Blast From the Past – Driving a 350 Yard Hole

6th-hole-350-yards

It seems winter is conspiring against me, knowing how eager I am to get back out there for the 2014 season and seeing how it’s still freezing out there.  At least most of the snow and ice are gone with a recent couple of days above zero, but come on… last year, we were out of doors (with some ranges, including my facility) by mid-March.

I have nothing, absolutely nothing today, as I can only wait and stew.  Thought I’d dig up a favorite posting or two from my Smash Golf blog… as I said, I’m dying to get back out and start playing golf again….

2009 was the only year I didn’t spend most of my time at the driving range working on swing theory.  That year, I spent very little time working on my swing at all, I hit a few balls into my backyard net, before or after a round.  Usually, I just biked to the course, hit a couple of practice putts and headed for the 1st tee.

It was a glorious spring, summer and fall, and the next year I was on the range making my first video ever, the Smash Golf MCS video.

/preface

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“Driving a 350 Yard Hole”

Originally Posted on the Smash Golf Blog Oct 20, 2009

Well, O.K., I technically didn’t drive the 350 yard 6th hole at my golf course. I hit it right down the middle and the wind was left-to-right. It pushed my ball right of the green, where I ended up nearly in the right side bunker.

The middle of the green is about to the left edge of the picture and there is another bunker just off the back. The ball is about 5 yards past the middle of the green, making it a 355 yard drive, there or about.

6th-hole-350-yards

I took out my Blackberry to take a picture of the ball by the bunker, but Bill said, “Here, let me take one with you in it…”

***

DJ’s Note 2014: This was one of my favorite holes on the course, as it was where I hit my first 350 yard drive earlier that year in June.  It was on a day I hit two 350 yarders, that 6th and on the 12th hole, a straight-away par 5 hole.  Funny enough, I hit that first drive nearly in the same place as in the above picture, about 5 yards shorter, with a power fade up the center.  Fond memories…

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“An Epic Drive Today”

Originally posted October 29, 2009

the-17th-holeI hit a drive today that I can only describe as one of the best drives I’ve hit at my golf course. I hit a drive over the 285 yard 17th hole which is a par-4, but the yardage is deceiving, to say the least.

I had just hit my drive from the tee on the 300 yard par-4 sixteenth hole, into the green front bunker, while Sean Kim and his group were putting out. I saw Sean turn around and look at my ball in the bunker, and we waved to each other.

When I got to the 17th tee, Sean and his group were still waiting to hit. Sean wanted me to go for the green on the 17th, to impress his playing partners who didn’t know me. I was skeptical, because the wind was against and it was only about 10C and the air was heavy and moist. Fall rain weather. Driving that green was a near impossible mission, and I told him.

He wasn’t having it, so I told him to wave me on from the fairway after the group ahead of him had left the green, and I’d take a shot at it, just for him.

Now, this is a hole where you hit your tee shot from the box down about a 5 to 10 foot drop in elevation into the river valley, with the fairway running into the river itself just beyond the 100 yard marker. So a simple shot of 185 yards or so will leave you 100 yards to the green.

Problem is, the green is at the top of the ravine that runs down to the river valley, so you’re hitting your shot up to an elevated green that calls for two extra clubs according to the scorecard. Looking at the picture, you can see people on the tee box in the distance behind my head. To give an idea of how elevated the green is, the tree bare of leaves in the left background is taller than the golden-leafed tree in the centre background.

the-17th-hole

The green sits on the edge of the ravine, so if you’re short by even a yard, you’re rolling back down to the bottom at the river’s edge, and you have a flop shot of roughly thirty feet up to a green, and you can’t see the flag.

If you miss left or right, there are ravine trees that will gobble you up and you won’t find the ball in the muck and foliage. If you go for this green, you’d better hit it straight, high and long.

So, a 285 yard hole that you will not reach unless you can fly a ball that is still 30-40 feet above you at 285 yards, making it easily a shot you need to fly 320 on a level fairway, conservatively. I’m serious- if you know you can’t fly a ball at least 320 yards, you’re not going for this hole, even on a warm summer day with a helping breeze. On a cold, damp day, and into the wind. Do the math, and I didn’t think there was any chance I’d reach it.

But when Sean waved me on from the fairway and I saw the group ahead clearing the green, I took a few practice swings, stepped up to the ball and let fly with a massive blast.

Bill said he knew it was long enough from contact, but I watched it nervously, and the grey skies were such that I couldn’t see if it had cleared the green’s front edge. It was slightly left, and I thought I might have come up just short of the green in the left ravine.

But Bill was emphatic, he said I was over, and when Sean hit his approach from the valley fairway and made his way over the river, across the bridge and up the ravine to the green, he found my ball five yards over the back left. He gave the thumbs-up and I was amazed.

I found my ball’s pitchmark pin-high in the centre-left portion of the green.

Considering the hurting wind and the conditions, that was easily one of my best drives on that hole. It was truly my Epic Drive of the Day.

***

DJ’s Note 2014: This hole was the one on which the “Legend of Davis,” for want of a better phrase, was born on a rainy day in May earlier that year.  I was playing by myself and caught up with a retired gentleman (Ian, who introduced me to his friend Bill, and we probably played 40 rounds together that year, at least) whom I’d met a couple of weeks earlier.

It was pelting rain and we played the rest of the round together.  The rain was easing off and there was only a misty drizzle when we reached the 17th, and I had never tried to hit a drive over the river to that point.  I always played it as a two-shot hole but Ian had seen me hit 5 iron to a 200 yard temporary green the first time we’d played and he egged me to pull the driver out, which I did.

I swung perhaps as hard as I ever had to that point, and nailed a drawing shot that started at the left edge and actually cleared the trees a little left of the green.  When we reached the green minutes later, there was no sign of the ball near the green and I thought I’d caught a branch and lost it in the trees.

Nope – I found the ball in the 18th fairway about twenty yards down, perhaps 30 yards past the green.  Ian nearly swallowed his tongue on the spot when I shouted and held it up where I found it (and no chance of interference, as we were alone and no one was playing ahead of us).

At the end of the round, we shook hands and agreed to play again together soon, and Ian practically ran into the pro shop as I headed for my bike.

The next time I played, I was asked on the 1st tee – “Hey, are you the guy Ian was talking about that hit it over the 17th green?”  And I was asked something along those lines – “you the bomber?” nearly every time I played there and introduced myself to a member I hadn’t yet met.

As I say, memories!

Final Note: I said my 6th hole drive in June was my first 350-yarder, but the initial drive over the 17th had to be every bit as long, if not longer, now that I think of it.  Still, I never measured it off and later couldn’t be sure exactly where I’d found it… at the time, I had no idea how the tale would spread and I was only mildly impressed – I had no idea…

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3 thoughts on “Blast From the Past – Driving a 350 Yard Hole

  1. Peter Allenby

    These old posts are great! Truly inspiring and for those of us on Cape Cod (Massachusetts, USA), a serving of what we will once again have to wait for as yet another winter storm gathers itself for a massive assault on the eastern coast of the Bay State. BREEZE ON! 35 knot winds with gusts to 65 knots, blowing snow cold temps and high tides with storm surges of two to five feet…

    Ahhhh, Nothing like spring in New England!

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Peter, you’re expecting another 6″ tonight, are you not? You have my sympathies, the North-East (or simply the East in Canada) has had a worse time of it than us here in the Toronto area. That’s saying a lot.

      Warm thoughts, my friend! 🙂

      PS -And I’ll find a few more posts from Smash Golf for you, if you like them so much!

      DJ

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