By Aaron Kirchoff Rushville Republican
---- — Golfers know that the game is much easier when you play from the fairway. I learned this lesson in a big way last week while playing at Kiva Dunes and the Gulf Shores Country Club.
I was playing with my friend from Batesville (let’s call him B.H. as to not give away his identity). We headed out late afternoon to looking to get 18 in before the setting sun.
The place we stayed at was connected to Kiva Dunes, the No. 1 ranked golf course in Alabama. We loaded the clubs and drove the 300 yards to the club house. Yes, drove. (B.H.’s idea).
We were able to get right off on No. 1 and my experience of sea-side golfing began. I am an average golfer at best. Anyone that has ever played with me knows that bogey golf is good for me.
B.H. and I both started with a par on the first hole. Great start. The next hole was a par five and let’s just say neither of us played it very well and move on to the next three holes.
I managed par on the next three holes and a bogey on six to take a two shot lead on B.H.
The other thing that many of you know is that I don’t like snakes. I am fine watching Animal Planet and seeing all the poisonous snakes and constrictors, but not in person. I know Tom (Big Mac) is laughing at me as he reads this.
My first lesson in keeping the ball in the fairway was next and it had nothing to do with scoring better. After my tee shot clipped a tree and I lost the next shot left behind some trees and brush, I went in and found my ball and played the next shot.
B.H. then called me over to show me why I shouldn’t go into the brush to find and hit my ball. I still believe this was “gaming” on his part. Trying (and succeeding) in getting into my head since I was up two
As I made my way to where B.H. was, I noticed he was staying back from the long grass and not moving. I looked down in the grass and there it was – a huge snake. Huge. Dark skin and three inches in girth. It was a cotton mouth (that’s my story and sticking to it). I was out. Back to the cart and a little shaken up.
I proceeded to double bogey the next hole, bogey the eighth and go in the water twice on No. 9.
My two-shot lead went to a four-stroke deficit all after my encounter with the poisonous, slithering snake and his partner in my demise B.H.
I was able to get things back on track on the back nine and B.H. and I tied for the round.
The next day was my second learning experience. With honors on No. 3, I hit down the right fairway. B.H. pulled his drive next to the water, so I was looking to take the lead on the par 5. As we left the tee box and started passed the water on the right side, B.H. pulled another stunt. He stopped and pointed out an alligator sitting on the bank. “Gamemanship” again on his part.
As I looked back to keep an eye on the visitor on the bank, I set up for my approach, just trying to stay in the fairway. I hooked the fairway wood into the left water. Unbelievable. B.H. had done it again. I went in the water on the next hole as well as I tried to regroup from the reptile encounter.
I’ve come to realize that playing from the fairway is not only easier to score, but easier to keep my limbs intact.
Side note: I hit a 10-footer for bogey on No. 9 to edge B.H. by one stroke.
Side note No. 2: These are the facts as I remember them. Don’t let B.H. give you another “story.”
Contact: Aaron Kirchoff at 765-932-2222, ext. 114