***WARNING – GOLF STORY TO FOLLOW – COULD BE EXTREMELY BORING TO NON-GOLFERS***
Out of adversity often comes great victory. This was the theme for our golf day on Saturday as Dex and I embarked on a 36-hole romp down at Hawkes Prairie. With 6 stitches in his shin from the night before, Dex never once had a second thought about playing. We departed at 7 AM down south to Lacey, WA and it was a perfect day. Clear and crisp weather, temps rising into the 70s with a perfect light breeze. It was clear after the first few holes that Dex was in a zone. Flawless off the tee, chipping and putting with pure feel and no fear. The new putter I bought Dex secretly without telling Mom was on fire. A great purchase.
Hawkes Prairie Golf Course
He makes the turn with a 45, already setting a personal record. On the 18th hole he had a 10-footer uphill putt for an 89. He didn’t know that the putt was for an 89, but I did. I was a wreck inside. I was helping him line it up, talking to him and praying to every golf God I knew. The putt didn’t drop and he tapped in for a 90 beating his previous record of 96. I never thought that breaking 90 would be in the cards this year and he clearly has the game already in May to do this. It would have been great if he had done it, but that day will soon come and scoring a 90 was still amazing. By the end of the round he was a different golfer than last year. He expects to chip it close every time and any putt inside of 15 foot should drop.
My game was in a different world unfortunately. I was trying out a new swing, couldn’t find much rhythm and seemed to have everything that could go wrong, go wrong during my round. I finished up for a 93. Yuck! Now, don’t get all excited about Dexter beating me. I still predict I have 5 more years before that happens. He was playing from 5,700 yards, I was playing from 6,800. I will admit that it did scare me a little. I need to get a little more focused on my game or he may surprise me sooner than later.
We played with two great guys with average ability (shooting in the high 80s, lower 90s) and we were both playing 36 holes that day. We decided to play the second 36 with them and I proposed we put a little money on the second round. Dex and I vs them, Best-Ball ($5 Nassau) straight-up. Dex playing from the fronts, they played from the middle, I played from the tips.
The second course was much harder with tighter fairways, smaller greens, water and hazards everywhere. Although I was back at 6,800 yards again, it seemed that the tougher conditions and having money on the line were what I needed to get more focused on my game. I quickly put up two birdies in the first 4 holes and we opened up a lead they never recovered from. We closed out the front 9 on the 8th hole (2 and 1 using match-play golf terminology). Dexter’s game was still good, but sliding a bit as he got tired. It didn’t matter. Now I was the one that was in some kind of zone. We closed them out on the 16th hole 4 and 3 for the back-9 to win the whole thing. On the 18th, I lipped out my birdie putt and tapped in for a 76, shooting a 1-over 37 on the back. Our opponents weren’t too pleased. As they handed the money over, I admitted sheepishly that it wasn’t too sporting of me to shoot a 93, make a bet, and then shoot a 76. And – to do that on a course I’ve never played was even more impressive. They decided that if the money was put into the "Dexter Golf Scholarship Fund", it would make them feel better about getting hustled.
Dexter and I celebrated our great rounds with dinner at the Chambers Bay restaurant overlooking the course, Puget Sound and a great sunset. What a beautiful course. When the Elephants come out in June, it will be a lifetime memory just playing there. Chambers Bay at sunset: