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Confessions of a serial tree abuser

Hi, my name is Matt and I am a serial tree abuser. No, no ... not that way! If you want to get technical about it, my golf ball is the real abuser and I'm more of an enabler.

Don't judge me.

Here's the funny thing: it was only my second round of the year, but my contact with trees was in mid-season form. The depth of that TOCK sound when ball meets tree trunk was hearty to say the least, and this is coming from someone who knows the sound of $2.50 going bye-bye into the woodlands!

And here's another funny thing: I never used to be this hooky off the tee box. For years, my miss was more of a block to the left (where there were still usually plenty of trees for me to go after). For the better part of three years now, I've been finding myself having to deal with a pull-hook early in the season ... and some of the trees at the Seaforth Golf & Country Club bore the brunt of my efforts recently.

I wouldn't say the round was an utter disaster, but then again I might say it was. I'm not saying that every hole was ugly, but I had a few that made even the squirrels cringe a bit. And it didn't start out that way at all; my first victim of the day was a lawn mower! At least, I'm pretty sure it was since I didn't actually wander in to see the carnage or retrieve any evidence.

As things progressed, my swing evened out. I remembered my mental notes and focused on evening out my backswing so I felt more 'on level', and that helped me fix my aversion to going in the right direction off the tee.

Once that issue was (mostly) reigned in, the putter decided it was time to remind me that no matter how good I worked the greens during my last visit to these very greens that I still had to prove myself again this season. As magical as my T-Squared putter remains, it feels more like I let it down than the other way around. I can't even blame rough greens! They were smooth and true for being April 10 ... it was just a lack of concentration on my part.

But maybe, just maybe, it was my golf ball! Yes, that has to be it -- the ball was intentionally staying out of the hole just so it wouldn't have to experience terminal velocity with a tree branch on the next hole. Mind you, by mid-round I was starting to pipe my drives to where I wanted them ... I don't know what that whiney golf ball was thinking!

Okay, where was I? Right, the putting wasn't solid but it will get there. Why am I so certain of that when I didn't 1-putt a single green? Am I on some sort of magical goofy pill that makes me think crazy thoughts? Did the blue jays and other birds who were annoyed with my constant intrusions into the woodlands secretly slipping something into my Gatorade?

Actually, no. I have reason to believe my flatstick work will improve because I read the greens well enough but the muscle recall just wasn't there yet. If I'm honest with myself, I would say I only misread two putts all day, so I have that going for me to keep me positive I'm headed in the right direction.

But yeah, that sickening sound popped up one more time on the 17th tee. I yanked that drive SO hard to the right that I'm amazed I didn't wind up in the water hazard that fronts the tee box of the previous hole ... you know, if it wasn't for those damn trees! And when you hear it hit so hard that your next instinct is to listen for the tree falling down after being sliced in two pieces, you just laugh it off and tee up another one.

And in case you're wondering, I got my revenge on the last tee shot of the day when I ripped one down the 18th fairway. It was about this point that one of my playing partners reminded me of the creek that cut the fairway off from the green.

Riiiiiight. The creek.

I'm just having some fun with you, as I was well short of the water. A near-perfect wedge into the green left me 20 feet right of the hole with a good chance for birdie. And I rolled it perfectly all the way... short.

Perhaps this was the lawn mower's revenge for what I had done to one of its compatriots earlier in the day?

Yeah, I'm going with that.

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