The new putter and hybrid that Nike is sending me were supposed to arrive today, but, surprise, surprise, they never arrived. So after waiting around, rewriting the beginning of my story on Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and making plans to attend the Bob Hope Classic next week in the Palm Springs area, I decided I would practice my chipping and putting. When I arrived at the Rancho 3 Par, though, the chipping green was closed, so I decided to play nine holes, instead.
And oh how close I came to glory. Had the 20-foot putt on No. 7 not come out of the hole after dipping halfway in, or if the chip on the ninth had gone six inches farther, I'd have shot an even par. Had both of these things happened, I would have broken par.
And, of course, had I not stupidly decided to try a Texas wedge on the third (a shot I never use ... for good reason, apparently) and instead had hit the 7-iron chip shot that delivered two tap-ins on other holes today, I could have been a contenda, instead of a bandy-legged ... never mind.
With the exception of one shot, I struck the ball purely today, chipped it very well and putted just as well. If I had assessed the severity of the wind better, I would have easily broken par, since twice I hit exactly the shot I wanted but came up far short, forcing chips from the rough instead of easy putts.
All in all, though, the round felt great, partly because I almost managed to achieve a zen-state, slowly walking between shots, reminding myself that there is no score, only the next shot. And it worked, since I would not have guessed a year ago, as I nursed a broken arm, that I could flirt with par, even on such a rinky-dink course. But there it is—a new year, a new game.
And now it would be great if I could add some new words to Exit Wound.