Wednesday, June 28, 2017

St. Andrews Old Course - The Face Hole

The 17th at St. Andrews Old Course is one of the most famous holes in the world. It's named "The Road Hole" due to the road that runs behind the insanely shallow and elevated green. The dirt path and tarmac road are in play, and you do not get free relief from either surface. Nor do you get a free drop away from the stone wall on the other side of the road.

The green is also protected by a deep bunker, which is extremely difficult for golfers of all skill levels. And there's a blind tee shot over two railway sheds and the courtyard of a hotel. Basically... it's the most tricked-up hole in golf.

So how do you think Gorecki played it with his 23.6 handicap? The handicap limit was 24.0 so he was technically allowed to be there... if you believe that 8 of the 10 rounds used in his index were played in Orlando without member verification. And a few of those were solo rounds, which are banned for handicap purposes by the USGA. But whatever... I'm not a conspiracy theorist so let's all agree he is a good enough golfer to play The Old Course.

Here's the "ShotLink" map of his first time on #17, with explanations below:



1) Off the toe dead right, barely clearing the sheds and presumably landing in the pond next to the hotel. Because our group had been "out of position" since hole 9, the Ranger was standing at the corner of the wall watching all of us play. Oh well, reload!

Ball highlighted. Heading right. Ranger in blue at the corner of the wall.

2) Penalty stroke, ball back on the tee.

3) After a mighty lash, we watch in horror as the ball is topped and rumbles about 70 yards into some medium fescue. Welp... at least it's away from the hotel and his next shot won't be blind.

4) The fescue fights back, grabbing his chunked iron and only allowing the ball to travel 20 yards. It's still in the fescue, but we're making progress. We might finish the round before 11pm sunset (it's about 2:40pm at this point).

5) Gorecki's over-the-top hack produces a pull to the left. It's not moving very fast, but his ball took dead aim at an elderly Australian man 95 yards away (playing the 2nd hole and waiting for Mike to pass). His teenage caddie literally dove out of the way, ruining any chance of joining the Secret Service later in life. The Aussie sees it coming, but couldn't bring his aging body to dodge the projectile. He contorts like a velociraptor and gets nailed in the collar bone. The ball ricochets up into his jaw and drops down to the ground. Fatality.

Golf courses are pretty quiet in general, but there are now about 20 people standing within 50 yards of the incident just dumbfounded. The Aussie starts mumbling about being hit in the jaw, and he's clutching his face. Nobody really runs to his aid... the Ranger slowly walked over. All of us knew that he wasn't hit very hard, we just didn't know how much of an asshole he was going to be about it. Myself, John and Gary all found the fairway with our drives, but we didn't want to hit our 2nd shots while an international incident was taking place behind us.

Gorecki went up to the man and apologized. He asked if he needed medical attention and offered to pay for any treatment, meals or beers. I snap the most amazing photo of my short journalistic career... resulting in my caddie saying: "I can't believe you took a picture of that." I told him that it needed to be documented. Behold, my soon to be Pulitzer Prize winning photograph:

The Ranger on the far left. Gorecki's caddie on the far right.

....

Honestly, this is the most "Gorecki" picture I've ever seen. Left hand on his hip holding his hat. Right hand scratching his head. Head down wondering why God abandons him during golf. Old man grasping his jaw.

The Aussie eventually said he was fine and played his approach shot into #2. Surely, I thought, Gorecki was done with the hole and would pick up to regroup for the final iconic tee shot on #18. He even started walking toward the green, so I figured John was good to go with his 2nd shot.

Nopes. Gorecki was actually searching for his ball, failing to consider that it was right where he just killed a guy. He finally locates it, and tops his 6th shot down the fairway. He gets on the back of the green with his 7th stroke. Putts it to about 4 feet with his 8th. Then picks up a gimmie for 9 and writes down "7" on his card.

Our graphic artist was kind enough to make a template for a bronze plaque to be placed on the spot of the incident. I'll keep you posted if St. Andrews graciously accepts our contribution to their storied course:

Based on "The Concession."

Gorecki hit a low bullet on the 18th tee and it actually out-drove all of us. He then hit a thin approach across the green, up a steep grassy embankment, through a fence, and into the R&A courtyard. No word if it hit someone, but the ball was thrown back onto the course and it rolled to the fairway in front of the green. Assuming stroke and distance, Mike was laying 4 at this point. He chipped on for 5. Putts past the hole for 6. Grinds over his up-hill comeback and sinks the putt for 7. I'm not sure what he wrote down for his score, but my suggestion would have been: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Stay tuned for more hot takes from the trip!

15 comments:

Darren Broom said...

I still laugh every time I think about this. Remember we have an Asshole and a Foothole too!

Chandler said...

If you look closely at the photo of his first tee shot on 17... You can see on the far left, the Aussie unknowingly walking toward his death.

David Harrington said...

I retract my statement that you should work for the tsa, you would make a great CNN journalist!

Chandler said...

CNN would be a great fit. Since Gorecki will tell you all of this is "fake news" and I need to resign...

Geoff said...

This isn't just the most Gorecki photo ever, it's the most Gorecki story, ever! This is the kind of hard-hitting coverage we expected from this trip. LOL classic Gorecki!

Gary said...

But wait Geoff...#TheStoryGets...BETTER

Geoff said...

It does?? Do tell...

Chandler said...

There are so many things he could be talking about... I don't even know what it is. Most aren't "better" though.

Ryan Zambito said...

When #tmzito hears scandalous shit and is taken aback, shit got real.

Ryan Zambito said...

Thinking about coming out to some league events. Do I still have a 47 handicap?

Chandler said...

More like 147

Dan Rogers said...

"Fatality" had me rolling. Great commentary.

Gary said...

Geoff, the 17th hole even had it's way with Chandler...ask him!

Chandler said...

Oh, that story isn't "better."

But on our last day there some old man (we'll call him "Future Gorecki") shanked a ball from about the same spot as "The Concussion." It went right into the courtyard of the Jigger Inn where we were all hanging out. I was in the middle of telling the story of how I threw up red wine all over St. Andrews the night before... and the ball bounced off a table, bounced off my stomach, and I caught it in mid air.

I wrote "OUCH" on the ball, signed it and threw it back at Future Gorecki. FG didn't even come over to apologize, probably because he's hit multiple people in his life and the thrill is gone. He also didn't retrieve the ball I threw back at him. Some kid in his group picked it up and laughed... could have been his son.

Anyway, Future Gorecki was a terrible person and was probably over the handicap limit for The Old Course.

Mike Oostenbrink said...

This is spectacular. Two thumbs up to the graphic artist and a high-five for the skull and crossbones on the shot diagram.