Getting on the green

Blogging about some of the world's best golf holes.

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Hole # 9, Elbow Springs GC, Calgary, AB

Hole # 9, Elbow Course, par 4,

I wasn’t playing well all day. I had too much on my mind, after playing a lousy game at Lakeside Greens in Chestermere the day before. Too much golf does that to you too. Once you have a bad shot, you punish yourself for it. The bad feelings come and stay for a long time so it starts to eat away from your good feelings. After yesterday, I was going to throw in my towel on golf.

Today was a new day, so they say. I was driving better and my irons were crisper too. I wasn’t going to let my putting get away. I know my putter head was jerky all week so I tried to be more patient and make a slower and precise stroke. Our playing partners were a couple that claimed to had not played all season. I guess that removed any expectations of their performance but who cares anyways, I know I didn’t.

On hole # 9 on the Elbow course, I hit a clean tee shot to the left of the elbow. It was a dogleg left with water on the left and right side of the hole. There was a slight chance that my tee shot would find water but I figured I was short and the ball wasn’t curling left when it hit the ground. I would find it in the short stuff but I would have 170 yards to the green over water and some small trees. Honestly, I have not never been at this spot. I would always be on the right side of the fairway and get a clear view of the green. It was interesting on the left side.

I pulled out my 6-iron and decided to aim for the flag. I usually hit my irons with a low trajectory and this one sailed across the water and onto the front of the green. By the time I went up to check, my ball was at the back of the green. It had rolled on and continued past the flag which was located in the front. I should have noticed the red flag but I was more concerned about the carry over water than where the flag was. I was the only one off the green so I decided to putt it. My putt rolled straight for the hole and it dropped when it got there. It was perfect speed and it broke slightly right before dropping into the hole for a birdie. Sweet!

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Hole # 8, Elbow Springs GC, Calgary, AB

Hole # 8, Springs Course, par 4, 335 yards

Elbow Springs

Elbow Springs

Sometimes nothing comes together and you feel like you should have stayed in bed. But here you are on a golf course. When I played Elbow Springs last week, I felt exactly that. My drives were going nowhere, my irons were not hitting the mark and putting felt weird. After playing the Mountain course then to Springs and reaching 17th without a single par (or birdie), I knew it was too late to put in a good round. I think when I play alongside really good players, I tend to fold. The competition is too great and I play with absolutely no confidence.

Hole # 8 on the Springs course is a short par 4 but with water on both sides of the fairway. For some reason, I always drive it left into the trees. From within the pine trees, I would have an obstructed view of the green. It would be a 150 yard shot out of the trees with no chance of sticking it on the green. I tried anyways. My ball sailed up, bounced on and off the green. I would have a horrible chip from the right side of the green. It was hard sticking it close after hitting my 58 degree wedge. ‘

I ended up with a bogey.


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Hole # 2, Elbow Springs GC, Calgary, AB

Hole # 2, par 5, Blue tees, 507 yards

Playing hole # 2 on the Springs course at Elbow Springs GC in Calgary, AB is a treat for the golfer who hits a long straight ball because it’s all risk and reward. For the rest of us, we have to keep it from hooking into the woods on the left and slicing it to the lake on the right. Sand bunkers are placed strategically on the whole right side so that tee shots with a slight fade are safe.

My tee shot was exactly that yesterday when I played Elbow Springs. My playing partner Murray hit a long ball and straight too, so he ended up dab in the middle of the fairway. He was rewarded with a good lie and a good view of the green. I was off the green slightly. Anymore right and I would be digging myself out of the bunker. I felt blessed because it was dry.

With a straight fairway, all I wanted was a solid second shot to get myself a chance for a GIR. Unfortunately, I would duff my second shot with my hybrid. The ball settled on the fairway but 160 yards away. Murray’s drive was somewhere between 230 and 240 yards. He went with his 3-wood and ended up just right of the green. He was easily on the green in regulation after chipping on with his 58-degree Taylormade wedge. I had my troubles with a pulled hook followed by a bad chip. I ended up with a double bogey and Murray was in with a par.


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Hole # 9, Elbow Springs Golf Club, Calgary, AB

Hole # 9, par 5, White tees, 426 yards

It’s been 20 years since Elbow Springs Golf Club has been opened. Happy Anniversary to you. Elbow Springs is a semi-private course located in the Elbow Valley in Calgary and offers 27 holes. Depending on the day and whether you are a member or not, you can play any combination of the three. Twice now, I’ve played Elbow followed by Springs. But that’s not always the case, Mountain followed by Elbow is possible in the morning or before noon sometimes.

They say the Springs layout is a thinking man’s course. It’s tight and it has water everywhere. If you can’t keep it straight then talk to the marshal on getting you relocated because you’re going to lose too many balls or be fustrated throughout. It’s like playing Moorpark Country Club in Moorpark, CA where the fairways are tight and challenging. Bill, an old time member at Elbow Springs told us that he scored a 14 on hole # 9. His wife Aileen who was betting with him for dinner coaxed him for a repeat performance.

I teed off first and it would be the best but last drive of the day. I literally crushed it with my Taylormade Burner Draw driver (10.5 degrees loft). Unfortunately it wasn’t long enough to reach the corner of the elbow so I had to lay up. The green wasn’t visible and I wasn’t going to risk hitting over someone’s yard to get there. Bill was up next and surprisingly, he pulled it to the forward tees. His wife had a good laugh but he wasn’t amused. From the fairway, I took my 7-iron and hit it up to the 100 yard marker. Separating the fairway and green was a pond. There wasn’t much green to play with so I chose a 58 degree wedge to drop it on the green without a lot of roll. Two putts later, I put it in for a par.

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Hole # 9, Elbow Springs, Calgary, AB

Hole # 9, par 5, Blue tees, 473 yards 

We haven’t played Elbow Springs in Calgary, AB for quite some time so when the starter said we were playing the Elbow 9 then the Springs 9, none of it made sense to me. Some guy walked by and said these two 9’s were the hardest of three. Anything called springs means a lot of water and I could only suspect anything elbow means dogleg left or dogleg right.

The two guys that we played with today were Scott and Sparky. Both owned their own businesses, one supplied coffee to corporations and the other was in transportation. They were long hitters so they decided to play the black tees. I wasn’t going to keep up with them so I played the blue tees while my wife played the forward or red tees.

On hole # 9 on the Springs course, they both blasted their tee shot over water that ran on the whole right side. There was a small creek on the left side so keeping it straight was important. When it was my turn, I loaded up and must have looked up when my ball barely skimmed the water. Luckily, it learned how to skip and ended up dry. My second shot was a nicely hit 4-hybrid, straight and long. Unfortunately it went into the bunker. The other three were hitting their second shots from the fairway and decided to lay up around the 150 mark. From the sand, I blasted out with my 9-iron. Scott was up first and he hit a 7-iron from the middle of the fairway. It went up to high and didn’t make it across the pond guarding the green. Sparky ended up at the back of the green.

I was left with a 50 yard pitch shot to the green so I used my sand wedge and knocked it down to 7 feet from the hole. Believe it or not, I was the only one on the green. I single putted and ended my round with a par. It was a great afternoon with great company. If you’re reading this, thanks for a great round.

By the way, be sure to visit the Getting on the Green website for your free Ray Cook putter. Offer valid until May 28th.