a sunken green. I grab driver
and try to get into scoring range on this hole. With the wind absolutely HOWLING left to right, I figure I’ve got to
play even more movement into my shots and I aim way left of the fairway and put a smooth swing on the ball.
Bingo…it is a great shot that bends right into the fairway. I’ve got 160 left into the wind, but the green is sunken a
bit. I grab 5 iron and aim way left of the green. Bingo…nice contact. The ball bends just a bit too much and
lands just off the green to the right. But I’ve got a great look at this pin. I’ve got maybe a 10 yard chip with
nothing obscuring my line. I hit it pretty darn nicely and I’ve got 5 feet for par with just a bit of a downhill putt with
just a bit of left to right action. I line it up and stroke it nicely, but it rims out. Ugh! I really feel like I let that par
get away. That was an easy chip and putt and I messed it up. Darn it. Oh well…stay focused.
Hole 11 is another 500ish yard par 5 that is playing into the wind with a bit of left to right wind action. After I strike
the ball, I feel like I am experiencing déjà vu relative to hole 7. I hit a fading tee shot into a wind that pushes that
ball even farther right. Again, just like 7, thank God for sand cart paths. The ball landed softly on that path and
didn’t cost me a penalty stroke. Unlike the 7th hole, I can’t see the flag…frankly, I have no shot. But being the
genius that I am I draw 3 wood and try to be a hero…just like on hole 7. Well, I hit the ball alright. But with the
extreme amount of uphill action I need to get on the ball to make it over the mounds surrounding me, I simply can’
t get a 3 wood up that high. I catch the long native grass that surrounds those mounds and ball travels, maybe
50 yards, and ends up in the rough about 180 yards from the pin. I grab my 4 hybrid and hit a really nice shot, I
land just off the green and I’ve got a do-able up and down for par. Well, I get the up but not the down. Bogey.
No worries, that is not a disaster.
As I step to the 12th hole, I see no signs of the group in front of me and I think the shenanigans I had on the sand
cart path gave that guy and his wife time to move on ahead. I stand tall on this 420 yard par 4 and let one rip.
Money! I know it is good. But out of the corner of my eye I see some movement way off in the rough/sand about
50 yards down the right side of the fairway. Oh no! This is the guy who was playing in front of me and I just tee’d
off when he was looking for his ball in the rough. I immediately head over to him to apologize, when he tells me
not to worry about it as he was yelling at me to play through. But with the wind whipping 35 to 40 mph right off the
beach, I could not hear him at all. Whew! Ok, I am essentially alone on the course with no one to slow me down
and I head to my ball. I am right in the middle of the fairway with a nice look at a Cape style green right in front of
me with 180 yards left to traverse. I grab my 4 hybrid again. As the wind is left to right, I play off the left side of
the green and crush one. Like hole 6, this thing is perfect. The ball is tracking the precise line I played and
bending right into the middle of green. Boom, I see it hit the green…but with the setting sun blinding me a little as
it glistens off the water behind the green I lose the ball as it rolls out. I approach the green with putter in hand.
But I look high and low and I see no sign of the ball. I check the cup, nothing. I check the rough, nothing. I check
the marsh, nothing. SHIT!!!! That ball which hit the green dead center just rolled off the green and into the
water. I take my drop and have enough mental composure to get up and down, but I am fuming!!! Great drive,
perfect approach, but instead of a shot at birdie I get a freakin’ bogey!!! This battle with The Ocean Course is
turning out to be a War of Attrition. And my nerves are what is getting warn away.
Okay, after re-grouping I step to the tee box of the beautiful 13th hole. Finally, I have passed the only group in
front of me and I am alone on this course. I tee the ball up and get ready to hit when I see someone climb out of
the river/marsh that cuts through the fairway. WTF??? This guy has SCUBA gear on. What is going on? He
climbs out of the river, takes off his scuba gear, and walks wet suit and all across the fairway and down the sand
path towards the clubhouse. Did I just see that? Or did the heat, wind, and stress finally get to me? Anyway, I
tee off. It is a weak pull hook that easily makes it over the river, but I’ve to 250 yards left to the flag. 120 yard
drive…pretty sweet, huh? Whatever…I am not going to go crazy. I hit a terrible shot, but I am not going to
compound it. Instead of trying to horse power a 3 wood and challenge the river/cape green, I hit a 4 just up the
fairway. It isn’t great…it isn’t horrible…simply serviceable. I pitch the ball on to the green and two putt for my
bogey. I could have turned that hole into a terrible mess, but I didn’t. Bogey, no harm, no foul.
Hole 14 is the beautiful Redan-esque par 3 that plays right in front of the ocean. It is unbelievably stunning to
look at…and for sure I took a few seconds of pause during the course of this battle to take in the amazing views,
but then it was right back to the grind. Ok…171 yards, redan style green, wind about 40 mph almost totally right
to left. My strategy for this shot was to hit a 5 iron to the extreme right side of the green and let the wind blow it
back on to the green. Nice idea, but it didn’t work. I hit a solid 5 iron at my aiming point, but the wind took this
bad boy WAY to the left and I missed the green short and in the rough. Easy chip, but of course I missed an 8
footer for par and left with another missed opportunity and a bogey.