A Dream Realized: My First Under Par Round!!

Posted: June 26, 2014 in Blog/Life, Golf Rounds
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PIC-GOLFI saw a stat once that said less than ½ of 1% of golfers have ever shot under par.  I decided just over a year ago now to really dedicate myself and go on a journey to try and join that elite group and accomplish that dream in my heart.  After a year of consistent practice, full of up and downs, close calls and near misses, I can now say I finally broke through and shot my first regulation under par round with a 68 (-2) at the Vineyard!!  I’m so ecstatic right now guys.  Hard work really does pay off and if you have any dream that you would like to accomplish, even if it seems impossible at times, just keep telling yourself everyday that “it’s possible.”  Even when things are down and times are tough, just that belief that it’s possible can push you through anything.  Thanks to all of you who have followed my blog over this past year and supported me in this pursuit of my dream.  You guys have kept me accountable to keep working hard and to not give up on myself or my dream. Whether you have been here since day one or are just joining my journey right now, thank you for your support.  This is just the first step however, there is so much more to accomplish.  Next step is to shoot under in a tournament and get to the point where I am doing it consistently and get that handicap to zero or better.  I look forward to pushing myself and excited for what’s to come because now I’ve seen it’s truly possible!   Here is a detailed round recap of my round, haven’t done one of these for a while and I just had to for my first under par round of golf…enjoy!

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70

Front 9

Hole 1: 420 Par 4

A very difficult straight away par 4 that always plays into the wind.  #2 handicapped hole, with hazards on both sides.  Lately I’ve been playing an iron off the tee to keep it in and laying it back short of the 150 marker and hitting a mid iron in, but today I decided to hit my 21* Hybrid.   I hit a real solid shot that just ran through the fairway on the right.  Was left with just a PW into the green from about 133 out that finished 25ft above the hole.  Quick downhill putt, but judged the first putt perfect, tap in par. Par

Round (Even)  

Hole 2: 351 Par 4

Short dogleg left with water surrounding the left and right side of fairway and green.  Hit on a 5 iron off the tee, starting it down the left and drew it back into the fairway.  Had 126 left into a slight right to left cross wind.   Hit a solid gap wedge to about 18ft for birdie.  Big breaking putt, missed it and 2 putted for my 4. Par

Round (Even)

Hole 3: 125 Par3

Short par 3, was playing about 118 today, as pin was in the back middle.  Water is in front of green and out of bounds long, a very daunting shot.  Hit a solid sand wedge to center of green, ran my first putt up the hill about 3ft by, but made the comebacker for par. Par

Round (Even)

Hole 4: 404 Par 4

Been hitting 5 wood off this tee lately because there is a big tree down the left side, if I block my tee shot my 5 wood usually keeps me far enough back that I would have enough room to go around or over.  Absolutely bombed a 5 wood today and only had 118 left into the green. 286yard 5 wood…pin was up in front so it was just 95 to front.  I tried to hit my open faced 60* that I’ve been working on, thought it was perfect,but it hit just in the front rough and stopped…2 more feet and it’s a tap in birdie.  Routine chip that I was trying to make, almost did, but ended with a tap in par…solid up and down. Par

Round (E)

Hole 5: 401 Par 4

This hole heads the same way as #1 so it also always plays into the wind, there is a bunker on the right side that I know I will be short of with my 3 wood if I slightly pull my drive.  Hit a solid shot, but pulled it to the right side of fairway…my course management paid off and it stays short of the bunker and in the fairway.  128 yards into the green, but blocked a gap wedge that finished pin high off to the left.  Had a delicate chip that I had to land on a slope and feed it to the hole, but just didn’t hit it hard enough and it came up 10ft short.  Missed the par putt for a disappointing bogey from the fairway and not too difficult of a chip. Bogey

Round (+1)

Hole 6: 152 Par 3

Pin was far right side, sets up perfectly for a nice draw into the hole.  Just hit a PW, I’m usually exactly where the pin is today, so I felt really confident, but hit it slightly off the toe and it just barely stayed out of the hazard short.  Tried to play a bump and run, but took a club less than needed and left it a good 10ft short, missed the putt for back to back bogeys. Bogey

Round (+2)

Hole 7: 295 Par 4

A sharp dog leg right hole, but gives you an angle to drive the green in 1.  Usually about 250-260 to carry the hazard and drive the green.  I know from experience that my 5 wood usually ends up just off the back and that is exactly where it finished today.  Was left with a very difficult chip however, short sided and had to play a short flop shot as the green was running away from me to the flag…just sliced it perfectly popped it up straight up right in front of me landed it in the fringe and it released down  to about 2 ft…made the birdie! Birdie

Round (+1)

Hole 8: 419 Par 4

Similar to #4, this is a narrow driving hole with a big tree to the left side that will block you out.  I’ve been hitting hybrid lately, but I found that if I block it left I’ll reach the bunker and have to play a huge cut out of a bunker, no fun.  So I just hit a 4iron today and actually did block it left, but stayed short of the bunker.  Unfortunately I was still blocked out and had to hit a big 7iron cut around the tree, but I caught the top branches.  It still got through and finished in the fairway about 40yards short of green.  Played a little 40 yard low pitch, hit it crisp, but it spun and stopped after its 2nd bounce instead of releasing a little.  Left with a fast 15ft par putt down the slope that I drained!  Huge save for me. Par

Round (+1)

Hole 9: 503 Par 5

Very reachable par 5, but there is water about 280 out…so just hit a 5 wood to stay short of it, hit a solid shot, but pulled it slightly.  Finished in the rough about 220 out on a downhill lie with a tree and water in front of me.  Played a low big draw 5iron that came off really well and finished just short of green to the right.  Pin was back left so I had a really long chip…debated what club to hit, but I chose a gap wedge, tried to land it about 1/3 onto the green and let it run out, came off perfectly and actually lipped out for eagle!!  Nice tap in birdie to get back to even.  Birdie

Round (E)

Even par 35 on the front 9.  Bad bogeys on 5 and 6, but finished 2 under over my last 3 to get it back to even.  Fairways Hit (FW): 4/7 57% Greens in Regulation (GIR): 5/9 55.5% Up/Downs: 4/6 66% Sand Saves: 0/0 Putts: 14

Back 9

Hole 10: 389 Par 4

Uphill par 4, blind 2nd shot and fairway that slopes right to left…I hit a 5 wood down the right side hoping the slope would take it left, but it had some draw on it and finished in the right rough.  Blind 2nd shot that I had to draw around another big tree about 118 yards, hit a great shot that landed just past the hole and finished about 15ft.  Hit a great putt that just didn’t turn as much left to right as I thought and it stopped inches away.  Solid par on this difficult hole. Par

Round (E)

Hole 11: 457 Par 4

This is a very difficult driving hole where the fairway bottle necks as it heads down a hill.  There is out of bounds left, but room to the right if I pull it.  I decided to hit my first driver of the day and absolutely bombed it over the hill straight and it stayed in the narrow fairway.  Only had 98 yards in, so it was a 359yard drive…hit a nice wedge to about 10ft and was left with a great uphill birdie look on this #3 handicapped hole.  I tugged the putt a hair and missed it just to the right…would have been nice to take advantage of that difficult hole, but par is fine.  Par

Round (E)

Hole 12: 154 Par 3

Another par 3 over water into the wind.  Pin was back right, hit a 9iron slightly off the toe and it finished about 35-40ft below the hole on the green.  Made a great lag putt to about a ft and tapped in for par. Par

Round (E)

Hole 13: 477 Par 4

Another long par 4 that plays downhill…took driver and hit it real solid, but blocked it left into the rough.  Downhill, downwind 2nd shot to a pin that was only 2 paces on over the bunker that guards the front of the green.  A really difficult shot, hit a gap wedge that landed just over the bunker in the rough and hopped up onto the fringe.  Short putt from the fringe about 7ft that started downhill and moved uphill at the end…drained it for a great birdie to move to -1 with 5 to play. Birdie

Round (-1)

Hole 14: 412 Par 4

Water on the left and out of bounds on the right, stuck to my normal plan of 4iron off the tee and hit a pure perfect shot.  Had only a sand wedge into the green, threw a dart in there that landed 2ft above flag, hopped and stopped about 8ft.  Another great look at birdie, slightly uphill right to left putt, but I missed it on the low side, just not enough speed and missed another great opportunity. Par

Round (-1)

Hole 15: 551 Par 5

A long uphill all the way par 5 that was also playing into the wind.  I almost never hit this fairway, but I stepped up and crushed a driver down the pipe.  Was left with 250 left and a rare chance to go for this par 5 in two.  Hit a 3 wood, but I cut it to the left just about pin high.  Had a tricky chip, had to flop it over a bunker from a downhill lie and keep it on the top shelf where the flag was located.  I pulled off a great shot and left it about 7ft away.  Stepped up and made the birdie putt to move to 2-under with just 3 to play!  Birdie

Round (-2)

Hole 16: 453 Par 4

The most difficult hole on the course according to the handicap on the scorecard….a tight uphill tee shot.  I was certainly starting to get a little nervous at this point at the thought of pulling this out, but I recognized it and made sure I only focused on the shot at hand.  Stepped up and crushed a 3 wood down the middle.  Hit a wedge pin high to the center of green.  20ft putt that actually was dead center, but I left it about 3 inches short…would of been nice, but tap in par.  Par

Round (-2)

Hole 17: 157 Par 3

On my even par round last week,  I was 1 under heading into this par 3 17th before blocking it left into the bunker and bogeying.  Pin was in the back today, but was playing as an 8iron again.  I focused, saw myself hitting the shot I wanted to hit, trusted myself and hit the best 8iron I have ever hit under that much pressure.  Just a smooth pure shot right at the flag…I asked the golfing gods for it to “be right” and it stuck right over the flag and stopped 6ft!  A straight in birdie putt to seal it…but I babied it and pushed it slightly.  Come on!! A great chance to be 3 under heading into 18th and seal my first under par round, but I guess par never hurts. Par

Round (-2)

Hole 18: 411 Par 4

Now the real drama begins…the 18th is a beautifully scenic hole heading back down the hill to the clubhouse.  At this time of day, it was also right into the sun and you really couldn’t see your tee shot at all without somebody in your groups help. The group in front was having a lot of trouble and we never really waited all day until #18.  We had to wait what literally felt like forever and I was trying to block out all the thoughts, both positive and negative, that I was on the verge of actually accomplishing my dream.  Tried to stay in the moment and finally it was our time to go.  I hit a 3wood that felt really solid, but my playing partners were saying they saw it slightly right at the fairway bunker, but it should be great.  We got up there and I couldn’t find my ball…we looked all around the bunker, nowhere to be found, I obviously couldn’t see the tee shot because you look directly into the sun so I had to rely on their eyes.  Not going to lie, I started to panic a bit inside, not wanting to have to take a penalty on 18 and risk a 6 to finish at even!  I eventually located my ball that somehow must have taken a crazy kick to the right because it finished way over the hill and only about 5yards from an out of bounds stake separating the 18th from the driving range.  Thank the golfing gods that it stayed in bounds and I was actually left with a wide open wedge to the green…knocked a 60* to about 20ft and 2 putting to sweet victory!!  Par

Round (-2)

A great (-2)33 on the par 35 back 9.  All pars and 2 birdies.  Fairways Hit (FW) 4/7 57% Green in Regulation (GIR) 8/9 88% Up/Downs 1/1 100%. Putts: 15

Final Stats:

Score: 68 (-2) FW: 8/14 GIR: 13/18 Putts: 29 Up/Down: 5/7 Sand Save: 0/0 Penalties: 0

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Comments
  1. Ben Fox says:

    Awesome, Matt. Congrats! The first time is always the hardest. 8/9 GIR on the back will get it done. Keep up the good work.

  2. markbialczak says:

    Congratulations, Matt! Now you can retire and take up bowling. Just kidding, of course. Here’s to many more.

  3. Congratulations and Well Done Matt! 🙂

  4. Congraulations and Well Done to you Matt! 🙂

  5. Congrats sir! That’s an awesome accomplishment! And thanks for liking my post on expectations this morning!

  6. Awesome! Belated Congrats!

  7. Freddy Shaw-Matthews says:

    I’ve read your blog for over a year now it has been a brilliant read and inspirational also. Big congrats on this accomplishment! I still play off 28 and to say I am obsessed with golf would be an understatement… I hope to follow in your footsteps one day also thank you for inspiring me.

    • Thanks Freddy! Just keep working hard and believing in yourself and you’ll get to where you want to go…might take some time, but you’ll get there! If there is one tip I can give you that can help you start playing like a scratch golfer right now it would be on the mental side. Even if your swing is not currently at scratch or pro level, mentally you can play exactly like them right now. Make sure you create and repeat a pre-shot routine, visualize the shot you want and most importantly, acceptance of the result. Keep that positive mindset and enjoy things like trying to make an up and down after missing a green or trying to save par after a poor tee shot. Thanks for following the blog, hope you continue to stop by and I wish you best of luck on your journey!

  8. julie says:

    Thank you for stopping by. Travel safe on your life’s journey

  9. Dearest Matt,

    I just happened to keep looking at your blogs and I found this wonderful update that you had attained your goal! Congratulations you have further inspired me to keep making goals to reach and accomplish. I lover your strong heart that you used to keep going, even after the not so good days. You are to be admired. And I can say in honesty even though I do not know anything about golf I know my how much love a man can have for the game. My Father loved golf. I do not know if he ever shot under par because at the time he was golfing I was a self centered teenager and did not realize it was a passion of his. Since his death in 2011 I have learned more about his passions in life than I knew of when he was alive. Being able to play golf ended for him far to early due to a back injury that required surgery. Now his Grandson, who was actually named after him, has that love of golf. Congratulations on obtaining your goal. Have you set a new goal to take you further down the road to the future?

    Sincerely,
    J.L. Pitts
    Author
    “scar Wars-Forged In Fright”
    Release date January 3, 2015

    • Thanks for the comments and kind words J.L. I’m sorry to hear about your father…I know how difficult a loss of a parent can be as I lost my mother a couple years ago and she is the main reason why I’ve decided to start living my life to the fullest and go after my dreams because I saw just how short life can be. As far as my future goals they are to keep improving, start playing in more competitive tournaments and start winning a few of those and see where that takes me. Thank you again for your support and encouragement and I hope you accomplish all the dreams and goals you set for yourself in coming years!

  10. Wow. As someone with a handicap so bad it’s a world class physicist, this is really impressive! I hop I can put the same dedication to my endeavours. Inspiring.

  11. cperrington says:

    Just saw your blog. As someone who blogs about why some succeed where others fail, this is a great example of the journey you took to reaching your goal. Congratulations. I tell my readers that the best part of completing a journey to success is that no one can ever take it away or say you don’t deserve it. Congrats again. Now it’s on to a new goal.

  12. Conor Neill says:

    As I kid (12, 13, 14, 15, 16) I played at least 3 times every week. Hole number 15 was a par 3 over water… and always required a wait on the tee. The question I always had as a kid: stay focussed on the shot to the 15th, or take this pause and calculate where I stand overall.

    I looked at your score and when you got to 15 I could imagine myself again age 14 standing on the tee and knowing what I needed on the last 4 to beat my best ever… the excitement, the pressure, the joy 😉

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