The 15th is a bit of tricky hole.  It is about 390 and the wind was pretty much at my
back, but a bit right to left…or so I thought.  I unleashed the big dog and just
wanted to get it up in the air and let the wind take the ball down the fairway and
push it to the left.  Well, it went long but it didn’t bend to the left.  No matter, I hit the
fairway and carried the mounds out there and was left with about 140 into the
green.  I hit the front of the green and two putted for my par.  AH!  A brief moment
of success in this War of Attrition.

     
The 16th is a 555 yard par 5.  Again, I think the wind is at my back and right to left
and I have the same thought as on hole 15…get the ball up in the air on the right
side of the fairway and let the wind take it down the fairway and bend it left.  Again,
the ball gets up and goes long enough…but it doesn’t bend to the left at all; rather
it goes straight as a string and lands in the DEEP and NASTY fairway bunker.  I
know this is nothing new, but being in so many bunkers is really getting to me.  I
suppose it was my heroics on the 7th hole with a little bit a frustration mixed in, but
a I grab 3 wood and let’er rip!!  Stupid idea!!  I hit it hard, but it barely clears the lip
of the bunker…rips through the long native grass surrounding the bunker…and
trickles into the fairway.  I’ve got 180 left to the flagstick and I am striking 3.  Still
kind of pissed and frustrated, I simply grab my 4 hybrid and rip it.  Well, I hit it and
hit it well.  The ball hits the green, but it is travelling fast and hot.  It hits the green
and trickles down the slope and disappears.  Of course, I am thinking the ball is in
a waste bunker and I will be left with an awful recovery shot.  But no, I catch
another break.  The ball is just a few feet off the green and I have a really good
look at the pin.  My chip is perfect and the ball almost goes in for birdie, but I
instead I tap in a ½ inch putt of par.  Two pars in a row and although I am picking
up steam on the scorecard, my energy and stamina are waning…the course is
kicking my ass!!!


Ok, here is a sidebar.  A fellow member of Golf Club Atlas and I had a friendly side
bet relative to the 17th hole at Kiawah Ocean.  He said I wouldn’t be able to hit/hold
the 17th green from the tips, so rather than playing The Dye tees like I did for the
other holes…I scootch on back to the tips for this bad boy.  Interestingly enough,
the tees are at the extreme back of the tee box and the pin is at the extreme back
of the green and it tallies 263 yards on this day for the par 3.  Man!  Honestly, I was
a bit intimidated.  But okay, whatever…a bet is a bet.  I grab driver, line up the shot,
and try to execute perfect form on my swing.  Balanced, smooth, and steady and let
the driver go…and holy cow I hit that ball pure as the newly fallen snow…the ball
lofts up and the wind carries it into the green with a soft fade right smack dab in the
middle of the green.  In all honesty, I was stunned.  Uncontrollably, I let out a yell of
joy and raised my arms in victory.  As I make my way to the ball, I notice a staff
member at the club was watching me.  Did he see my shot?  I don’t know, but I
guess he heard my yell and wondered if I made a hole in one.  Well, if that is what
he thought…he was disappointed…but I wasn’t.  On the putt, I had another real
birdie chance, but I couldn’t focus.  I hit the putt 3 feet past the hole and a full foot
outside the hole.  Other than the speed and direction, it was a nice putt!!  Oh well, I
focused in and sunk the par putt.


On to 18 with a stretch of 3 pars in a row.  Feeling froggy, I take dead aim for the
nest of bunkers on the right side of the fairway…thinking the wind will blow the ball
back to the left.  I suppose I am stupid as the wind wasn’t blowing right to left, it was
blowing directly down the fairway.  This explains why my tee shots on 15 and 16
didn’t bend to the left, but in the heat of the battle I couldn’t figure that out.  And,
just like on 15 and 16, I hit a long drive that shockingly doesn’t move to the left at
all.  And, you got it, back in the bunkers.  But this time, I have my thinking cap on.  
Given the hole is 400 yards and I just hit a drive about 280, all I need is a pitching
wedge with this wind to make the green.  I get my line, then descend into the
bunker to hit my shot.  I hit it solid, but given the depth of the bunker I can’t see
where my ball goes.  So, I try to climb up the steep walls of the bunker to take a
peek at where my ball went.  Just as I am about the hop out of the bunker, the sand
gives way, my left foot slips, which severely tweaks my recently repaired/artificial
hips and the surge of pain just about causes me to pass out.  I take a second and
lay face down half in the bunker and half out.  I can’t think, I can’t talk, I can’t do
anything but lay there and try to breath.  I don’t know how long I lay there, but I am
guessing 30 seconds.  I gather myself and crawl out of the bunker and limp to my
cart.  I am finally able to think and I head towards the green.  I see my ball...guess
where?  Another bunker!!  Okay, whatever, I’ve got 3 pars in a row and I just need
to get this thing in the hole ASAP, get off this course, and lay down in my hotel
room.  I dig into the bunker and whack away.  I barely make it out.  But hey, I am
out.  I quickly line up my chip and make the green, but I’ve got 30 feet to the hole.  I
putt…not the best…I’ve got 5 feet left.  I take my time, line it up, and hit it.  Double
bogey.  Who cares, I’m done.  In a daze, I head to the clubhouse.


I order my customary Arnold Palmer and tally my score.  88.  I did it.  I broke 90 on
The Ocean Course.  Strangely, I don’t feel like the victor even though I beat my
target score.  I am exhausted, physically and mentally.  I am in pain and I am
completely discombobulated from being in the sun and wind for over 3 hours.  
Wow!  I may have won this epic battle, but The Kiawah Ocean Course is the real
victor.  This course kicked my ass up, down, and sideways.  It frustrated me,
exhilarated me, pissed me off, and cause me to yell in ecstatic jubilation over
something as routine as hitting a green on a par 3.  The 88 I scored on this day is
far from my lowest score ever, but I do feel that this round of golf was the best I
ever played.  Hardest course in America, 40 mph winds, one frustration after
another, 10.6 handicap, 88.  I’ll take it!  

There is no doubt that I’ll be back to play this brute again, but it won’t be too soon
as I don’t think I will be mentally up to the challenge for quite some time.  This
round took that big a toll on me and I need some serious recuperation time!