This afternoon I played Banyan Cay, in West Palm Beach Florida, with my dad.
The course is newly renovated by Jack Nicklaus, an odd layout that was in very nice shape. I had played the course once before the renovation, and it’s an order of magnitude nicer.
My warmup on their grass range, with my Mevo launch monitor, left me a little worried. I was clocking my driver, but struggling with my wedges. I hit around 35 balls. My putting practice was more encouraging.
Sure enough, on the first hole, I hit a reasonable drive, then basically skulled a 7-iron 70 yards or so. After a nice wedge and two putts I walked away with bogey.
On the next hole I made par, thanks to an excellent 40-yard pitch that I hit into the slope and let release to the flag.
The rest of the front nine, I almost exclusively oscilated between par and double. I hit a few more great pitches and a few more head-scratching drives. On eight, my drive went so right that I found myself hitting a blind shot from the practice green, alá Spieth at the Open. I hit a nice 8-iron recovery shot, but I still walked away with double. I had three pars in the nine.
The back nine started well. On the 10th hole, I pured a 6-iron from a messy drive to six feet and rolled in a birdie putt.
The driving didn’t get much better for 11 through 15.
Then, on 15, things changed. I hit a beautiful high draw. Unfortunately, there was water left, and my punished drive flew it, coming to rest across the lake.
The 16th is a short 279-yard par 4 with bunkers on the right and water left. Only an idiot would hit driver, so that’s what I did. I hit a beautiful high draw, and it crawled into the water about 50 yards from the flag. I dropped where it crossed, pitched up, and two-putted for five. I regret nothing.
The 17th is a challenging par 4, and I made bogey.
The par 5 18th is where everything came together. started off with a beautiful driver draw right down the middle of the fairway. From there, I laid up with a well-struck 6-iron, leaving 120. Then things got dicey.
Feeling some wind, I decided to play it safe and hit a nine-iron. I hit it flush, and it flew twenty yards over the green, behind a patch of bushes and trees. I hit a nice wedge through the trees, but didn’t notice the bunker between my ball and the hole, and found the middle of it.
From the bunker I hit a beautiful shot that spun and finished about eight feet from the hole, and I made the putt for bogey.
This hole encapsulated my round. It was by no means perfect, but it had enough well-hit and well-executed shots to feel excited about the progression of my game.
And once again, knowing and trusting my carry numbers (Thanks Mevo!) proved super helpful.
- Drives towards the end.
- Lights-out putting. I had 30 putts. I developed a new routine for speed and aim last week and it paid off.
- 40-60-yard pitches
- Irons/wedges on 18
- Early drives (Fix: Keep honing lesson).
- 6-iron and 7-iron off the tee on par 3s. (Fix: Practice and be confident on the tee. Given where the two bad swings in question took place, I’m guessing this is largely mental)
- 3-wood (Fix: Practice on the range. I’ve been focused on driver. Potentially replace – I have a really old one in the bag).
(Arccos didn’t seem to have this course in its system so I don’t have exact stats on my shots today)