The Sub Par Golfer’s Account

After working all morning, we were at ends for something to do on this uneventful Maui day, so Phil suggested we go golfing. I’m normally ok with an impromptu round, but when it “counts” I like to have some warning because when it’s a grab-n-go match I treat it as such and really tend to just flop around.

However, I figured it wouldn’t really be an issue, because this was my home course. Pukalani was where I took lessons as a kid and where I used to play rounds with my grandma “Tutu” – who’s now in the golf course in the sky. I knew this course like the back of my hand. Plus I knew Tutu was up there looking down and she would hook me up with some good golf luck. This one was in the bag.

My first drive was pretty crap, which I didn’t expect and Phil’s was straight down
the center. Boom. I struggled to cross back through the trees and had a short approach shot, so I double-bogied and Phil made par. One-down. No stress…

Second hole, my driving let me down again (where were Dr. Dave’s Danger Drivers when you needed ‘em?). Two-down. The third hole has two greens, you can either hit down to a green that’s far below at the bottom of a gulch (the one Tutu and I used to play to) or go across the gulch to another green that was level or maybe higher than the tee box. I’ve never hit to that green, so ‘we’ chose that. I hit my shot right and into the sand. Phil hit the green with his stupid flawless golf he was privy to these days… I hit out of the sand and two-putted for a bogie. Phil putted up to just outside of a gimme, so he hit his second short putt in, right in the middle, and it hit the inner metal cup and bounced right back out at him. He was not impressed. 

*Thanks Tutu!* 

We both parred the 4th but I had a shot so we were back to one-down. Then I won the next – all square! This was more like it. 

We were still without a range-finder so getting a correct distance was difficult. Pukalani golf carts not only don’t have a GPS, they’re probably the last petrol-fueled golf carts in existence. They take off with a tractor-esque bah-rum-rump-rump-rump sound and really move when you give it some. But I digress. We didn’t have exact distances and my lazy math skills meant I was miscalculating everything and coming up short or over-shooting quite a few holes. So after the 8th I was back to two-down and getting nervous.

On the green of the par-four ninth I was on for three and Phil on for two. I two-putted for my bogie, and held my breath as Phil putted up to the hole. He came up about six feet short thanks to the green being under repair (phew!) so there was a chance he’d three-putt. He swung back and the putt came nearer and nearer the hole, shit shit shit! The putt dropped, but then mysteriously swung back out of the hole and clung to the edge, half-overhanging the hole. We waited and it stayed. Phil stomped off in disbelief, and I started believing in ghosts. 

*Thanks Tutu!*

It didn’t help for long though. My driving was getting me into too much trouble and Phil was making pars and birdies all over the shop. I was four-down on the 12th and on the 13th Phil pushed a drive out of bounds, and at the same time Tutu gave me a lucky bounce through some trees back onto the fairway, so I won that hole back (but only just!). But it didn’t hold. By the 16th I’d gone four-down and lost. Again. Man, this was getting annoying. To be fair it was one of my worst rounds this trip, but still. Phil’s now two rounds up and we’re running out of time. Best case, we halve Par Wars. Worst case… well let’s not think about that.



PHIL: 5.5


I don’t know why but we found ourselves at a loose end and decided on an impromptu round of golf at nearby Pukalani golf club. Michelle knows this course well – this is where she grew up playing junior golf so I thought it might be a tough day for me. 

I was 1 game up in Par Wars and had a round booked the following week at the very expensive Ka’anapali course which would be the decider if I suffered a loss here at Pukalani. I’m not sure my nerves would be able to take that.

The shortest tee box is red, then white, then blue so I asked the starter what he thought might be a fair game between a 6 hcp. guy and an 8 hcp. lady. He thought Michelle should play white and I should play blue but Michelle out and out refused to play anything longer than the reds so I had no choice but to play from the whites to keep the slope ratings fairly even. He asked if we knew the course and when I replied I’d played the course only once but Michelle learned golf here, he didn’t hold out much hope for me.

I hit a decent ball for a 51-year-old and Michelle hits it a mile for a girl so I thought the difference between our respective tee boxes for the first time was fair. But guess what, Michelle didn’t and she didn’t start too well. She went 3 down after 3 and was looking a bit moody.

It was one of those days that felt good. I was turning my hips on the backswing, clearing them on the downswing and I seemed to have no problem keeping focused on the ball through impact. Michelle was not having a good day and when I was 4 up at the turn, it was becoming clear that her heart was not in it anymore.

Lucky ricochet out of bunker for Phil

I continued to play good solid golf apart from the par 4 13th where I put my drive out of bounds, made a hash of my second ball and ended up with a quadruple bogey. I got a few shots back with birdies on 11 and 17 but a bogey on 15 meant I scored + 3 on the back. I’d scored +2 on the front so a total of +5 with a quadruple bogey meant I didn’t feel too bad.

Anyway, our match was all over by the 14th and the remaining holes were played in a very noticeable silence as Michelle was working on dealing with a loss on her home turf. The mood didn’t last long though, we went to the clubhouse and a few pints of Longboard Lager later we were laughing about the day’s golf.


Phil finds gold with his win at Pukalani

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