Vote!

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If you are a citizen and you are of voting age, then it is your duty to vote. You have no basis for complaint if you do not vote. Many people around the world risk their lives to vote. Many people risked and given up their lives and are giving up their lives as we speak so that you can vote even from the comfort of your home.

There is no longer any excuse not to vote with early and absentee voting. God bless America.

Wakonda Club Number 9

The hole is 178 yards long from the blues, slightly downhill and depending on the prevailing winds needs anything from a 7 iron to 3 hybrid. It’s an easy 3 if you just let the clubs do their work, but try to muscle this hole, a 5 or worse awaits.

 

The Womp Rat: Wakonda Club No. 14

“Like targeting womp rats back home,” or so the quote goes from Star Wars. Luke Skywalker was referring to the ease with which he he used to vaporize small desert rats, intimating that the small exhaust port on the Death Star was no big deal. At Wakonda, we have our womp rat. Actually, it’s a heavily defended thermal exhaust port.

The fourteenth hole at Wakonda is a Rorshach test of a golfer’s mindset. From the blues, the hole is about 165 to the middle of the green. The prevailing winds are left to right. The problem is the three foot differential between the upper and lower tiers. Also, there is about a two foot drop over a thirty feet length going from back to front. This means that balls tend to roll right and off the green.

The pin position shown is front left. Depending on the mood of the greenskeeper and the pro, the pin can be placed right next to the precipice. This translates into a challenging two putt from below the cup. Anywhere else and a three putt bogey is a relief. In terms of score, this little bantam of a hole behaves like a par four or five, leaving grown men with tears.

Success on this hole requires command of your swing and fearless putting. Ideally, you want to hit into the fringe up front with a draw and roll onto the green below the hole. My ball ended up with a fade, landing hard in the center of the green, on the incline, which squirted the ball hard right and off the green. My chip landed short, sending my ball rolling back to the right fringe. A long putt failed the hill climb and three more putts later, a 6 was my reward.

Close Your Eyes in the Bunker

Chalk this up to the weirdest thing to ever happen to me on a golf course. I am a big fan of Bill Pennington, golf writer for the NYTIMES. He recently posted a video about hitting bunker shots (link here), which I watched with amusement. At Wakonda Club, we have sunrise golf, which for me works out well because I can slip in 9 holes at the crack of dawn and be done by office hours.

The gist of Pennington’s mad video is that once you set up your bunker shot, you really don’t need the extra visual stimulus of vision to accomplish your goal. Yesterday, on number 18, I was in the right green side bunker on the front lobe, meaning I was easily over 50 feet away. The lie was a partially plugged lie in a previous sand divot which had eroded from the constant recent rain. Typically, the wet sand gives me fits. I set up and visualized my shot, and closed my eyes and swung. I heard a nice thud of my 54 degree Cleveland wedge hitting sand, and I opened my eyes. The ball tracked over the greenside lip and I lost sight of it, but a few seconds later, there was a satisfying rattle of ball hitting the pin. It scooted off to the side about a foot!

I figured it was a fluke, but again this morning, I found myself in the left bunker on 18, this time on wet sand that had been raked but close to a collection of water that would have allowed me relief. I decided, hell with it. I was this time about 30 feet away, and I used my 58 degree wedge. I set up, closed my eyes, and again, the thud of the wedge traveling through wet sand. I opened my eyes and panicked when I saw the ball rise very high, much higher than I had wanted -I thought, but the ball landed with sore feet about three feet from the pin, bounced and stopped on the spot.

Two times in bad bunker conditions is amazing. You have to try this, and thank you Mr. Pennington. I’d hand you a zucchini out of my garden if I could.

The Rabbit and the Dog -a drill to teach a newbie putting skills

Rabbits about to run for the hole

The hard part about teaching putting to a child who thinks he already knows putting is the fact the child remembers every crazy putt he drained by drilling the ball straight at the hole. So it was with a bit of excitement that I tried out this drill which may or may not be original. I took one ball -the rabbit, and tapped it out about a foot away from a second ball, the dog, and I told my son, G, to go and chase the rabbit. To get half credit, the dog had to end up within a club head of the rabbit. It took only a few minutes before he was hitting most of the 3 footers, and started making a few of the 5 and 10 footers. The best part was when he began to get bored with the drill, I sent the rabbit into the hole from 8 foot away, and he chased it in with his putt!