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 . . .

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