Getting on the green

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

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Hole # 5, Inglewood Golf, Calgary, AB

Hole # 5, par 4, 375 yards

Eagles are glorious birds to watch and if you’re playing Inglewood anytime soon, be sure to bring your camera. Off the tee, #5 looks long. At only 375 yards, a good tee shot will leave you a mid iron into the green. It is quite a narrow fairway but there’s plenty of room on the left in case you hook or pull your tee shot.

It’s better to come in to the green from the right. A slight fade would be perfect with about 150 yards to go. I wanted a smooth swing and a moderate flight. The ball launched up and flew 235 yards with a bit of a tail. My ball ended up in the rough but I had a clear view of the green from where I was standing.

From the right side of the fairway, look up and you will see the eagle nest. In it, you might see the babies with mother eagle tending to them. She is a proud mother and an incredible sight to see. If you’re lucky, she’ll leave her nest and fly circles around so that you can see her wide wingspan.

From off the green, I was looking at the pin just 15 feet from the left fringe. I decided to hit a 7-iron. I was lucky to hit the mound and bounce right. With a greens in regulation, I was looking at a birdie putt. I visualized the path and addressed the ball. I rolled it nicely and with the right speed too. In for a 3 count. Birdie.

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Hole # 12, Inglewood Golf and Curling Club, Calgary, AB

Hole # 12, par 4, White tees, 330 yards

I usually hate teeing off on golf holes that looks like hitting through a tunnel. Hole # 12 at Inglewood Golf is exactly that. From the white tees, you have a little utility house on your left and lots of bushes and shrubs to your right. A little further down, just across the cart part is a row of trees that forms a wall between you and the fairway. It is a dogleg left and to take advantage of the short hole, you have to blast your tee shot up the middle or over the trees.

Kevin, a scratch golfer and member at Inglewood used his new Taylormade RocketBallz 3-wood to hit a beautiful draw left of the trees. It was a pretty good shot as he landed past the barber pole and had less than 100 yards to the green. I hit driver and made it over the trees and onto the fairway. I too, had less than 100 yards to the green. I chose to hit my A wedge but pulled it slightly and ended up left of the green. Kevin would pop it on below the hole. It would be a close birdie for him when his ball would lip out. He settled for a par. I chipped on and settled with a bogey.

Kevin went on to scoring 72 while I came in at 91.

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Hole # 6, Inglewood Golf and Curling Club, Calgary, AB

Hole # 6, par 5, White tees, 548 yards

Hole # 18, Inglewood

Hole # 18, Inglewood

When you walk on a golf course as a single, you don’t get a chance to choose your playing partners. I played with two friends which weren’t friends of mine. Gary and Gord were members of the Inglewood Golf and Curling Club and these guys played fast. Perhaps it’s because of the golf club’s expectations that early morning rounds finish in less than 4 hours. Or the fact they wanted to stay one stroke back from the group ahead. Either reason, we finished our 18-hole round in just 3 hours.

I got off on a bad start and played horribly until hole # 6, a nice par 5 where I think I had redeemed myself. It was fustrating to say the least. My driving game was off. My irons were weak and I had no feel for putting. I probably looked like a hack to these guys. Both Gord and Gary were already on the fairway when I teed up my ball. I wanted this drive to count so I focused in on bringing my club back slowly until I felt the tension on my back. Once I felt it, it was time to unwind. At the top of my backswing, I like to think that it’s my right side that has to bring the club back square to the ball. I powered the clubhead through to impact and the ball went sailing up the middle. It landed about 10 yards longer than Gary’s ball and straight as an arrow.

I wanted to advance my ball to the 150 yard marker so I used my 4-hybrid to do that. The ball sailed straight to the 150 yard stake. Next came my 7-iron, setup to hit a slight slice to get the ball around the tree. It flew but it got caught up in the longer grass in front of the green. I had to use my 58 degree wedge to pop it up and onto the green. I ended up two putting for a bogey.

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Hole # 18, Inglewood Golf Course, Calgary, AB

Hole # 18, par 5, White tees, 487 yards

Some days you can walk on water and other days, you can’t. The last time I played at Inglewood Golf and Curling Club in Calgary, AB, I started my round underwater. I was just not hitting my drives, irons, wedges or putts. Everything went errant, no matter what I did. With days like that, all you want to do is to give up. I knew I had to do something, otherwise I would be posting a 100+ score.

On hole # 9, I inventoried the damage and moved on. I knew if I could go back to the fundamentals, I would give myself a chance. I turned the scorecard over to show a blank card. It was like starting over again. I cleared my mind and reset. I managed to par holes # 10, 13, 14, 15 and 17. I was only 4 over going to the last hole.

Hole # 18 is a long par 5. It’s a nice stretch of fairway from tee box to green. Both Allen and I hit it straight and long and were the only two balls in the fairway. Tom missed the fairway slightly and Wayne went left but with lots of distance. I decided to lay up with my Callaway 4-Hybrid but ended up hitting it thin. I would have 180 yards left to the green with a low hanging branch on my left and a pond with a fountain on my right. I decided to hit my hybrid, start it right (or towards the fountain) and have it draw in. The distance was a bit scary to do that but I figured it was worth the risk. I kept my head down and made a sweeping shot. Unfortunately, the ball took off towards the fountain. It was short but slowly drawing towards the green.  To our amazement, it skimmed the water twice and on the last bounce, it landed pin high on the green. What an amazing GIR! Tom reminded me of my repeat performance on hole # 9 in the last game. He couldn’t believe my ball had so much spin on it. Me too.

I two putted for my sixth par, squeaking under 100 for the round. Mission accomplished.

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Hole # 9, Inglewood Golf and Curling Club, Calgary, AB

Hole # 9, par 5, White tees, 441 yards

Tom driving off on # 9

Tom driving off on # 9

I’ve played Inglewood many times over the years and I had always wanted to take my camera with me because across the river is a nature reserve and many interesting birds frequent there. There are eagles, albatross, hawks, woodpeckers just to name a few. There has been sightings of terns there as well.

Hole # 9 is a nemesis hole for many including me. It is narrow with the river on your left and a row of trees on the right. There’s really no room for an errant drive and you’ll be in jail if you sliced your ball, meaning that you have to contend with all the trees on your second shot. I had played with Tom Wilkinson, a member of the semi-private club here at Inglewood Golf and Curling club, along with his two friends, Allen and Mike. Tom was gracious enough to let me join their social circle and to tee off before the ladies’ league that plays here every Tuesday morning.

Tom was in construction and played with a lot of accounting packages including JD Edwards. You can say, I had a lot in common with Tom so we got along really well. My game went to the back burner as we became social. It was evident early in my round as I started with a par then it went up, one by one until I tripled a par 4. I woke myself up and started bogeying every hole before another par.

On hole # 9, I managed to hook my drive but luckily, it was short of the fence that protected low flying balls from entering the river. Both Allen and Tom’s drive made its way up the fairway. I used a 6-iron to get my ball back into play. From 160 yards, I hit another 6-iron across the pond. Lucky for me, it had so much spin on the ball that it skimmed the water and made it over. Tom couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw my shot. On a second shot, Allan duffed it and was left with another shot over water. Tom made a beautiful swing and advanced his ball a little short of the green. Allan eventually made it into the greenside bunker and was glad to see the round end. Tom chipped on and went for his par. I also chipped on but three putted for a bogey. It was a fun round but  I wished I had scored better.