The Metcalfe team had our practice round out at Hammond on Sunday afternoon and man was it hot. I am really hoping the weather cools off by Sunday for the event. I think I drank 2 liters of water out there and still felt completed dehydrated when I got home.
Enough about the weather, to say it humbly, I played well on Sunday. I was 1 under on the back (we started on 10) and 4 over on the front, for a 3 over 75 from the whites. We were told we would be playing the whites for the event, which makes the course play about 6400 yards, nothing crazy, but even from the whites there are some long holes out there. As noted above, I scored really well, starting birdie birdie, with the only hiccups of the day on my 15th and 17th holes (6 and 8), where I took doubles. My fairways hit were below average for me (I hit 50% I average 62%) as were my GIR (I hit 44% and average 48%). What really saved me was my short game, needing only 27 putts for the 18 holes. I am actually pretty happy I was missing fairways and greens as it allowed to “see” more of the course in preparation for the event. In my 3 previous intersectional events I played only 9 holes prior to 2008 at Copperdale and took 6 points. I shot 73 in my practice round in 2009 at Madawaska, hitting pretty much every fairway and green, and then proceeded to blow up during the event and taking 0 points. Last year I played 9 holes stroke play and 9 holes two man scramble prior at Mont Cascades and took 6 points on the day. It seems history may be telling me that the best thing to do in my practice round is to not go and shoot the lights out, but on the other hand I am feeling really good about my game right now, my last 3 rounds have been 76 at Metcalfe 9 from the blacks (played it twice), 80 at Outaouais from the blues and 75 at Hammond from the whites. Also, playing well in the practice round gives me some confidence in my ability to play well on the course when it counts on Sunday.
A few observations on the course, I played it 2 years ago for the OVGA B class city and district championships and I think I shot 81 or so that day, and I remembered the course being in great shape. This time around the course seemed to be in a bit rougher shape. Like Metcalfe, the fairways were hard, with many dead spots and “ground under repair.” Based on what I have been told, I attribute the poor fairways to the extremely wet spring. Water sitting in low areas kills the grass and hence the dead spots, in higher areas the grass roots don’t have to grow as deep to find water so they don’t. The problem is that when it gets dry and the water table lowers, the grass roots have not grown deep enough to get to the lower water, thus the ground dry’s up and gets hard.. This is why a dry spring can be really good for fairways because it forces the grass routes to grow deeper into the ground to find water. It is unfeasible for most courses to water enough to prevent this. Outaouais had the same issue, to a lesser extent, when I played there on Saturday. The rough was rough to say the least, not long difficult rough, but un kept unplayable rough in many spots. I could see this when conditions are really wet and the grass can’t be cut because the ground is too wet, but I can’t understand why it would have been like this now, unless they are going for a the crazy long rough. The green side rough seemed to be better managed. Although extremely slow (slower than Metcalfe even, which is unheard of normally) the greens were the saving grace of the course. They rolled true and were generally pretty good to hit into, although a couple of the elevated greens were very hard to hold even when hitting high wedges into them.
This week I took today (Monday) off, will hit the range Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, will play 18 at Metcalfe on Friday and then back to the range Saturday. I may try to sneak in another 18 at Hammond on Friday or Saturday late afternoon (I think after 4pm it is only $20 to play), but am undecided right now.
This time next week it will all be said and done, wish me luck!
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