Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My sorta hole-in-one

I shouldn't be surprised it happened this way, not with as much golf as I play by myself. I'm talking about my first-ever hole-in-one. Or my sorta, maybe, kind of a hole-in-one, which happened today.

I've been playing golf for about 45 years, since I was 8 or 9 years old. In all that time, I had never had a hole-in-one. I'd had balls hang on the lip, roll over the edge of of the cup, tipetoe around the hole -- every conceivable thing but drop.

Until today.

I was playing Deerfield Golf & Tennis Club, in Newark, Del., which I had never played before. Because it was the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday, and because it was a spur of the moment round of golf, I was by myself, which is not unsual. And because I was by myself, I was playing two balls, as I often do. Playing two balls, from tee to green, helps me from catching up to the group in front of me.

Everything was normal, fine and dandy, until the 16th, a par 3. It's a nice-looking hole, a bit up hill, with a big bunker that wraps around the left side. From the blue tees, the marker said 170 yards, but my Bushnell Pinseeker measured the pin at 176 yards, playing into a slight wind. That's pretty much the outer limits of a 6-iron for me.

My first ball, which I tried to bomb, went a little long and left, catching the far left corner of the green. For my second shot, I decided to try to smooth the 6-iron. Did I ever. From the moment the ball left the club, I liked it. It felt good and it was dead-on at the pin. I knew it ought to be close, but from the tee, I couldn't see where it ended up. Was it was a little short or did it roll off the back of the green, or what? I couldn't tell, but something told me it was good.

When I drove up to the green, I immediately spotted the first ball, over on the left edge of the green. Scanning the green for the second ball, I looked short and I looked long. Didn't see it. Usually when this happens, just as I get my hopes up, I find the ball buried in the rough off the back. This time, did I dare look in the cup?
Finally, I did. There it was. And no question it was mine. Who else plays a Bridgestone with the little blue dot I make with a Sharpie?

My first reaction was to do a little dance out there on the green, which I did, along with a Tiger-style fist pump. Then, of course, I wondered: Who is going to believe me?

"Yeah, Logan, sure you made a hole-in-one. Any witnesses?"

Actually, no. But I feel comfortable looking straight into the eyes of the golf gods and saying, yes, I sorta finally made a hole-in-one.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Top 10 disappointments

On the road, one of the guys I enjoy talking to the most is Gary Van Sickle from Sports Illustrated. He has a very dry sense of humor and a dark view of the world, quite the cynic. Maybe that's why I enjoy his writing, especially his stuff online, where he can be looser than in the magazine.

This week, Gary weighs in with his Top 10, or Bottom 10, disappointments so far of 2007.