Monday, August 24, 2009

Golf Alfredov - Plzen

Kvjetaak consulted with his coach on the course we were to play in Plzen. His coach exclaimed, “That course is @#$@#$@$!”.

So K-taak investigated closer . . .

#5 – funny water approaches to the green

#6 – freaky drives across the water to the fairway

#11 – strange tee position on the right side

#14 – this hole must be just joke

#18 – finishes on the water island

Looking forwards LOL . . . 6002M, Par 72, Slope 132

The par5 #1 hole was a bit of a worry, the only things you can see are trouble because it looks so flat . . . but the fairway in front of the tee actually goes uphill quite
steeply, and the whole hole slopes hard right-to-left . . . within the horizon, all
you can see are the church pew bunkers on the left
and the bio-area on the right . . .
there's some sort of fenced in area further on the left, but I still don't know what that was . . . I hit a tight draw down the right side of the fairway, as far as I knew
. . . mercy only allows me to omit my partner's thrashings, they wound up with a 10 and an 11, off to a very rough start . . . on my 2ndshot, I hit a low 3wood fade,
since I was so paranoid about the fairway slope grabbing my ball. Tho' the meterage on the hole is not long, I still had 90m left to the pin. . . I felt oddly confident,
despite my poor record on par5s lately, but I wasn't prepared for what happened . . .
I took a divot the size of a new york stip steak, the ball flew not particularly high,

but beeline straight, it skipped twice on the green then rolled right at the pin, bounced off the flagstick backwards I'd hit the pin so square, and spun 3 ft. DID YOU
SEE THAT? I shouted at K-taak, he was laughing and giving me the golf-clap I taught him . . . 8^D . . . .when my partners had finished floundering, I got ready for my
birdie putt. . . I almost just one-handed it in, and maybe I shudda, cuz, I missed that @#$ @#$
$@#$@#$ ! putt! K-Taak had gotten his camera out to commemorate my first birdie, to no avail. . . 8^( . . .

On the par4 #2, I hit a tailored fard fade down the left side into the wind that made me think I knew what I was doing . . . .K-taak erratically hit one of his best 3woods almost as far as my drive, a tall-driving draw, but his 2nd shot came up a little heavy, took the slope, and rolled off into the bunker protecting the green. I OTOH cleverly hit a thin shot straight at the left bunker and let it roll down the hill,
handy to the green. Took K-taak 4 to get down from the bunker, Took our partner 6. I
looked at K-taak and said, "Dang, these greens are *slower* than Motol!" He just shook his head, grimly satisfied with his 6. These greens had been aerated and sanded recently, I knew from the 1st green putting was going to be a mess, which puts a lot of pressure on the rest of your game, doedn't't? My chip uphill stopped halfway, and I missed the par putt, for a tap-in bogey.

On the par5#3, I hit another bullet down the right side, trying to draw, but I was
worried it might have drifted off into the deep rough, since that's another semi-blind
shot over the crest of a hill. K-taak sprayed another shot right out into the deep
rough, so he took a provisional. . .we couldn't find the first one, that dang grass
was a foot tall, but laying down, like the grass at Mstetice . . . no hope since the
burrows down in there like a mouse. So he was on track for another double bogey. . . he says, "I *always* enjoy starting a hole at 3, instead of 1!" Since I'd faded the
3wood on #1, I wanted to straighten this 7wood out when I dug it out of the short
rough, and I did, but I was so worried about hitting across the fairway into the trash
over there, I bit off too much and didn't get it back into the fairway, so I had about
130m with the wind, downhill, out of the rough to the green. I correctly selected
8iron, and bounced it onto the green pin high 20 ft left . . . tho' I *knew* those
greens were slow and bumpy, I was afraid of the slope of the green that it took from
the whole terrain, and just babied it down by the hole . . . I wasn't lagging, but I
wasn't taking any chances, neither, got my tapin par. With 2 successful par5s under my belt, I'm thinking this could be my day, after all . . . I wanted one of those trophys they were showing in the clubhouse, just cuz they were different from the bohemian crystal ones Club Praha gives.
The par3 #4 looked right to me, I knew what to do, but I hit it out on the toe of
my 7iron, but straight, and left, to the high=side of the hill, so that the ball
bounced around the bunker guarding the right side and rolled over to the back of the
green. A good miss. An intelligent miss, born of experience, I would claim. K-taak hit
his ball high and straight at the pin, not-quite-solid, I guess, cuz it wound up short
at the middle of the green, bounced straight right into the bunker. We talked about it
on the way down to the green, and he'd meant to hit it left where my went, but pushed it. just bad luck. He got up and out for a 4, which was pretty good -- he complained
about the sand being very hard, wet from the rain last night and this morning. I,
filled with hubris, am thinking I can birdie this hole, forgetting that it is just not
going to roll true with those aeration holes, plus it was downhill, so my speed was
off: in short a 3putt.
The par4 #5 is the first of the holes K-taak had identified from the map after talking
to his coach about the course. . . dogleg left over water by the green. I downshifted to a 3wood, cuz I could see from the map I didn't want to be long, but I shoulda used
a 5wood, or even a 4iron . . . I blocked it right into the rough, so that I was in ankle deep rough, with the water and a big tree on my side of the water blocking me
from the green. Gnashing my teeth, I just chipped out to the fat part of the fairway where I could see the green. K-taak noticed from his position A in the middle, and
complimented me on my discretion . . . 8^) . . . He pulled his shot left and long, avoiding the tree and the water . . . I didn't think it was too bad, tho the rough was deep. I hit a low,hot PW that skipped to the back fringe. I should've realized when K-taak's pitch to the green ran 30ft past the hole, that it was real downhill, but I still tried to make my 7iron chip. It buzzed the hole, and rolled 9 ft past, and I
missed the comebacker . . . frikken aeration bumps.
The par4 #6 is another hole we had pre-considered . . . kinda tricked up . . . with a split fairway divided by a water-filled trench . . . you can kind of see the far fairway, where you have to hit to reach the green in two, but it's only a peek . . . plus, these two fairways are narrow, and a first-timer has no idea how much to bite off to clear the water but not go thru the secnd fairway, least I didn't . . . so I went thru the fairway . . .
hit a rising quail right where I aimed but then it
rabbited up the slope into the rough instead of sitting down. That di'n't worry me, but I found I had a little tree-trouble, too, from the trees that separate #6 from #8
fairways . . .I had to hit a knockdown 7iron out from under the trees to the right side of the green, with a little fade to hold it up agains the slope of the fairway. . . but I scuffed the texas wedge off the fringe there and the bumpy aerations di'n't help either . . . 3jack.
The par3 #7 is a nuthin' hole, but not if you play it the way I did: blocked a weak toe-hit 30m right of the green, behind trees and bunkers to the green. Freaked on my flopshot and bladed it over the green, almost in the water on the other side. Grimly flopped the next one properly 8ft from the pin, resigned to a 2putt double-bogey, but somehow that one putt tractored over all the holes and bumps to salvage bogey. Kewl.
But this meant I had to foul up #8, a straightaway, downwind, wide-open par4. Sliced the holy sacraloliliac out of my tee-ball, back somewhere on #5 -- never did find it, had to play my provisional, which was, natcherly, in position A in the fairway. But I think had a composure issue then, foozled an 8iron, bladed a wedge out of the deep rough, again, then 3putted for a snowman.
I know in such situations that you have to keep the poodle on the leash, if you know
what I mean, so I settled down on the par4 #9, hit another tight draw bullet down the
right side . . .

that's an uphill shot where you can't see what happens up there, but I was sure it was fine. K-Taak meanwhile blocked another well-hit ball over onto the #1 fairway, we figgered. But we also reckon now that that 4some playing thru there played his ball . . .he asked about it but the "guilty dog" claimed it as his own and scuttled on down the fairway. . . now, in a tournament, that's a pretty-pickle, but
disgusted as he was with his game, K-taak just dropped a ball, then took an x on the hole . . . stableford wise he was done anyway . . . all that searching and confrontation did not make my calculations simple on that 2nd shot . . . that's a very sharp dogleg right that drops 10 or 15 meters in altitude . . . I still had about 160m to the pin, but I was very uncertain what the as-the-crow-flies meterage was,
especially downhill, especially since I couldn't see the flag, even tho' there weren't any trees between me and green, it was so far downhill, so I just shankled it left about 75 yds, to where I had a half9 I could bounce in left of the hole about 20ft. Left my par putt 2 inches above the hole, which was oddly satisfying, given the conditions of the green.
Without any ado, we just headed over to #10 . . . I felt like we'd been playing so
slow we would get a penalty, but K-Taak told me how they do it: finish in 5 hours or
DQ! So we were roughly on-time, even tho' we hadn't seen the group ahead of us in 2 hours, but we would almost catchup there on #10, and stay in sight most of the rest of the way.
Now: as K-taak had foretold, #5 and #6 had proved odd holes, but well within the
parameters of what I would arbitrarily call "acceptable design" . . . even Mr Science
had identified #5 as similar to his home course in connecticut and #6 as similar to a
course in AZ . . . and #9 is, too, no matter how it rankled me the first time thru
like that . . . some holes you just have to play more'n once to understand.
But the par5 #10, IMVHO, stretches that concept to the limits of credulity.
Dogleg right but the fairway landing area slopes *hard* right-to-left with a creek hazard running all down that left side. So, I am saying, one or the other, or both in moderation, but to throw a drive that lands in the middle of the fairway all the way left into the hazard is not a fair hole, especially with a big tree on a large knoll -- and out of bounds -- guarding the inside of the dogleg is t-o-o-o-o-o-o-o much! I was in the left rough, but with no look at the green, and hardly a look at the fairway past the 90 degree dogleg, where it goes uphill in 4 tiers, say 20 meters. K-taak was in the hazard, after a good drive, but he could find and play his ball, if only to chop it out a few meters. As it was, I could only chop out of the rough myself, and still couldn't see around the corner. So I hit a high 9 over the corner, then a halfwedge up on the edge of the green. That green is huge, in 2 tiers itself, and set so hard into the hill that looms above it even tho' its 20m above the fairway that the edge I was on was 1.5m above the hole. When I bunted my par shot onto the green with my wedge it still rolled 20 ft past the hole. I tho't it was a good 2putt from there over the aeration. Double bogey. K-taak and our playing partner that day both were on the front of the green. That is a really tough putt up that sharp tier-edge a meter high, both had to repeat it.
In my wordsworthian "calmness of recollection" I can almost see the sense of the par4 #11 to succeed that particular #10 . . . I can't say about czech golfers, who seem a
rather phegmatic lot, but most Texas golfers I know would be fulla red-ass coming to that tee. Which is wrong. Cuz you can't possibly hit more than 6iron there . . . another 90 degree dog-leg right, only 280m or so, out of a chute of trees that means you can *only* hit it straight over the wide creek. So: aching to just wham the foecal matter out of my driver I instead had to smooth a 7iron into the fairway . . . if you can't control your emotions there, you can easily block one right into the trees, top it into the water, or hook the holy bat guano out of a tee-shot ob on #16, like K-taak
did . . . I don't remember ever seeing OB between two holes on a course, but here it is. His 3rd shot was just fine, at the top of that fairway landing area. I was in the middle, but in a divot. I hit the finest fairway shot of my life then, the divot looked like the hair on a friar monk. It came out of there in a funky low fade, but left of the green that sits on the hill like a piece of cake, so my ball rolled up on the left side of the green, *below* the pin on the right, with that cake-action I'm trying to describe to you. I tho't it must be flat, an optical illusion that that putt could be uphill, but the 3putt convinced me otherwise, it *was* uphill. It was only walking to the tee that I realized that green had not been aerated. That did't make the 3putt any sweeter.
So in the same manner of forensic autopsy, I can see the sense of the next hole, the
par4 #12 . . . sometimes, most times, you're just going to have steam coming out of
your ears from frustration with #10 & #11 . . . and that tee for #12 is *deep* in the

woods, with tree limbs hanging over the flight path in a very intrusive way . . . another 90 degree dogleg right, uphill, too, with dense woods on the right especially and the hill looming over it all, too, adding to the gloom. It's another short hole, so I *guess* you could just punch a midiron out there, straightforwardly, without messing with the trees, but if you're pumped up & aggro, that may not occur to you . . . I hadda hit a thin 7wood fade under the trees to fight the cant of the dogleg which goes right-to-left, hard, again, like #10 . . . man that is irritating . . . I have
designed such holes in my JN6 video game, occasionally*, but as a steady diet, hard-to-take. As it was, a perfect shot. . . left just a full SW to the green. K'taak was where one would expect to be, on the far left side of the dogleg, at the bottom of the hill, near the creek again, looking uphill 10 or 12 meters, with no view of the pin on the back of the green. Well, if you're a first timer, and don't know what to do, what would you do, but block it right of the green into the tall rough, so that's what he did. Even with his short game, there was no way he could get up-and-down from there, or even up-up-and-down . . . 8^/ . . . When I climbed the hill to the green, I saw what I hoped for, my ball 20 ft from the green and no aeration . . .a simple 2putt, but it felt like the Iditarod to me, my putting had been so shaky. First par since #3.

"Well, I give up," said K-taak, "I'm just going to have fun now."
I was *already* having fun . . . I knew that stretch of holes was like amen corner . .
. something to survive, rather than to prevail, if you know what I mean. And when I
looked at this wide-open downhill par4 #13, I was licking my chops . . . I made sure I
staid behind the ball, but ripped it for all I was worth, right down the middle . . my
heart fell a little when the I realized it was steeper right-to-left than I'd tho't
but my ball stopped in the fairway on the inside of the dogleg. Position A. K-Taak
stepped up, without his usual pre-amble and decavitated a 3wood just 10m short of my ball.
"Well!" I queried him, "was THAT fun?"
"Oh!" he said, momentarily puzzled followed by a huge grin, "It *WAS* fun!"
He blocked his approach right, which he said wasn't as much fun, but it was so right
that it avoided the creek running across the fairway in front of the green. I figgered
it was right where he wanted it, for a pitch onto the green and a 1putt, but he was
unable to be so sanguine this day. He shortarmed his pitch into the bunker, then
outpast the pin, then 2putts for a double-bogey . . .it's just hard to be happy with a
double-bogey, no matter what. I OTOH rifled a 6iron right over the pin on the 2nd hop after a considerable amount of cal'clating, meters-to-yards, wind-to-elevation, etc .
. . I was on the fringe, but within 15ft, and made a good run at it for a tap-in
Ok. So you've held your water for 3 holes, then let it out on the last hole, so what
you face at #14 is a driveable par4. . . There's OB left and hazard all down the right

side, so the risk/reward didn't look good to me, especially the 1st time over the hurdles, but I figgered a 7wood wouldn't hurt me, made the good smooth swing with it, and hit that pro-trajectory shot I wish was there all the time . . . went about 175 or 180M, which I puzzled over till I realized the wind was against us -- if I'd hit a 5wood it would have been on the green, and looking at it, there's plenty of room down there by the green, too . . . some awkward lies to be had from the odd-mounds guarding the left front of the green, but it can't be any worse than trying to pitch over those mounds from the fairway . . . my ball landed on the back of the mounds and bounced hard to the other side of the green . . . a reasonable 2putt from there without the aeration, which I did. K-taak had so much fun driving his 3wood that it ran out thru the back of the dogleg into the tall grass, we did find it, but he was screwed for the
hole, just hacking it out and then hacking it onto the green for a couple of putts.
The par3 #15 is a nuthin hole, but like #8 at Motol, you wanna miss right so that it
will kick onto the green, rather than left which is water. So mine kicked back on the
green, not that good a shot with an 8iron, I admit, but on the back of the green. K-
taaks was even better, but he was so rattled now, a 2putt would've been a miracle. I
actually 3putted myself, from 50 ft. Rats.
The par5 #16 is pretty inviting, except for the a-fore-mentioned OB shared with #11 .
. . I think you have to go ahead and say that this is poor design . . . Jeebus . . .
buy another 10 acres and put a line of trees between the two holes, swing #16 off to
the right there, up the slope a little bit, and all that goes away! Doedn't matter to
me . . . I just hammered my trademark (I wish) tight draw down the right side of the
fairway . . . K-taak was off down the left side, not OB, but not strong nor long . .
.I think he was back in postion to go for the green in regulation, but offline in his
approach, up-up-and-down for another double-bogey.
From my position-A, I struggled with club-selection . . . I could have just laid up
with a 5iron, but since I live for Eagles (brave words for someone with no birdies in
the Cseke Republicky) I wanted to go for it . . . my calculus came up with 5wood, but
behind the green looke D-E-A-D from water? and woods, so I took 7wood, even tho' the front of the green was guarded by a hairy looking deep bunker. Hit a almost thin high fade that one-hopped into the bunker. I could live with it, I tho't, for the chance.
Splashed out kinda short, but still 2putted for par. So OK!

The par4 #17 is another nasty looking mess . . . the fairway slopes right-to-left, down to the creek/hazard, and the tee even kinda faces that way. On the right crowding the landing area is a bio-area. I took 3wood as a compromise, thinking I would go away from the bio area, but not into the creek, but I blocked it again, straight into the bio area. So did K-Taak. A quick consultation of the local rules informed us this was a free drop out, rather than a penalty, so we walked up there to do that . . . I figgered 8iron and hit what I tho't would be great, but it wound up on the cusp of a
bunker on the right side of the green. .. not bad, but I bogeyed from there. K-Taak buried another in the biozone, then lobbed an 8iron onto the back of the green, for a
3putt double-bogey . . . since he'd hit 2 solid shots, he was mostly content by this point.

The par3 #18 is an awesome shaped green, meaning figger-8, pardon the cseske pun . . . 8^) . . . it was also the host of the closest to the pin contest . . .
"when was the longest drive?" I complained.
"On #2," said our playing partner. "Well I didn't see it," I said, "I hammered my drive on that hole, I mighta won!"
"No," he consoled me, "it was just in front of your ball."
"Oh, that explains it!" I said, "I was just looking behind me!" . . . 8^D . . .
I stepped up meaning to hit a half-9, but halfway in my backswing, I decided to go
whole-hog . . . sometimes those mid-course corrections are ok, and I'm going to do them anyway, so . . . turns out it was right this time . . . 48cm from the cup as
measured by our playing partner, who whipped a carpenter's measure out of his bag. I never seen that before. This was the second tournament for this 54-handicapper, and he's got a tape-measure in his bag . . . sometimes I wonder, and Sometimes, I know . . . 8^D . . . 2nd nearest was 301cm.

Amazing. It was kind of an intimidating shot, water all around the 8-shaped green, but not so far that 60 golfers couldn't do better than 301cm. K-taak held his breath and his camera as I lined up the birdie putt. I was pretty sure I couldn't miss, but I'd been pretty sure on #1, too . . . 8^D. . . but

anyway, I made it, for my first birdie in the Czech Republick. My prize for closest-
to-the-pin was a 6pack of Pilsner Urquell. I came in 4th in the B-flight, by 1 stableford point, to a bunch of 30+handicappers. Would've placed in the a-flight,
dangit, and gotten one of those choice trophys.

So, on the back 9, I would have to add #10, 11, 12, 14, & 16 to the questionable design list . . . as I say . . . I sorta see the sense of it, I just don't like the sense of it. K-Taak complained about the condition of the course all day, but I didn't think it was too bad . . . I like a few rough edges rather than the over-manicured appearance . . . course he's only been playing posh courses for a year or so, and I grew up on west-texas courses where we played winter-rules all year long . . . 8^D . . . but this layout *IS* @#%$@#$ed. But familiarity would breed, um, competence, I think . . . and maybe a little ennui as one realized the shot limitations available for choice . . . the shot values are maybe a little screwy, but within the range, as I say. A 3 on the Kokopelli Standard.
And they lowered my handicap to 17, same as Arizona . . .

Thursday, August 20, 2009

new handicap

So :

By virtue of last week’s tournament,

came in 3rd in the B-flight with a bunch of 3putts . . .

My cajolery, and K-Taak’s translation of same,

And 100Kc bribe to the Head Pro at Golf Club Praha . . . .


Look out A-Flight here I come!


 Overení HCP: MATTHEWS David e.


CMR - Czech Golf Consulting

Členské číslo:





Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Miss-te-teetsah – K-taak says its hard to pronounce even for Czechs.

6201M, Par 72, Slope 134

As we zoomed past Cerny Most, the last stop on the Yellow Line, I asked, “Where in Blazes is this place?” Cerny Most being the edge-of-the-world as far as I am concerned . . . .

“It is on the Parry-Fairy of Praha . . . ” K-taak started to explain . . .

“Wait a minute” I interrupted, “pull over, I gotta hold up a bank for some cash!”

He whipped over into a buslane in a cloud of blue smoke and parked -- I jumped out to hold up a cash machine. It was my bank, Ceska Sportelna . . . they show no golfers, but hockey players, sport-wise, in the ads, but I bank with them anyway. I dashed back to the car with my cash . . .

“what is parry-fairy?”

“Like the edge . . . “ k-taak starts again . . .

hoo-hoo-hoo-hooooooooo. Periphery. Every single Czech pities my pathetic attempts at literacy, but Parry-fairy! I’m such a word person. I will use parry-fairy from now on . . . 8^D . . .

We were gonna play Alex Cjelka’s course design, The Prague City Golf Club, but Vlasti, the venerable captain of the Company Golf League said, “I have a coupon for free golf at Mstitice. Let’s play there instead.” Well, it’s hard to turn down such an offer, so we didn’t.

“This is the best club in the Czech Republic,” said Vlasti, as we checked in at the pro shop. “See, the scorecard they give you shows your handicap, your handicap on each hole, the pin-position, printed by computer.” I’d never seen that before, except for a tournament, but they do it all the time. D-a-a-a-a-a-n-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g. That IS service . . . 8^D . . .

The clubhouse somehow manages to be Rustic & Modern all at the same time . . . beautiful & comfortable, except for this Golf Punk thing – I guess it’s just me . . . they were setting up for a wedding reception in the clubhouse before we teed off . . . I allus have mixed regard for such a thing . . . I mean, IF the happy couple is golfers and they want to celebrate, jeebus, it’s hard to deny ‘em, but if they’re just interlopers looking for a bucolic location, I often feel like the course is giving short shrift to the golfers for the almighty Korruni – f’r’instance, they didn’t have Krusovice beer on draft because the wedding only wanted Pilsner Urquel . . . oh, fine!

Anyway, at the appointed hour, we strolled up to the first tee and like Stout Cortez with eagle eyes surveyed the landscape . . . At this point I would say Mstitice is an inland links layout . . . no trees and very little water really in play . . . lots of uneven lies and dynamic altitude changes, but over a rolling landscape, rather than the mountain-goat range like the Prague Golf Club at Motol.

So from the first tee, you can’t see dingus . . . from the Hole Picture by the tee and Vlasti’s description we knew to hit straight away to a big wide fairway . . . I subconsciously took 5% off to make sure I got a good lick, and tho’t I’d driven the green, but I came up 40 yds short. Pin was on the front of the green so I lobbed a half-wedge short of the green, but it bounced hard and rolled 25 ft past the pin . . . it’s one of those dang greens that fall away from the fairway . . . so nuthin’ would do but I 3jack it from there . . . all I did was practice putting, and feel real-good about my speed control, but that all went away right away. Everybody had a 5 there. Easy hole, but I shudda chipped instead of pitched, but who would know, first time around? Not me.

From the second tee, you can see dingus, but it’s kinda intimidating . . . not as wide open . . . elevated tee, but just so you can see the trouble . . . like on the right, there: they call them bio-areas so, if you go in, you have a lost ball situation. On the left is some nasty hay you won’t never find your ball in. . . none of that trouble me . . . I just figgerd to hammer my drive straight at the hole to avoid that ubiquitously unnecessary tree in the middle of the Czech fairway, but I came up short . . . it’s all further than it looks . . . into the rough on the inside of the small dogleg-right. Nothin’ wrong with that shot, but on my second, that rough turned the club over on me, pulling the ball left, pin high in to a big pot bunker. Heavy sand, too. Took 2 to get out, then putted twice for my 6. Shoot.

On the par5 #3 I started getting that feeling of agoraphobia – dizziness from too much open space, like I got at first when I moved from East Texas to Arizona . . . overswung all the time from a feeling of dangerouslessness that is not real, and so here, too: it looks wide-open, but the rough is treacherous and you need to challenge those bunkers on the inside of the dogleg, so you don’t wind up where I did . . . now, K-taak takes these pictures, tho’ I told him I don’t wanna be in no pictures, especially those showin’ my odd form . . .

it looks like I’m gonna hit a weak slice over in the right rough, and as it turns out, that IS what I did, but that aint what I normally do.

Then that ball was sitting down in a very cuppy lie, so that when I hit at it, I bellied it, and it just popped straight up into the air, went about 40 yds, still in the rough . . . so on my 3rd, I didn’t want to go in the water hazard up by the green – and Vlasti’d already described his strategy on this hole for a one-putt par -- so I took a 6iron instead of the 5 again, turned it over in the tall grass so that it went into the bunker on the inside of the 2nd dogleg. Tried to hit a 7iron over the giant lip of that bunker, and barely got out . . . which is where K-taak was kind enough to come over and take another picture to show the view of my 5th shot. I hit an 8iron onto the right fringe, but on the wrong level, but somehow I managed a 2putt double bogey.

Well, I’m frumpled now. 3putt bogey on #1 because it sloped away from the fairway, Doublebogey on #2 because I jerked left into a pot bunker, and now another double bogey on #3, from bad shots & bad strategy. I resolved to knuckle down. Always a good sign. . . *^D . . .

But on the par4 #4 I smoothed a smart drive right at the proper electrical tower, cleverly avoiding the bunkers that trapped K-taak & Vlasti on the left inside of the dogleg. This was another case, tho’, where I had driven an extra 50 yards to no purpose . . . I wasn’t any closer to the hole than they were . . .8^/ . . . They got out alright, up by the green, then I jerked left into a big bunker again . . . when I got up there it was one of those sumbitch’n lies where your feet are out of the trap but the ball is in and you have to lean over the ball or put your feet in the bunker and try to armswing close to the body. I chose the 2nd notion, and promptly bladed the ball over the green. . . pitched back and 2putted for another double bogey . . . so much for knuckling down!

It was good that we could wait on the group in front of us for the par4 #5, as I sought guidance from Vlasti . . . that fairway is awfully, artfully concealed . . . “Not on the left where that guy is, he’s just out of the bunker, and not on the right where that guy is, he’s in the rough. Just in the middle.” Well sure, if you can, that’s where you want, in the middle . . . 8^) . . . So I hit it there. . . . one of those days where I was driving off the tee perfectly and still not scoring – ulcerating, if you know what I mean. K-taak wound up over on the left side of the fairway, near my ball, and we talked about the strategy on the hole. We agreed to hit our balls right away from the bunker guarding the left side of the green & the pin. We both wound up just where we had aimed, but that turned out to be a very tough 2putt—or as we made it, 3putts. I don’t know if I played this course more, would I adjust to the greens or are they so tuff that it would be a perpetual struggle? Good question. Good Course.

The par4 #6 is a good hole, but not necessarily memorable . . .

K-taak hadda remind me what happened . . . I hit a good drive down the right side, but K-taak blocked out into the #3 fairway. . . he got back into play on our fairway then I hit what I tho't was a good shot but came up short: into the wind, uphill, too much algebra to calculate the right distance from meters to yardage. . . I'm bound to adjust someday, just not yet . . . this was not one of those days where my shortgame could rescue me from such faux pas, either . . . so tap-in bogey, while K-taak took a double bogey from his inexcreble putting . . . never seen anyone else lipout so many as him, from long and short distances.

The par5 #7 #1handicap hole didn't seem so much a chore, I just confidently hit my drive over all the bunkers in the landing area, then kinda pinhooked a 5wood up the hill towards the green -- the kinda shot I always say "but laddie, that's the way we do it in Scotland!" But I left my wedge approach short -- again -- and bladed my chip over onto the opposite fringe . . . an entirely makeable putt, about 15 ft, but the ball just wound up 2 inches above the hole, never made a move left-to-right, like I tho't it ought to.

The par3 #8 looks very chancy from the elevated tee, from that giant bunker that makes it into an island green. It’s very large, but the back 1/3 slopes away from the tee again, something I didn’t notice until my ball landed, then rolled out of site. I threw down my club in disgust and angst . . . these greens are so hard, in keeping with the links-style that having an island green that slopes away from the tee is just plain unfair . . . 8^0 . . . I tho’t my ball had rolled off the back, but it hung up in the fringe, leaving me a makeable texas wedge . . . I didn’t make it of course, but that was my first par . . . finally . . .

The par4 #9 is a blasted blind tee shot . . .
Vlasti gave us comfort that it was straight away . . . if one can hit it reasonably straight . . . so easy tee shot except that its blind and uphill and against the wind . . . but the green is thin and long, guarded by traps and water . . . . I had an half-8iron left, hit a knockdown fade that rolled right by the hole, 15 ft past . . . din’t make the birdie. . .

#10 seems like a refreshing change from the front 9 . . . a downhill par 4 . . . I was so delirious from finally parring a couple of holes, I teed off from the white tees in back, instead of the yellow . . . hit a low line drive straight at the green I was sure would be dead in the trees that protect the green and the inside of the 90 degree dogleg – but the ball was in the fairway on an upslope . . . I mighta coulda flopped it over the trees, but I probably would have gone for the #17 green next to it by mistake . . . My playing partners insisted I hit again from the proper tees, with no penalty . . . 8^) . . . now I hit a perfect 7wood down the middle of the fairway, out of sight. Vlasti was shorter and righter; K-taak was lefter and longer. Vlasti could not see the green from his position . . . this is another semi-unfair hole design . . . there’s only a section of fair the size of a medium-sized green to land in with a look at the green . . . you “could” go longer, or lefter into the rough and uneven lie, but peeee-ewwwwwww.

As it is, that green is 4 tiers steeply sloped back towards you, which is so shockingly different from the front9 that it leads to misjudgments – not to mention that there’s no exact meterages available . . . I eyeballed it and hit a good shot, short to the front of the green, two tiers too low. K-taak & Vlasti were both in the trees that crowd the green on the right. I 4putted for a double bogey . . . K-taak 2putted after taking 4 to actually get on the green . . . we disagreed which was more disgusting . . . 8^) . . .

#11 is another hole I was not crazy about . . . the drive is all downhill, but to a first timer it looks very narrow, with trash all down the left side and a gas-plant of some sort crowding into the inside of the dogleg right . . . I mean, you want to go straight off the tee, and even a little right, but it is so d-e-a-d over there it preys on a boy’s mind . . . and not to mention I had a little extra red-ass on my tee ball after that 4putt . . . long story short, everybody wound up in the left rough. Vlasti & K-taak hacked out of the long grass but I finally caught a break and found a bald knob, where I could get a club on the ball . . . course I had no idea where to go from there. . . I mean, rightish, but there were small trees and a gully of some sort all the way across the fairway . . . without a detail yardage book, or GPS, it was just a guessing game. I finally settled on a smooth 5iron, and that was the right club . . . maybe that IS the way to play that hole . . . left then middle, then a 9iron up the hill . . . that green is something else too, with a shelf on the top part of the green the size of an apartment terrace, where our pin was located, then steep slopes radiating all over the green. . . K-taak had a short pitch for his 4th shot, but he had to get over the corner of a big bunker, then stop it on that shelf . . . his short game is awesome, but that would have been a pro-shot with plenty of mustard-spin on it . . . so he wound up at the bottom of the green in the fringe, from where it took 2 putts to get back up on the shelf, and 2 putts to get in. I got up on the shelf in 1, with a 40 ft approach that broke 10 ft sideways, but I missed the 4 footer for par. Maybe that hole grows on you if you play it more than once, but it seemed gimmicky to me, as did #10.

#12 is an island green with a tiny moat. . .

that is, if you hit a terrible shot, you’re still on dry land, but if you hit a mediocre shot, you’re in the water . . . we had a fierce, gusty crosswind that had me back off twice before I hit . . . a thin 7iron that landed just on the green and rolled 25 ft behind the pin . . . dang these greens are hard, but at least this one was canted towards us instead of away. K-Taak hit a super shot to the middle of the green and he had a 30 ft sidehill putt that woulda hairlipped Ben Crenshaw. 3putt. I had an easy 2putt, another missed birdie.

The par4 #13 still befuddles me in recollection . . . I don’t know why it went so wrong . . . I wasn’t frustrated yet, was even over-confident in my driving, but I got over the top of this tee ball and pull hooked it into the hay on the left . . . I really hadn’t been in the hay before . . . I had no idea what is was like . . . it’s like british open rough, not mere US open rough . . . On Vlasti’s recommendation, I hit a provisional, a pop up short in the fairway, but I was still thinking I would find my ball. Didn’t tho’, and looked for it longer than I normally would, cuz I couldn’t believe I couldn’t find it . . .finally gave up and trudged back to my 2nd ball, and promptly hooked another into the hay. . . K-taak found that one for me, somehow, and by hacking it like a wheat harvest I was able to get up on the green in only 3 more, with 2 putts for a 9.

Day definitely had a red-tint to it then. That’s a long uphill par 4, but there ought to have been plenty of room on the right – no reason to go left there, twice . . .

So on the par5 #14, Vlasti suggested I could cut the corner over the wheat field, I was amenable. Why Not? Why not is because that inside corner is full of that hay, even if you get over the actual wheat field, not to mention those two deep bunkers . . . and instead of going for the green in two, I was just trying to hack it out . . . 2 balls and 4 strokes later I finally got back into the fairway under the green . . . I skipped a ball up onto the elevated green with a chance to salvage a double bogey, but I three putted from 20 ft, instead.

Meanwhile K-taak was wandering a different path thru the same travail, but he stepped on a hole coverd by the tall grass and wrenched his ankle . . . he tried to hit another shot but his weight transfer was totally dead. We were walking too, not riding, so I worried our round was over, but he manfully intended to walk us in . . .

The thing about Red-Ass, is it can work for you or against you . . .

I now coulda bottled the stuff like a coca-cola factory, and unloaded my tee shot on the par4 #15 deep, deep, deep, over the bunker in the corner, thru the rough, into the fairway. . . that’s a downhill shot, but you can’t tell from the picture how steep back up hill that green is . . . I only had a halfwedge, that I hit pin-high right of the pin . . . not really that good a shot. Vlasti hit a hybrid from much further back in the fairway very right of the green, but he pitched on and two-putted to save his bogey, whilst I tried a texas wedge for the 9th time this day without any success, I just hockey-sticked the ball to the hole for a double-bogey.

So, on the short uphill par3 #16, I hit a half9 to the middle of the green with only a modicum of interest . . . K-Taak was hobbling bad here, especially climbing the hill. He’d tried to hit a tee shot and just blocked it way right . . . that’s his tendency anyway, and that ankle was not helping. Since I was 18 ft away, and I still don’t have a birdie in the Czech Republic, I tho’t I’d concentrate on it, but it stopped 2 inches left. Rats . . .

You know, on the front9, the holes I remember all seemed to be downhill with greens going away from me, but on the back9, they seem to be uphill with greens sloping severely into me . . . I guess you’d have to regard that as a cogent variation, rather than a foolish inconsistency, but its murder on a first-timer, according to me. . . 8^) . . .

A marshall showed up at this opportune moment and Vlasti got him to take K-Taak back to the clubhouse in his cart . . . K-taak didn’t want to go, but he just had to . . .

On the par4 #17, its clear to me to avoid the inside of the dogleg left. . . there’s just too much trouble over there, but my subconscious had taken over cuz the rest of me was too distracted, and I hammered a pull over the traps . . . or around the traps, I’m not sure, I saw it bouncing but I can’t say that it wasn’t tip-toeing between the bunkers . . . at any rate, it wound up in the middle of the fairway, 90m from the front of the green . . . an awesome drive, but my wedge came up short to the front of the green, leaving me 50ft downhill from the pin . . . when my birdieputt wound up 15 ft above the hole, I hastily 3 putted from there, indifferent.

The par4#18 looks like #9, but I hooked my tee shot into the bio-area . . . with as little fuss as possible, I dropped a ball up there, and hit a knockdown 7iron onto the green, and 2putted for a virtual par – double bogey to you . . .

Did not make one single putt all day long. 7 missed-birdies.

Great Course, but I hate the electric wires going everywhichway, aesthetically. At least 2 of those holes are borderline unfair, #10 & 11. With fairways this wide, it’s hard to complain about the rough, but man I hate that hay . . . it’s like water it’s so penal . . . most of the time you can’t find your ball in there . . . for pros with spotters, it’s ok, but for a course where you have to find your own ball, it really takes away half the hole options. . . . you just cannot go in there, it’s an instant double bogey. The layout is great in the way it takes advantage of the rolling terrain, and although there are tight places where the fairways rub against each other, it never gave me the feeling of peril from errant shots . . .

Definitely a 2 on the Kokopelli Standard.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mstetice Miscellany

I am just a sucker for Primitive / Outsider Art, but only if it is about golf . . .
This is one of 2 or 3 Rest Stops on Mstetice . . . very Rustic -- in the nicest sort of way -- and very clean and comfortable . . . first class . . .
can we say the same about this whole GolfPunk Motif everpresent everywhere at Mstetice . . . it must go beyond cultural, into age-gap . . . K-taak said I was missing the point: "Punk is still cool! I am still Punk!"
"Well," I ruminated to myself, "I guess I'm just still an old hippy, so mebbe so . . . "

Thursday, August 6, 2009


2750m, Par 36

As I told Kvjetaak, as he apologized for the 18th time for not being able to find the entrance to the golf course, sometimes it’s easier, and more fun, to make a hatchet job than to make a favorable review of a good golf course . . . their signage just absolutely sucks by its absence, both going to the golf course, and on the golf course . . . everyone almost plays #8 after #5, because the tee is right there by the green, and there is no sign to direct you over to #6.

What a mosquito-infested goat-track this is . . . oh . . . it doesn’t look so bad, but it’s short and narrow and patchy . . . but instead of taking advantage of the bucolic setting next to the Vltava River, the course is nestled between train tracks, tramways, freeways, and the river . . . with horrible, desperate looking decrepit motels and truck stops looking over the course . . . not to mention the constant parade of bikers, in-liners, and walkers lining the pathways around the golf course . . . it’s just near The Beach, and the site of so much nubile flesh is likely to make me hit a hard hook as anything else, if you know what I mean . . .

They charge for parking here, since their main business is a driving range, 10Kc an hour, but we found that out only after parking on the other side of the driving range and hoofing it in the 400m . . .

On the par4 #1, I just hammered my drive down the left side . . . Kvjetaak couldn’t believe how far it was . . . he kept pointing to range balls, “Is that yours?” which I would answer by one-handing them with a wedge into the screen guarding the driving range. . . I tho’t I had 60m+10m=77yds, but it musta been 70+10=88yds, because I came up short, right at the base of a tree guarding the green, in the middle of the fairway . . . I shouldn’t complain, it shouldn’t’ve been an issue, but I mis-calculated by eyeballing the 50m stake . . . no sprinkler head meterages, y’know. . . double bogey

On the par3#2, I clutched up, didn’t put a good swing on, and glanced off the bulkhead of the peninsula green. My 3rd shot went right over the pin & long . . . double-bogey.

On the par5#3, my drive found the left bunker, shudda laid back with the 3 wood . . . too tough to split the fairway bunkers. Foozled out, foozled into the next bunker, too. Hit a tree coming out, caromed across the fairway into the rough. Came out straight over the pin, again, with a flyer, that rolled off the back. Double Bogey.

On the par4#4, my drive perfectly split the fairway, which meant that I was behind the ubiquitous Czech golf course design feature of a tree. . . Kvjetaak hit a 3wood, as he said, with his iron-swing, contrary to the instructions of his golf trainer, and hit a sweet, tight draw to the fat part of the fairway short of the tree I was behind . . . then he hit a strong 7iron to the right corner of the green . . . best 2 shot combo he’s hit while I was watching. I failed to pull off my 7 iron trick shot, low-slice out from under the tree – just foozled, but I hit a wedge dead online, 8 ft below the pin. I missed that par putt, and Kvjetaak 3jacked.

I’m totally bummed cuz I am driving theball like a mofo, but winding up where I can’t score . . . Kvjetaak is not entirely unhappy cuz now he is hitting strong shots instead of weak blocks . . . most of which he can use.

On the par3#5, I pull-drew my 7wood more than I wanted, tho’t it was in the bunker, but it turned out to be pin high on the hump, in the rough . .. I just chunked a pw down off the hump and let the ball roll around the hole, for a two-handed tap-in for par. Kvjetaak hit a spectacular hook solidly off the tee, then blocked an iron short and right, hit his typical adroit pitch shot, but missed the come-backer for double bogey.

On the par4#6, after we’d dealt with not teeing off on #8, I hit a rising quail so perfect we both tho’t it was on the green, but it was just in the rough, on a hanging lie, with a huge bunker between me and the thin green. I had to go long, then 3putted from the back fringe. Kvjetaak blocked his approach into the trap after another super drive. Tho the hairy lip over his ball threatened both his swing and the flight he was able to get the ball past the hole onto the back fringe, for a 3 putt. We were both disgruntled.

So, on the par4#7 we both hooked the holy asparagus out of our shots, trying to circumnavigate this hump that obscures the fairway . . . if you go straight you’ll be in trouble in the trees & rough . . . those trees are still growing, but they’re already growed enough to catch a line-drive . . . turned out I was in a water hazard on #8, while Kvjetaak was just short . . . he hit the kind of low-skipper the pros hit when they put a lot of spin on the ball. I dropped a new ball and came up short of the green, just over the water, from another meterage miscalculation . . . which I attributed to haste because we were in the 8th fairway, with a group on the tee in front of us . . . double bogey for me and a par for kvjetaak after a tough two-putt from 15 feet that broke 3 feet.

On the par5#8, you have to hit from a copse of trees that feel very claustrophobic, or it did the first time we’d been by there, under the impression it was #6 . . . this second time, it was that black with darkness It didn’t matter. . . we were just playing by feel anyway. . . both blocked out into the trees, but over the water hazard onto the #3 fairway. . . hit good shots, but entirely across the #8 fairway . . . played safe 2 shots back into the fairway, but we lost both shots to the green . . . Kvjetaak found two other balls, but I said, I’m done, and anyway we’re as close to the car as we’re going to get, so lets go. . . it was fricken 9:30 anyway, and the mosquitos weren’t losing any enthusiasm . . .

So we didn’t play #9. Don’t care.

Kvjetaak says he has to play Hodlovicky again because he is in a virtual golf tournaj for PRG Courses and still in first place, but I don’t have to go back and I won’t, life is too short, and my time in PRG is bound to be even shorter. . . .