This past Monday and Tuesday, I played in my first ever Mississippi Chapter Championship. The tournament was 36 holes at a great course about 45 minutes from my house, and real talk here, I was not prepared.
I was exhausted, my confidence was low, and my body was sore, results of not enough practice/poor practice sessions over the past few weeks. As a golf professional who shoots in the mid 70s regularly when I’m fresh, I would have been thrilled to shoot 79-79 in this particular tournament. (Not ideal, but honest.)
That did not happen. I shot 86-82 with a 10 on one hole the first day, a really terrible detail if it didn’t come with such a great story.
As my group approached the 17th hole on Monday, I was +8 through 16 holes on no birdies, four bogies, and back to back double bogies on holes 8 and 9. After having made six straight pars and surviving one lightning delay, I figured if I parred the last two holes, I would shoot 80 on the number and not completely embarrass myself.
However, the 17th hole is a bitch from the back tee. There really is no other way to say it. Depending on the line that you pick, it’s a 225 to 275 yard carry over a river on a weird angle. Throw in a stiff breeze in my face that accompanied the impending second lightning delay, and let’s just say I picked the wrong line. Twice.
As I readied myself to hit my tee shot, I saw the tournament director driving backwards up the cart path, so I stepped away. It was obvious that he was about to blow the horn for our second weather delay, but he wasn’t quite ready. I could proceed.
So I stepped up to the ball a second time, only for five deer, startled by a clap of thunder, to come bouncing out of the woods. I backed away, smiled a little, then approached my tee shot for a third time.
As I started my backswing, one final deer pranced right over the back of my tee box. I chuckled aloud, stepped away one more time, and took a deep breath.
On my fourth approach, I actually, finally got to hit the ball. It did not clear the river. I re-teed my ball, steadied myself, then put another one in the river. And then the horn sounded.
I sat in the clubhouse for about an hour, knowing that I had to go back out, still on the tee box, and hit my 5th shot (including penalty strokes). It wasn’t the most pleasant hour of my life. An old friend of mine that works at the course kept me company, and by the end of the weather delay, I was laughing like nothing had happened.
When the skies cleared, I went back to the 17th tee, hit one so far away from any trouble that I had over 200 yards left into the hole. I hit a decent one to the fringe, then proceeded to take four more shots to get it in the hole.
When it rains, it pours.
That ten on hole 17 did not put me in last place, but it was close. I was disappointed for a minute, then somehow managed to enjoy the car ride home AND that entire evening with my family. I guess that’s all the work I’ve been doing. Not on golf. On myself.
Bad days happen, and there’s always another chance tomorrow. The following day I started on a par 5 and hit driver, 3 wood to ten feet. I narrowly missed the eagle, but tapped in for birdie. It was a beautiful day as a part of a beautiful journey.
Until three hours later when it started pouring again.
Have a great week.-Benj
Join the abk community!
Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis, @abkgolf, and @anythingbutkhakisphotography.
If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com.