Monday, July 11, 2005

Day 2: Buckhorn; Holly Springs, NC

My last day of warm up and preparation before setting off.

Today got off to a rocky start. I got to Buckhorn and realized I had forgot my sneakers, so I had to play the round in my loafers.

Perhaps there is something about the morning or late afternoon that gives me a little more energy, I should keep that in mind when playing.

During warm ups I tried adjusting my stance a bit (less straight on line with the basket on my front foot) to help my balance and encourage me to get more arm speed on the putts. I had been trying something where I warmed up 5-10 feet beyond a comfortable putting range to "lossen up" my putting, and I have been making runs at more long putts lately. I haven't been working on normal putts, though, so that's suffered.

The front nine was a bit of a disappointment. I didn't get a birdie on either 1 or 2, and I'm still struggling with trying to break in the new Leopard. (Note to self: the Sidewinder still feels heavy coming out of my hand--THROW the damn thing if you want it to spin!). I had to make three 20-25 foot putts to save a bogey on 3 and pars on two other holes.

When I hit a short tree off of the tee on 8 (162 feet to hole) and had to scramble to make par, I realized that I've been having a lot of concentration lapses this week. There is no reason I should ever be having to make a long putt for par on a 162 foot hole.

It's like I find myself back in that rut where I play the first two-three holes and if the round doesn't look spectacular, I go on autopilot. Perhaps I should take de Causade with me--The Sacrament of the Present Moment has helped my golf game more than any other book, oddly enough.

Hole 8 is by the lake's shore, and I've noticed twice in the last two weeks a concrete hourglass structure blowing massive amounts of steam. How could I have missed that before? I assumed it was a nuclear power core, and, sure enough, an Internet search shows me that Carolina Power & Light runs the "Harris Nuclear Plant" in this area.

My mind wandered first to the three-eyed fish in The Simpsons, then to the famous Slim Pickens shot in Dr. Stangelove. There is something ominous about the way the core dominates the skyline over the lake, so aesthetically beautiful (and mysterious) in form yet so ominous in meaning. Still, if it were to blow this instant, at least I would die doing something I love, and how many people can say that?

In the long path between 9 and 10, I'm watching the ground more carefully than I normally do, and I see a black snake slithering from beneath a log into the brush. I remind myself (for the umpteenth time), that I should carry my cell phone in my bag rather than leave it in the car, especially when I'm playing alone in the woods. (Which reminds me that they just diagnosed that Florida State quarterback with Lyme disease--boy my thoughts are pleasnat today, aren't they?)

Well, I park my drive off 11 within ten feet of the hole for an easy birdie, and I wonder what it was about this hole that I disliked when I first played it. The fact that it is over water makes me concentrate and reminds me to throw hard; I wonder if I just assumed when I first saw it that I couldn't make it, but the scorecard says the white tee is 258, which is very reachable, especially with a downslope. That reminds me, though, that I threw the Sidewinder HARD and it still went only 258, so I shouldn't look at some of these 220 feet holes at try to finesse them.

I mange to get a 3 on 12 (my hardest hole on back 9) by just trying to keep it in the fairway rather than driving to far. The approach is a hard anhyzer, but the really beat up Valkyrie turns worse than the Stingray (just no distance), so it's perfect for that lie. I try a flick on 14 and, like the flick I tried on 7, it's short. So no birdie there, but 15 is elevation to elevation and, at 228, very reachable, I slam the Sidewinder into the side of the hill directly beneath the basket, leaving me a 12 footer uphill at a steep angler for birdie. My putt hits the yellow Innova band ring but still has enough momentum that the bottom continues forward and it flips in. All of a sudden I'm only +1 with 3 to play.

I don't get enough on the Sidewinder for 16, and 17 is that 351 feet over water, so I have to lay up on the short side of the pond and go over. I get good speed but hit a tree, so no putt for par. I par out 18, and viola, 56 from the white tees. Nothing that will put fear into the heart of Ken Climo, but better than yesterday.

Once again I remind myself that sometimes good rounds come if you let them--they don't always announce themselves on the first three holes any more than good movies announce themselves in the first 10 minutes. I was +3 after my front nine and nothing told me that I was going to tie my best overall score. Stay in the moment. Play this hole. Yeah, definitely go by the office and get de Causade to put in the suitcase.

Bad news is that I stop by the Books on Tape store and they are closed on Sunday (grrr). I do remember to go by Wal-Mart and get new shoe laces for the hightops. I'll have to decide though, whether to go by Cary on way out of town tomorrow. Not quite on my way, but I'm still not sure if I'm on a timetable.

So, my tally is 2 Days, 1 State, 3 courses.

Scorecard: (Buckhorn white)
Out: 3-3-4 4-3-4 3-3-3 (30)
In: 3-2-3 3-3-2 3-4-3 (26)
Total: 56

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