Friday, March 11, 2011

Blog Extra! The Great Boulder Hills Seven-iron Experiment

I was talking with my friend (and fellow "Flintstone", Bill Sullivan just the other day about how best to play our golf course.  By the way, the "Flintstones" are a local group of guys from all over the world who live in Hyderabad and play golf together at the Boulder Hills Country Club where we are all members.  Bill was saying that he'd like to go out to play Boulder Hills with "nothing but a seven-iron and "below" - - just to prove to himself that the game is not about power, but more about control of the golf shot and keeping the ball in play.

It sounds obvious...hit the ball down the middle and keep it in play and you will score better.  Well, today, I decided to put this challenge to the test.  And I found the results to be very interesting and quite telling...I learned a lot and had a ton of fun pulling it off.  Now, for those of you who play golf in the U.S. (or virtually anywhere else in the world, for that matter) - "DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME" - I was literally the only golfer on the course all day long and played two-balls per hole at one time.  My fellow Boulderians...please don't tell the management that I did this on the day before the Audi tournament...and please note that I fixed each and every divot and ball-mark!

Here is the hole-by-hole account of the round(s) - I played one game "regular" - using all the clubs I would regularly hit - and the second game I never used anything over a 7-iron:

Front Nine:

Hole #1 376-yards - Par 4 

Regular game: Hit a perfect 3-wood right down the middle, left myself 160-yards up-hill to a middle flag.  Hit a duff rescue-club about 70-yards, hit a PW deep over the flag, two-putts.  Typical opening hole for me. Score - 5

7-iron game: Hit 150 down the right side, hit a second 7-iron perfectly, hit a wedge to the right edge of the green, putt from off the green Score - 5

Hole #2 400-yards - Par 4 (#1 handicap monster with a lake)

Regular game: Did what I always seem to do...put one into the lake on the right on the fly.  Took a drop, hit a 6-iron to the flat area before the green, chipped on, two-putt.  Score - 6  One lost ball

7-iron game: 150 yards straight.  another 7-iron 150 yards straight, PW to the green, two putts.  Score - 5

Hole #3 127-yards - downhill Par 3

Regular game: No difference here between the two games.  Hit PW a little long.  Two-putts for par.  Score - 3

7-iron game: PW to the right side of the green - white flag.  Two putts for par.  Score - 3

Hole #4 395-yards - Par 4

Regular game: Kept the driver in the bag, (playing it "safe") hit a slicing 3-wood onto the rocky hillside, took an unplayable drop Hit a 5-iron into the gaping green side bunker on the right, came out nicely, two putts for double-bogey.  Score - 6

7-iron game: Perfect 7-iron off the tee - second shot a safe 8-iron short of the green.  Sand-wedge to within 10-feet.  Drained the putt for PAR!  Score - 4

Hole #5 518-yards - Par 5

Regular game:  Like to hit driver here to gain distance...didn't work.  Hit a line drive towards the rock on the left...had to punch out (hit a good shot!) - hit an 8-iron down the right side to the garden-spot in front of the tree with room to the left -  PW went a little long - chipped on and two putts for a double-bogey.  Score - 7

7-iron game: Perfect 7-iron from the tee...another put me down by the lake in two...pinched a little by the lake on the left and the rocks on the right...hit an 8-iron down the right to a garden-spot to the right of the tree...SW on the green short of the flag - two putts and made bogey.  Score - 6


Hole #6 369-yards - Par 4 (The Temple Hole)  Not much difference here...I usually play it safe to end up short of the creek...the only difference was I usually hit 6-iron off the tee and play it like a Par 5.

Regular game: Hit a great 6-iron short of the creek, hit a 5-iron just short-right before the bunker, chip was deep onto the green.  Nice putt - tap-in for bogey.  Score - 5

7-iron game:  I may hit 7-iron off the tee from now on...actually ended up in a better place than I did with the 6-iron.  Nice flat lie short of the creek, hit a smooth 8-iron into the middle of the fairway, left 100-yards even.  SW to the right of the flag - two putts for a nice bogey.  Score - 5

Hole #7 495-yards uphill - Par 5

Regular game: Hit a great 3-wood down the left side, hit another great 3-wood to the 100-yard marker on the right, stuck a PW hole-high, two putts for par.  Score - 5

7-iron game: Perfect 160-yard 7-iron, then another, then another...three very good shots!!  Left an easy SW to the green...left about a 10' putt - which I drained for par!!  Score - 5


Hole #8 173-yards downhill - Par 3

Regular game: I like to hit 5-iron to a back-flag and a 6-iron to the middle.  Chose 6-iron and hit it too well....back left - just off the green.  Putted it very close.  Made the putt for par!  Score - 3

7-iron game: Problematic.  No place to lay-up really because of the lake short-left.  I don't think 7-iron is enough club.  Over-swung and put it over into the rocks on the right.  Hit a second ball on, but short-right.  Two-putts for double bogey.  First lost-ball with the 7-iron game.  Score - 5

Hole #9 382-yards - Par 4 (second shot over water)

Regular game: Need driver here....hit it perfect...right down the middle but too short to go for the green in two.  Hit a 9-iron to about 65-yards short.  Hit a SW really deep.  Lucky I didn't 3-putt.  Great putt...tap-in for a nice bogey.  Score - 5

7-iron game:  Not sure 7-iron is the right club...could go into the creek.  Hit an 8-iron perfectly.  Nice-lie -  short of the creek - took out the trusty 7-iron and bladed it directly into the creek!!!  Took a drop, hit an 8-iron onto a small hill on the left, hit a great PW out of the rough - two-putts for a TRIPLE bogey 7.


Regular game: 45 (on handicap)
7-iron game: 45 (on handicap)

7-iron game is 1-up after nine in match-play

Back Nine:

Hole #10 378-yards - Par 4

Regular game:  I have not been hitting driver here lately.  There is a stand of trees down the right and there is a rocky wasteland to the left.  I took the 3-wood out of the bag to "play it safe" and hit a line-drive into a patch of rough and a bush and a rock.  Unplayable.  Took a drop and hit an 8-iron just short of the green.  Hit a SW spot-on and luckily I made the putt for a scrambling bogey.  Score - 5

7-iron game:  Put a nice 7-iron down the right side and safe...hit another nice 7-iron short of the green to the right.  Hit a nice wedge from almost the identical spot my "regular" ball was, but not as close.  Two-putted for bogey.  Score - 5

Hole #11 183-yards - Par 3 (downhill)

Regular game:  I know the perfect club for this shot.  The Gold tees were playing at the Blue Tee markers...and I almost had a hole-in-one from this spot last June.  It's a smooth 6-iron.  I hit it a little too-well and was long and left of the flag with about a 30' downhill putt.  Put it about 5' away - missed it and three-putted for a bogey.  Score - 4

7-iron game:  Hit the 7-iron high...too high.  Fell short of the green.  Chipped straight over the hole long.  Two-putted coming back down the could have been worse.  Score - 4

Hole #12 396-yards - Par 4 (#2 handicap hole on the course.)

Regular game:  Took out the 3-wood and pulled one dead-left and O.B. into the brush.  Re-teed and pulled another one dead-left and O.B. into the brush.  I decided not to lose a third brand new ball and picked up and just played the 7-iron shots.  Score - 7x

7-iron game:  7-iron right of center.  Another 7-iron to the perfect spot - 110-yards from the pin.  Hit a PW that I wanted to bounce onto the narrow green and it got caught-up in the long Bermuda grass that fronts the putting surface.  Putted through the long grass (afraid of the dreaded "flyer") - and it worked.  One-putt for a nice bogey.  Score - 5


Hole #13 324-yards - Par 4 dogleg left - tricky hole

Regular game:  Hit one of  the best 3-woods I ever hit on this hole...gave myself a good look at the green...but couldn't really see the flag.  110-yards out...chose a 9-iron and pulled it badly - up into the rocky hillside to the left of the green...bounced out and onto the left fringe.  Putted off the fringe and left a tap-in for a nice par.  Score - 4

7-iron game:  Not so good this time.  Hit a good 7-iron off the tee...put a nice soft wedge over to the garden-spot at about 75-yards.  Sliced a PW into the brush.  Lost ball.  Went back and hit a better wedge...two putts for a triple-bogey.  Score - 7

Hole #14 539-yards - Par 5

Regular game:  Need the driver here.  Hit it pretty good but I was too far right and ended up behind a tree,  Misjudged the club and hit a 7-iron trying to clear the tree...caught a big branch and it bounced straight down into the leaves and rough.  Punched out by the big tree in the center of the fairway - hitting four with a long way to get home.  Hit a good 3-wood to about 70 yards.  One in five and two-putted.  Lousy double-bogey.  Score - 7

7-iron game:  Here the "7-iron game" gets interesting.  I know for a fact that there is no way to cross the creek with a seven - even a well-struck one.  I chose a nine-iron to push the limits of the grass on the near side of the creek...and - that is not an easy shot.  I hit it perfectly.  Then I hit a 7-iron and another 7-iron and was in the middle of the fairway in three.  I hit another 9-iron just short...chipped on and made two putts for a double.  That's a long hole with nothing to hit over a 7-iron!!  Score - 7

Hole #15 434-yards Par 4

Regular game:  Chose the 5-wood to get out and into the middle.  Hit it a mile-high and only about 140 yards long.  Needed to lay up to the lay-up place, hit a third shot on the blade and barely across the creek - chipped on and made a two-putt double.  Score - 6

7-iron game:  Hit the 7-iron off the tee further than the 5-wood.  Still not enough to challenge the creek...laid up.  Hit the CPR rescue-club perfectly - jut off the green to the right, hole-high in three.  Putted on and made the 2-footer for a winning bogey.  Score - 5


Hole #16 197-yards Par 3

Regular game:  Distinct advantage for the regular game here.  Hit the CPR just short of the front edge of the green.  LONG uphill putt - left it about 4' short.  Rimmed the putt...went in and came out.  Took a bogey I didn't deserve!  Score - 4

7-iron game:  Hit a nice high draw - landed 5' from the cart path on the left.  Hit a beautiful PW on to the middle and two-putted for a tie.  Score - 4

Match is DORMIE!!!  Regular Game is 2-down with 2-to-play!!

Hole #17 387-yards  Par 4

Regular game:  Hit driver...and hit a good one.  155-yards left from the left side of the fairway.  Wind was blowing so I chose a 3/4 5-iron.  Big mistake.  Hooked it into the left trap!  Duffed one in the trap for three...skulled one over the green in four, chipped-on and two-putted for a match-losing triple-bogey.  Nice.  Score - 7

7-iron game: 7-iron, 7-iron, PW, two putts for a bogey.  This 7-iron game was working!!  Score - 5


Hole #18 622-yards Par 5 into the wind.

Regular game:  Actually played this hole pretty well.  Hit a great drive...a perfect 3-wood and left me 225 to the green over water.  Not a chance with the wind.  Lay-up shot to 110 yards.  Stiffed a nice 9-iron to within 8-feet when the wind held it up.  Made two-putts for a 6 and that is a good score on this hole!!  Score - 6

7-iron game:  Hit a PW to a side-hill lie next to the ladies tee.  Hit three more great 7-irons (laying 4) to almost the exact same place the "regular ball" was in three.  Hit the same 9-iron a little right of the white flag and made two-putts for a respectable 7.  Score - 7


Regular game: 50 (terrible)

7-iron game: 49 (just slightly less terrible)


Total stroke-play:

Regular game:  45 - 50 = 95

7-iron game:  45 - 49 = 94

So, boys and girls...what did we learn??  First off...I suck at this game...even though I love it so much!!  Secondly...something I knew all along but refused to believe...straight and in-play is much better than O.B. and in the weeds!!

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