Hacker Alert: Season 2: Returning to Golf

I always have mixed feelings about my first round of the season. On one hand, I love getting back out on the links. On the other hand, the weather is usually poor, and it takes me a few rounds to get my swing back together.

Fortunately, the "bad weather" issue wasn't a problem this year since I was kicking off my golf year in New Orleans instead of Pittsburgh. I headed out after I got home on a gorgeous sunny and 60 degree day.

The site of the start of my 2010 season? Audubon Golf Club, which is located in Audubon Park right across from Tulane University.

Audubon is a short executive course - par 62, about 4,000 yards altogether. Despite its small size, Audubon offers some tough little par 3s surrounded by bunkers and water and a few long-ish ones too.

Moving on to my game, it was tough. I walked onto the first tee completely cold (as in, didn't hit a ball since last October).

The front nine sucked. Nothing was really working. I was hitting a low slice with my driver, which is pretty uncharacteristic of my normal shot shape. There were the occasional iron shots that hovered a few feet above the ground as they approached the green sprinkled along as well.

Simply put, I definitely wasn't in my comfort zone yet. As I moved along, I got some confidence with my irons and driver, but my wedges and putter never caught up during the round. This week will definitely include some time on the practice green. Not surprisingly, as a generally poor short game player, I tend to lose my touch pretty badly during the winter.

Fortunately, the back nine went fairly well. I needed that. I finished the front 9 on a medium-sized par 4 that stretches along a lake while doglegging to the right. As a venerable Tin Cup, I managed to dump three balls into the water before taking out my 7 iron and laying up on the side.

With that mistake, the back nine was fairly calm with a few pars between series of bogeys. Nothing to write home about, but it could have gone a lot worse.

I want to get out again by next Thursday (probably at Audubon again to emphasize my short game and short to mid irons).

My keys for the week:

1. Get on the putting green and work on lag putting. It was dismal this week, and I need to get my touch back.
2. Go to the driving range and hit a lot of balls to get my feel back. I need to get my timing in order again.
3. Try to identify why I was slicing in the beginning of the round. My shot shape transformed into my usual draw by the end of my round, but I am not entirely sure what changed.

My goal for next time I play Audubon is to finish at 10 over par or less. If I can commit to working on my keys, I think this is realistic progress for me. I suppose we'll see.

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