Pavenham Park - 30/06/17 | Kilburnlad | Golf | Diary

Pavenham Park - 30/06/17

Today was the Mad Cats' outing and we went to Pavenham Park, near Bedford, a course I hadn't played before. The Mad Cats is a group of senior club members that has an away day every month to different courses, with a friendly competition and small prizes, plus the honour of the Mad Cats' trophy for the overall winner. All good fun and there is a meal at the end of play.

Pavenham is a championship grade course and in its publicity it states:

"The final challenge is to master and understand the unique USPGA style greens which offer the golfer a glimpse of the banks and slopes associated with Augusta National."

If you can putt at Pavenham Park, you can putt anywhere!

Well, they weren't kidding. I played probably one of my best games for a Mad Cats' outing in terms of teeing off and approaches to the greens, but the putting was incredibly difficult. I had six 3-putts and one 4-putt, with a total putting score of 40. This meant that there were a number of holes that were blobbed purely because of the putting. I also had some really good iron shots onto the greens, much better than average, but in many cases the ball just ran down the slope of the green and onto the fringe. These greens need wedge play and backspin, the first not currently being in my bag, and the second being beyond my capabilities. Chip-and-run doesn't work!

Things actually started quite well. A couple of reasonable hybrids, followed by a pitching wedge shot to just off the green, allowed me to putt on and single putt for a nett birdie 5 on the 1st. A welcome 3 points for this Stableford match.

The 2nd, a par 5, also went reasonably well. The third of three hybrid shots went a bit right and I needed a pitching wedge shot to get on the green, but then I single putted for a nett par 5.

The 3rd is a par 3, albeit long at 220 yards. This was the first occasion that the 'Pavenham Greens' effect made itself felt. After a very good tee shot my pitch went right, and my second pitch looked good but ran to the far side of the green. I then needed 3 putts to get down, largely because I misjudged the speed and slope of the green.

The 4th went a bit haywire. After a really good tee shot of 174 yards, I pushed the next one right and was obstructed by a tree. I took a short 7-iron shot sideways before pitching to the green, but the ball ran off left. I pitched back on and then three-putted for a blobbed 8. Again the green was a factor in this score.

I started the 5th with two 150 yard plus hybrid shots but was short of the green with my third. I pitched to just off the left of the green, putted on and then three-putted for a nett bogey 8. Once again the putting negated a very good approach on this par 5.

The 6th is a challenging 178 yard par 3. The green sits behind a lake, with an elevated position and a wall down to the lake. I tried to reach the green with my tee shot but hit a bush as the ball veered right. I found the ball in trees but it was unplayable, so I returned to the other side of the lake and took a drop. I pitched over using my 9-iron and two-putted for a nett par 5, very acceptable in the circumstances.

The 7th was a putting nightmare. Having got almost to the green in 3, I pitched on and then four-putted for a blobbed 8.

My tee shot on the par 3, 8th was short and left, from where I pitched to the edge of the green and putted on. Two more putts for a nett bogey 5.

The 9th is another par 5. My tee shot was good but the next shot was short and right. I then hit a long hybrid shot that unexpectedly reached a bunker about 50 yards before the green. I tried to hit out clean with my pitching wedge but although I got out I still needed another pitch that ran off the green. I putted on and single-putted for a nett bogey 7.

So it was 58 strokes out and 11 points. Not a disaster but it could have been better if I hadn't taken 20 putts.

The back 9 didn't start too bad. After a couple of good hybrids on the 10th I pitched to just off the green. I putted on and two-putted for a nett par 6.

The 11th was a bit sad. My tee shot went seriously left leaving me to pitch over trees to the green. The direct line to the pin was over the highest tree. I went for it with my pitching wedge and just cleared the tree, the ball landing just off the back of the green. I was proud of that shot. I then putted on and annoyingly three-putted for a blobbed 6 on this par 3.

The 12th didn't go well either. Again I had a good tee shot. In fact my tee shots were much more consistent than normal. The next wasn't bad but I then was short with the next hybrid, short again with an 8-iron, and finally pitched on from about 40 yards. Three-putts then guaranteed a blob with an 8.
Hole 14 - Pavenham Park -30 June 2017
My tee shot on the 13th was good but my second was short. I pitched to just off the green, putted on and two-putted for a nett bogey 6.

The 14th bucked the trend. This hole ideally required a draw around trees to the left into the left hand dogleg (picture right). I can't do a draw but my long tee shot was perfectly paced for a non-draw attempt. This was followed by an average hybrid, and then a pitching wedge put me just off the left of the green. A gentle 8-iron chip and one putt gave me a 5 for a nett birdie on this index 2 hole.

Another good long tee shot on the 15th was unfortunately followed by three lacklustre hybrids, leaving me a pitch onto the green where I three-putted for a nett bogey 8 on this par 5.

The 16th is a 170 yard par 3. I went for it but was short. I then dug in with my pitching wedge pushing the ball into the bunker in front of me. I played out and chipped up with my 7-iron, two-putting for a blobbed 6.

The 17th was a bit lucky. It was my only really bad tee shot, that was miss-hit left into thick trees, but miraculously bounced out to the middle of the approach. A pretty weak hybrid from there was followed by a good 8-iron pitch to just off the green. I putted on and two-putted for a nett par 6, a good result considering the start.

The 18th on this course is a real challenge. It's a 490 yard par 5 with a mass of bunkers around the green. After three hybrid shots I pitched for the green with my 8-iron. Unfortunately I was too far right and the ball rolled into one of the bunkers. It was right near the edge, requiring me to stand outside the bunker and play the ball about six inches below my feet. I was thin on the shot, which probably wasn't surprising, and the ball went across the green settling a few yards past it. I tried a gentle pitch and muffed it, the ball still being off the green. The next was better, but after two putts I had a 9, my worst hole of the round, and a blob of course.

So it was 60 back with another 20 putts and 9 points.

Despite the high scores I enjoyed the game. The course was challenging and convinced me that I need to put a gap or lob wedge in the bag, and practise using it. I was pleased with my tee shots that, with a couple of exceptions, were long and reasonable straight. I was also pleased with my iron shots to the greens, even if many of them ended up with the ball rolling off again! We were out over 5 hours, mainly due I think to the time the four of us were taking to putt out on the challenging greens.

Game Golf scorecard:

Scorecard - 30 June 2017

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