Double bogeys can happen fast. Way too fast. One bad shot can put you in Double Bogeyville, golf’s most rundown town.
The trick is to stop them just as fast.
That was my takeaway from a recent round that got away from me in a stretch of five holes … five consecutive double bogeys … made in five very different ways.
I couldn’t recall ever making five straight doubles. Oh, I’ve made my share of them over the years, but five in a row? That’s bozo golf at its worst.
And yet I didn’t hit the ball that poorly. I was just bad enough.
So here’s a rundown of how you make five doubles. See if you’ve had some similar holes lately – maybe we can learn together.
The first hole, my seventh of the day, was a par-3 with a hazard all the way down on the right. As I went into my backswing, a piece of grass somehow flew onto the ball.
I should have stopped, but I went through with the shot. Though I struck it well, it was too far right and went into the hazard. My chip onto the green stopped 12 feet above the hole, and I missed the putt coming down the hill.
Double bogey No. 1 summary: The shot wasn’t that bad, but it’s hard to overcome a penalty stroke.
The next hole, a par-4, is the toughest on the course and was straight into the sun. Even though my playing partner and I tried our best to watch my drive, we weren’t sure exactly where it went. He thought it was in the left rough, but we never found it.
Double bogey No. 2 summary: A lost ball almost guarantees at least a double.
My drive on the par-4 ninth hole was supposed to be a hook, but I came out of it and hit it into the hazard on the right. Not only was I stuck with another penalty shot; I had nearly 200 yards left to the hole – I then hit a 4-iron pin high but too far left and couldn’t get up and down from there.
Double bogey No. 3 summary: Hitting the ball hard with the driver isn’t good enough – you’ve got to execute the shot you’re trying to hit. If I hit the drive correctly, I’ve got a short iron left to the green. Instead, I was still in double trouble.
So the trend in the first three doubles was clear: Each tee shot was hit hard but off line, and the lost ball was just bad luck. Things changed on the next two holes.
We’ve all done it: You’re having a rough stretch, and you simply lose your swing. I popped up a 3-wood off the tee on No. 10, a short par-4, and then walloped another 3-wood left of the green. But it was a tough chip and I hit it too hard, then three-putted.
Double bogey No. 4 summary: My first truly awful shot in this stretch was partially canceled by the second shot, but it’s amazing how many doubles end in a three-putt.
The last double was the most bizarre of all. It’s a severe dogleg left par-5 with hazards on the left and beyond the fairway, so it’s safer to hit something less off the tee. I went with a 5-wood but hooked it horribly into the hazard on the left.
Another penalty stroke – yuck. I crushed a 3-wood but hit to the right in a small grove of trees, then hit an absolutely perfect punch shot that caught the very last tree and dropped straight down.
OK, that stinks, and I still had another punch under the trees. Lo – or should I say low? – and behold, I hit an even better shot that stopped 3 feet above the hole … and missed the downhill putt, of course.
One final double bogey summary: How on earth do you hit two great shots and still make a 7 on a par-5? Penalty strokes and missed short putts will get you every time.
Years ago, I wouldn’t have taken this very well, but it’s funny how your attitude changes over the years. I love our great game so much, nothing – not even five straight double bogeys – can ruin my day.
Want proof? I parred four of the next five holes and bogeyed the other one. Had some good looks at birdies, too.
But then came the last two holes. Guess what happened on those two – yup, two more double bogeys.
I’ll spare you the gory details. You know the drill. They happen fast.