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Welcome to my blog.  I am documenting my quest to play the top 100 golf courses in the US. Hope you enjoy sharing the journey with me.

Old Sandwich - A Refuge in the Woods

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Old Sandwich is another one of those clubs that I had not heard of prior to preparing to play the Golf Digest 2017-8 Top 100 Courses in America.  It’s in Plymouth, MA.  I’d been to Plymouth once before.  It was in 2008 while we were living in Cambridge, MA and decided to take our kids to spend Thanksgiving at Plimouth Plantation with the Wampanoag.

We saw no signs of a golf course on that trip to Plymouth, but we did visit Plymouth Rock and a replica of the Mayflower II.  This trip to Plymouth was not for site seeing.  It was to play the 82nd course in my quest.  Old Sandwich would be my 10th course in nine days.  Like Quaker Ridge, Kittansett, and The Country Club, I came to Old Sandwich as the result of a chance meeting.

I wrote about my caddie from my home club, Melvin in the blog about Kittansett telling two guys about my quest.  One was Ben who introduced me to John who sponsored me at Kittansett.  The other guy also happened to be named Ben.  This Ben’s path and mine crossed in the parking lot at my club as I was on the way to play a round of golf and he had just completed his round as a guest at my club.

Melvin was telling me about Ben when he came walking through the parking lot.  Ben told me that he was a member at Old Sandwich and based upon his discussion with Melvin, would be very happy to host me there.  We exchanged information and reconnected in late April as I was planning my trip to Boston.

Old Sandwich is located in the trees down a winding road. I was greeted at by Rob as I entered the property on a Thursday afternoon under overcast skies and the threat of rain.  I immediately felt at home in this beautiful and serene setting. It reminded me of Walden Lake where Henry David Thoreau had spent time living deliberately.   The clubhouse is understated from the front, but is a glorious building filled with the warmth of the members and the staff.  The attendants took my clubs and valet parked my car.

I was welcomed into the clubhouse by Steve who showed me around as I awaited Ben’s arrival.  Steve and I talked about my quest and within a few moments the entire staff at the club house was interacting with me to learn about it.  Ben and I were going to grab a quick bite before we headed out to play but didn’t get a chance to because the club staff and I were so engaged in conversations about playing the top 100 golf courses in the country. 

The conversation was helped by a common familiarity with Karen and Dwight Bartlett.  Karen is the current Membership Director at my club in Atlanta and Dwight is the Caddie Master.  They both speak without the need for “r’s”. Karen worked at Old Sandwich and they remembered her fondly.  Jay Wick, the Head Pro has an ongoing friendly rivalry with Dwight regarding the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.  Jay is from Philly and was still basking in the glory of the Eagles’ Super Bowl win over the Patriots.  He asked that I give Dwight a message – “Soar Eagles Soar!” I also enjoyed talking with Susan Campbell and the rest of the Golf Shop staff as I purchased my standard golf cap and ball marker.

Alas, with storm clouds looming Ben was able to pry me from the clubhouse. We headed out to warm up and then play some golf.  After hitting a few golf balls Ben and I headed to the first tee with our caddie Kevin.  Kevin is a very seasoned caddie.  He has worked at The Country Club and Augusta National.  He is one of the few caddies that I’ve met in the Northeast that doesn’t go South to Florida to caddie in the winter.

Ben and I decided to play from the middle tees.  They measure 6415 yards with a rating of 72.3 and a 133 slope.  Ben towered over me on the first tee.  He is only the second playing partner on my quest that I had to look skyward to.  The other was Michael Redd a former NBA Allstar whom I played with at the Golf Club outside Columbus, Ohio.  Ben was no slouch either.  He was an All-American Division III Basketball player at Williams College where he led his team to a Division III Championship.  He was named the MVP.  Now mind you that I learned none of this from Ben.  Ben did mention that he attended Williams and when pressed that he played basketball there.  I learned all the other info from John who sponsored me to play at Kittansett.  John and Ben were once work Colleagues.  I did learn from Ben that his wife played tennis at Williams with Allison Swain the tennis coach at USC.  Some of my previous hosts were associated with athletics as USC.  I continue to be amazed the connections between the people I have met during my quest.  There are numerous links between them and to my past and present life.

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Old Sandwich opens with a 507 yard par five.  The hole like most holes on the course is carved through the trees and flows between sand dunes.  The hole starts with a 150 yard carry over rough and a waste area and continues to a nice wide landing area.  I hit a 240 yard drive to the left part of the fairway.

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While it was a good drive, I was left with an awkward angle.  The fairway narrows significantly beyond the landing zone.  With my position in the fairway, a straight shot would be limited to 140 to 150 yards and bring two bunkers off the right side of the fairway into play along with the right rough.  My second shot clearly called for a draw. Kevin and I discussed the shot.  My choice of shots was a pitching wedge straight at and short of the bunkers or a draw with a longer club.  While draws are my not strength I decided to go with the draw since there was more room to the left.  I hit a perfect draw and laid up to 120 yards from a middle left pin.

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The 27 yard wide and 32 yard deep green is protected by long bunkers along both the left and right sides.  There are trees tight along the left side from the fairway through the green.  With the pin on the left side of the green, there was lots of room on the right. The green also sloped right to left.  Kevin recommended that I ignore the pin and hit the ball to the middle of the green to take advantage of the room on the right and the slope toward the flag.  I did as he suggested.  The ball landed in the middle of the green and rolled toward the hole.  It stopped 35 feet away.

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Kevin remarked that he was glad that I was able to play golf.  He was impressed at the three shots that I hit on the first hole.   He said it would have been awful if I was traveling around the country to play the top 100 courses and was bad at golf. I hoped that he realized that not all my shots would be like the first three I hit!

I didn’t help the situation when I hit my 35-foot putt on the precise line that he instructed me to hit it on.  The ball dropped into the cup to open my round with a birdie.  This early success brought to mind a football game from my high school years.  We were in the bottom of the rankings for Class 3A football in Texas.  We were playing one of the top ranked schools.  They won the toss and elected to kickoff.  We had just two successful plays on that first drive of the game.  The first was a long third down pass for a first down.  The second was another long third down pass for a touchdown.  The Hitchcock Bulldogs had drawn first blood against the Brazosport Exporters.  That was a big mistake.

After the extra point, we kicked off to Brazosport.  They ran the kickoff back for a touchdown.   They kicked off to us and knocked the jock strap off our kickoff returner and separated him from the ball. They recovered.  Their first string offense came on the field for one of the few times they would do so all night.  On the first play the quarterback handed off to all state running back Aaron Jones.  He broke through the line and scored.  I think I still have his helmet imprint tattooed on my chest.  Brazosport had now scored two touchdowns in less than a minute.

They kicked off to us. Our kickoff returner was able to hold on to the ball this time but on the first play of the drew, we threw an interception.  They ran it back for a touchdown. So, a few minutes into the game they were up 21-7 and had run just one offensive play.  Like I did in the blog on my dreadful round at Pikewood National, I will spare you the gory details of the remaining 50 points that they scored.  My lesson from that was don’t poke the bear.  I had poked the bear with a birdie on the first hole of a tough course.  I was concerned that the golf gods would not be pleased.

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The 387 yard par four second hole is the third most difficult hole on the course.   Trees line the 125 yards between the tee and the start of the fairway.  The trees continue along the right side of the fairway, but the left side is open.  The fairway starts narrow but widens as it approaches the landing zone.  There are two bunkers on the left side of the fairway starting at 220 yards from the tee and four in the middle of the fairway at 260 yards out and one just before the fairway starts to bend slightly to the right.

Ben told me to hit my drive right down the middle at the cluster of bunkers in the middle of the fairway.  I again dutifully followed the instructions and hit the ball down the middle.  The ball tailed off to the right just a little as it landed and ended up just right of the center of the fairway. 

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I was left with 149 yards to an uphill green into the wind.  The pin was at the back of the green.  The shot was playing 165 yards when accounting for the wind and the upslope.  All but one of the bunkers on the hole was still between my ball and the hole.  Those four center bunkers that I used for a target, one of the two bunkers off the right side of the fairway that I’d mentioned.  A small but deadly bunker in the middle of the fairway at 100 yards from the pin, two more left side fairway bunkers, one at 80 yards from the pin and the other at 50 yards from it.  There are also two on the left.  I tried to cut a six iron around the bunker that is 50 yards short of the green on the right.  While my ball had the right shot shape, it landed well short of the intended target, the ball landed just short of the green.

I putted from off the green to one foot and tapped in for a par.  I was really in trouble now.  I’d hit several good shots and was one under after two holes.  Even I was starting to think this could be one of those rounds like I had at Monterey Peninsula where I shot what so far was the lowest score on my quest, a 76.

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At 406 yards the third hole is the longest par four on the front nine.  The fairway begins just beyond some dunes off the front of the tee boxes.  It runs almost straight to the green as it rises and falls with the terrain.  A bunker is cut into the right side of the fairway at 240 yards off the tee and one at 100 yards short of the green.  I hit another 240 yard drive to the fairway.  The ball stopped just right of the first of the fairway bunkers on the right leaving 175 to another back pin.

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I again made good contact with the ball, but the back pin was on the upper tier on a green with a false front.  I didn’t get the ball back to the upper tier.  It rolled back off the front of the green.

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I also didn’t hit my chip shot hard enough.  The ball went half up the slope and then rolled back down.

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I hit my par putt past the hole by 8 feet but made the comeback putt for my first bogey of the round.  My old nemesis of dwelling on a missed opportunity immediately jumped in to haunt me.  I was kicking myself for not hitting a longer club on my approach shot.  This is a Coore/Crenshaw course is complete with false fronts on undulating greens.  I hit a good drive and a good approach shot, I just used the wrong club.  These shot lingered as I walked to the fourth tee box.

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The fourth hole is a long par three.  The hole measures 209 yards but it’s downhill so it plays about 15 to 20 yards less than that.  It’s a straightforward hole with a very large green and no hazard between the tee box and the green.  The green is severely undulated with false front.  The green slopes left to right and has two bunkers off the right side and one off the back. 

There was a foursome on the green as we approached the tee box.  They motioned for Ben and me to play through. One of the toughest shots for me to make is one where a group is allowing me play through.  I instinctively speed up my already fast tempo. So now not only am I worried about the lost opportunity on the previous hole, I’m also worried about not holding up the group that was letting us play through.

I took a survey on twitter recently that asked which of three choices was most annoying in a playing partner on the golf course.  The three choices were someone that throws clubs, cheats, or plays very slowly.  As much as I wanted to say cheating, I had to be honest with myself and admit that slow play bothers more. Golf is a game against the course and yourself.  When you cheat, (unless there is a bet, then you are stealing too) you are only cheating yourself.  Slow play impacts everyone behind you on the course.  I once had a guy who was playing very slowly tell me that golf is a game played at its own pace!

On cue I swung too fast and hit my tee shot to the right.  The ball landed well short of the front of the green.

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With the flag on the right front portion of the green a simple chip shot and a putt should have gotten me through the hole.  I wasted the first chip my leaving the ball short of the green.  I tried to get too cute and leave the ball below the flag.  I chipped on past the flag on my second shot and two putted for my first double bogey of the round.  Double bogeys are kryptonite to a scorecard.  Just like that I went from even par to two over.

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A short par four follows the long par three.  The fifth hole is just 307 yards, but it is a hole that requires some thinking to play.   The tee box is at an almost 90 degree angle to the left side of the fairway. There is a ravine which requires a 180 yard carry.  That doesn’t sound bad but realistically you need to carry 200 yards to be safely in the fairway.  This would leave an approach shot of about 115 yards.  You can reduce that by taking on more of the ravine but then you bring the bunkers in play that line almost the full length of the left side of the fairway.  Conscious of my quick tempo on the previous tee shot, I made a deliberate and balanced swing with my three hybrid and hit my tee shot across the ravine to the middle of the fairway.  Kevin had given me a line just right of the first bunker along the left side of the fairway and directly at the pole that marked 100 yards to the middle of the green. My ball landed just 5 feet short of the pole leaving 105 yards to pin.

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I hit a sand wedge right at the flag on my approach shot but left the ball well short leaving a long birdie putt.  I left my birdie putt 5 feet short and then missed the par putt to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. 

I couldn’t get the ball in the cup in three shots from 105 yards away, but the good news is that I was over halfway through the front nine and had made just one bad swing – my tee shot on the fourth hole.

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The sixth hole is the longest hole on the course.  The par five hole measures 534 yards from the middle tees.  It is the first hole on the course that looked intimidating to me off the tee.  The hole plays uphill from the tee box to the fairway. The 170 yards from the tee to the very elevated beginning of the fairway looked more like 250 yards.  As if the elevation change was enough to strike fear, Misters Coore and Crenshaw put a couple of bunkers on the left just short of the start of the fairway.  Now that is just mean.  You just make the fairway only to be foiled by the ball rolling back down the hill and into one of these bunkers.  I avoided that fate by hitting the best drive that I had hit in a very long time.  I hit the ball 270 yards down the middle of the fairway.  That’s 270 yards up hill!  Ok, my ball rolled about 50 yards after landed in the speed slot.

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The second shot is a blind shot.  Kevin told me that the remaining fairway between my ball and the flag was almost trouble free.  There were two bunkers in the left fairway, 70 yards ahead and another one in the middle 200 yards ahead.  With a fairway that was almost 50 yards across, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to reach the green with a driver off the deck.  Unfortunately, the ball didn’t cut as it usually does.  It went straight and caught the bunker on the left that was just 70 yards ahead.

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After surveying the situation, I thought I could still hit a long enough club over the lip and get to the green.  At 180 yards out to the uphill green, I figured I needed a 190 club.  I hit my 5 hybrid.  The ball just clipped the lip of the bunker and kicked right.  It landed 90 yards away in the first cut on the right side of the fairway.

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The remaining 90 yards to the front middle pin was playing 100 yards.  I hit a sand wedge to the left of the flag and gave myself a shot at saving par.

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Kevin provided me with a good read.  I didn’t provide me with a well-executed putt.  I pushed the ball to the right and missed the cup by a foot.  I tapped in for a very disappointing bogey.  As they say, it is not how you drive but how you arrive.  I made a few bad decisions after hitting a great drive on the hole and it cost me.

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The elevation changes on the 365 yard par four seventh hole is much less than that on the sixth hole.  The fairway starts out narrow but widens in the landing zone.  The trees off the right side also appear to get closer to the fairway in the landing zone.  I hit a 3 wood off the tee to the first cut just a few feet off the left side of the fairway leaving 135 yards to back left pin.

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The peninsula green in a sea of sand is downhill from the fairway.  The sea of sand that surrounds it starts at 60 yards from the front of the green, covers the front and continues along the sides to the end of the green.  I hit my pitching wedge fat and pulled the ball.  It landed in the sand short of the green.

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I hit my sand shot to 30 feet right of the flag.  I left my par putt two feet short of the cup and tapped in for another bogey.  After the birdie on the first hole, my round was turning into a round of lost opportunities.  I was driving the ball well but making too many mistakes to capitalize on it.

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The eighth hole is a short par four.  It measures 349 yards.  The hole has two sets of tee boxes separated by a grove of trees.  The hole was set up on this day with the tee boxes to the left of the trees.  The trees between the two sets of tee boxes and trees on the left form a narrow alley between the tee boxes and the fairway.  The fairway is offset to the left of the tee box and makes a dogleg right.  There are 180 yards between the tee and the start of the fairway.  The hole sets up perfectly for my fade, but holes with fairways that are shifted to the left of the tee box usually give me trouble.  I hit a three wood to the middle of the fairway leaving just over 150 yards to the green.

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The pin was set on the back-right portion of the green.  The left to right dogleg in the fairway was still between my ball and the pin.  I hit a fade that started on line with the left side of the green.  I cut it too much and the ball landed in the trees to the right of the green.

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My pitch was in line with the flag but stopped inches from the green.

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I missed my par putt and made yet another bogey.  At this point I had missed just one fairway and that by just a few inches, yet I had made just one birdie and one par.  All five of the bogeys I made were basically tap ins.  Just too many blown opportunities for a good score.

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The front nine ends with the shortest hole on the course.  It is a simple 113 yard par three.  If not the shortest of all holes I’d played on my quest it was certainly close.  When the apron in front of the green is included, you have a L shaped green with a small and large bunker along the left, a larger and small bunker on the right and a very small bunker off the back.  I hit my tee shot 20 feet to the left of the pin.

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I got a little too pumped up thinking about finishing the front nine the same way I started it – with a birdie and juiced my putt to eight feet past the hole.  I then missed the comeback putt and made a bogey on the hole to finish the front nine with a 43.  So many missed opportunities!

 Ben hits his tee shot on the 10th tee.

Ben hits his tee shot on the 10th tee.

The back nine like the front nine opens with a short par five.  The 485 yard tenth hole has a narrow fairway with tight trees from tee to green.  The fairway starts at about 125 yards off the tee and is interrupted 200 yards later by a depression filled with bunkers.  There is a rock in the distance that looks like it’s in the middle of the fairway.  Kevin told me to hit my drive on that line.  I continued my driving proficiency and split the fairway with a 250 yard drive.

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From where I stood with just 235 yards to the pin, I saw nothing but trouble.  There were deep bunkers every.  The ones 50 to 60 yards out that separated the first part of the fairway from the second par of the fairway were not a concern.  The concern was with the three deep bunkers in the middle of the fairway starting at 80 yards from the front of the green.  With all those lost opportunities running through my head including the driver off the deck on the par five sixth hole and the approach shot to the trees on the eighth hole, before Kevin could even suggested it, I decided to lay up.  Kevin suggested I lay up 100 yards.  That would leave me well short of the bunkers and put a sand wedge in my hand.  I hit my nine iron fat, so I was left with 114 yards to the pin rather than 100.

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I hit my gap wedge right at the flag.  I didn’t catch it well, but the ball stayed on line and landed on the front of the green leaving a forty foot putt for a birdie.

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I’d proven that 35 feet was in my wheel house, was forty feet also in my wheel house.  Could I start the back nine with a birdie also?  I hit my putt with the perfect speed but missed the hole by little over a foot left.  I started the back nine with an easy par.

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The 217 yard long par three eleventh hole looked long but benign from the tee box.  It turned out to be anything but benign.  The hole is carved out of the trees in between the 10th and 12th holes.  The green is protected by bunkers along the left land right sides.  I out of my swing and sliced the ball to the cart path to the right of the trees. The golf gods were finally starting to extract their revenge for when I poke the bear by opening my round with a birdie and a par.

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I tried to hit my second shot over the trees and to the green but mishit the ball.  I was fortunate to have the ball fall straight down leaving a clear path to the green.

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I left my pitch just short of the front of the green and two putted from there for my first double bogey since the par three fourth hole.

I’ve said it many times, but I will say it again.  My respect for the ability of professional golfers to concentrate on every shot on every hole for four rounds in a row has increased significantly.  I lost a little of my concentration after the double bogey on the 11th hole.

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The twelfth hole is a 408 yard par four.  The fairway is narrow but two good shots lead to an easy par.  I failed to hit even one good shot on the hole.  It’s a beautiful hole with a fairway that bends slightly from right to left.  The only trouble off the tee other than the trees are a couple of bunkers in and off to the left of the fairway at 210 yards out.  I sliced my tee shot into the trees.

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For a moment my mind harkened back to a shot I hit out of the trees at Medinah with my driver.  I decided against it.  I wasn’t comfortable trying to hit a driver off leaves.  I pitched out to just short of the fairway.  In hindsight I probably could have done better with a driver.

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I left my third shot short of the green, pitched over the green on my fourth shot, chipped on and one putted for a second consecutive double bogey.

Things didn’t get better on the thirteenth hole as I started to recognize that my lack of concentration was likely due to fatigue.  This was my 11th course in 10 days.  The fact that I hadn’t eaten since the night before probably also contributed to my mental and physical fatigue.  Perhaps I should have talked less and grabbed a bit to eat before Ben and I headed out to the course.

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The thirteenth hole is the final par five on the course.  It measures 531 yards from the white tees.  The hole can best be described as a long skinny snake.  It is a hole where you need to hit three shots down the middle of the fairway.  As if a thirty five yard wide fairway lined with tight trees isn’t difficult enough, there are several bunkers along the left and right sides of the fairway thrown in for good measure.  I hit a low drive off the tee that got caught in the rough short of the fairway.

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With over four hundred yards remaining between my ball and the green, I hit my second shot to the fairway leaving 255 yards to the green.

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I hit a good lay up on my third shot but after landing in the fairway, the ball rolled 30 yards and to the left into one of the fairway bunkers.

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My fourth shot missed the green to the left by a few feet.

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I putted from off the green but didn’t get the ball over the ridge between the hole and the left side of the green.  I left a 20-foot putt for bogey.  I missed the putt by inches and tapped in for my third double bogey in a round.  All those tap in bogeys on the front nine weren’t looking so bad now.

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The 351 yard par four fourteenth hole offered a nice respite from the long twelfth and thirteenth holes.  The fairway is narrow like most of the other holes, but the hole is wide open.  Trees don’t come into play on the drive and three are no fairway bunkers. The fairway makes a slight dogleg to the right.  I was comfortable having the ball fade but made a double cross on my swing and pulled the ball way left into the adjacent seventh fairway.

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I laid up on my second shot to the fairway to 70 yards out.

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The fourteenth green plays uphill to an elevated green protected by three bunkers around the front of the green.  I hit a pitch shot in line with the flag, but it rolled to 15 feet past.

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We expected the putt to break to the right, but it stayed left.  I tapped in for a bogey.

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The 157 yard par three fifteenth hole is near the far reaches of the course.  The last three holes take you back toward the clubhouse.  As we approached the tee box I started to get my second wind.  I summoned up every calorie of energy I had so that I could try to finish strong.  I needed to par the last four holes so that I could get to an 85 for the round.

The fifteenth green is infected with a bad case of “the bunkers.”  They are all over the place. There are four off the front including a rather large deep on the right.  There are two small ones separated by a large one on the left.  A fifth bunker is positioned along the left side.   I hit my tee shot right at the flag but left the ball just short of the green.

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I putted from off the green to two feet short of the cup.  I tapped in for my first par since the 10th hole.  I was off to a good start to achieve my goal of parring the last four holes.

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The sixteenth hole is the longest par four on the course.  It measures 460 yards.  It plays uphill from the tee box.  A 200 yard drive gets you past the first set of bunkers off the left and right sides of the fairway.  The next set of fairway bunkers isn’t until 310 yards from the tee box.  This provides a good bunker free zone to drop a drive into.  The trees on the left are tight, the ones are the right are farther back and sparse.  I hit my drive to the left.  The ball rolled into the first to the two fairway bunkers.  That 200 yards I mentioned earlier didn’t account for the fairway being uphill from the tee box.

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I was 260 yards from the middle of the green, but a seven iron was the longest club that Kevin and thought I could safely hit from the bunker.  I hit the ball cleanly, so it easily cleared the lip of the bunker, but I pulled a little.  The ball landed in the left rough 110 yards from the flag.  I hit a sand wedge pin high and eight feet to the right to give myself a chance to save par and keep my hopes alive for closing with four pars.

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I hit a good putt that somehow managed to end up an inch behind the hole without going in.  My hopes of finishing strong were dashed.

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The back nine is a par 35 with three par threes.  The seventeenth hole is the last of the three.  It measures 168 yards.  Like the other par threes, the biggest challenge is the bunkering around the green.  The seventeenth green is more infected than the fifteenth green.  It has six bunkers protecting it.  There are three along the right starting just short of the green, two along the left also starting just short of the green and one off the back left.  I hit my tee shot right at the flag but caught the ball a little fat.  The ball landed just short of the green.  I needed to get up and down to save par.

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I looked up too quickly during my putt and pushed the ball way right leaving me with a twelve-footer for par.

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I hit my par putt right along the edge of the cup.  Again, the ball failed to drop in.  I had to settle for another bogey.

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Ben and I had both played fairly quickly. We approached the eighteenth tee box just three hours after hitting our first tee shots.  As with my other rounds during the week, the forecasted rain never materialized.  Old Sandwich finishes with the second most difficult hole on the course.  The par four 18th hole measures 458 yards from the middle tees, just two yards shorter than the longest par four on the course and twenty-seven yards shorter than the shortest par five.

Reaching the fairway requires a 160 yard carry over rough and a bunker just off the start of the fairway.  The trees off both sides are the fairway are pushed back.  I hit my final drive of the day down the middle of the fairway. 

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Ben crushed his final drive hitting it almost 300 yards to the right side of the fairway.

The fairway ends (there is actually a five foot wide stripe that connects first part of the fairway to the second part of the fairway, but who is going to try to hit a ball to that point?) at about 125 yards from the middle of the green.  I decided to lay up rather than challenge all the bunkers to the right of the fairway and the rather large one to the left that were between my ball and the green.  I hit my lay up a little two far.  The ball landed in that large bunker on the left, forty yards short of the middle of the green.  I had intended to lay up to 50 yards short of the middle of the green.

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I hit my bunker shot to just off the front of the green.

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I two putted to close out my round with a bogey and a disappointing 45 on the back nine.  On a day when I had my best swing, I couldn’t score better than an 88.  It was still a good day.  It was nice to make the loop getting to know Ben and Kevin.

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Following our round Ben and I returned to the clubhouse.  Ben introduced me to Andy Neher, the club President.  He told Andy about my Quest.  Andy asked about the remaining courses.  I told him that I was a little concerned about Shinnecock Hills.   I mentioned that my host had to cancel a week before our scheduled round due a death in the family and even though there were several people working on finding a replacement host, I didn’t yet have a confirmed tee time.  I then told them that I had a “break glass in case of emergency” option that I’d have to use if all else failed.  I told him that if all else failed I would ask Jimmy Dunne to host me.  I had been introduced to Jimmy by a friend.

Andy looked at me with astonishment and asked “what do you mean as a last resort?  Are you trying to play 99 of the top 100 courses or all 100?”  I told him all 100.  He then said he would call Jimmy right then and there to ask him to host me.  I said, “Ok, I will break the glass. No need for you to call him.  I will reach out to my friend who introduced us and ask him to call him.  I’m going leave what happened next as a cliffhanger for a future blog.

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I continued to hang out at the clubhouse talking with Andy Wick, the clubhouse staff, the Pro Shop staff, and a few of the members for another couple of hours.  Everyone I met at Old Sandwich was very warm and friendly and passionate about golf.  If you really love the game, this is one of the best places to get the full golf experience.  In the mist of an intense week of golf, it was great to pause on my journey and just spend time with so many people that love the game.

Essex County Club

The Country Club - "The Greatest Story Ever Told"