My favourite spherical of 2023_ This par-3 course tucked within the Ozark Mountains

My favourite spherical of 2023_ This par-3 course tucked within the Ozark Mountains

My favourite spherical of 2023? This par-3 course tucked within the Ozark Mountains

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The ending gap on the High of the Rock Golf Course at Large Cedar Lodge. Courtesy Photograph

I’ve lately been consumed by an unhealthy obsession. No, not golf itself — that grew to become unhealthy years in the past — however enchancment. Golf provides that chance each time you tee it up, and it’s addicting.

Part of that dependancy has been my handicap. I’m your typical 14-point-something who thinks there’s no motive why he shouldn’t be a 12-point-something. I’ve turn into consumed by attempting to get that little Handicap Index quantity to tick decrease. Each time I tee it up is an opportunity to see what that handicap differential calculates to. Solely downside is my golf hasn’t been nice this summer season. However the larger situation is that this mindset can zap the enjoyable out of a spherical, and that has occurred means too usually.

So right here’s the place this story takes a flip, and to take action let’s rewind to August and a drive south to Large Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Mo. This was a household trip so my rounds had been restricted, however I nonetheless received to take a look at Tiger Woods’ Payne Valley, which was terrific despite the fact that the climate wasn’t. We received rained out after about 10 holes, which was a bummer, however I nonetheless had one tee time remaining for later within the day when the rain cleared.

The third gap at High of the Rock at Large Cedar Lodge. Courtesy Photograph

The spot? The High of the Rock Golf Course, a beautiful 9-hole par-3 designed by Jack Nicklaus that’s splashed with water and loaded with elevation adjustments. My enjoying companion? My 5-year-old daughter, who scoffed at conventional golf etiquette and wore gel sandals and a denim skirt, however countered it with a nifty Masters visor I purchased at Augusta Nationwide a few years in the past.

There are two the reason why this spherical was particular: It was the primary time, not counting a driving vary or placing inexperienced, that I performed golf with my daughter. And two, there was no rating to enter for a handicap after. Or actually no rating to maintain in any respect.

We had the tee to ourselves at 2:30 p.m. On that 1st tee field, underneath the shadow of the Chapel of the Ozarks, I went over the main points. With it being her first time on a course, I defined she wasn’t hitting all of the tee pictures I’d. Our sport was easy: seize your favourite pink ball and your putter, put your ball wherever you need on the inexperienced and putt it till it’s in.

She. Was. Pumped.

She beloved our placing sport, though it took a number of holes to get the velocity proper. She couldn’t keep in mind the title “bunkers,” so she saved telling me “don’t hit it within the white.” She was devastated once I tugged one tee shot into the water after which questioned why golf balls don’t float (good query). On the subsequent gap she instructed me if I hit it into the water once more it could be OK, as a result of she would simply inform Mother it was an accident.

The 4th gap on the High of the Rock. Courtesy Photograph

What I beloved about High of the Rock — and basically the golf choices at Large Cedar Lodge — was that my daughter would by no means have been capable of accompany me at Payne’s Valley or one of many different two championship programs. That’s robust for a child of this age. (The 13-hole Mountain High brief course may very well be an possibility for an older child, however it’s strolling solely.)

However High of the Rock, with its spaced-out tee occasions (for a greater customer expertise), labored out completely (plus, my daughter received to assist drive the cart). It’s a par-3 however not all wedges — the again tees have pictures from about 120-200 yards — and there’s a superb number of holes to make it enjoyable for households or buddies. Or, in my case, for first-timers.

On the 4th gap I scooped up a 2-footer and had to enter nice size to elucidate “a gimme,” and on the sixth gap we appeared for trolls underneath the bridge to the inexperienced. After the seventh gap she lastly admitted she was drained — I couldn’t imagine we lasted that lengthy — and requested, as solely a 5-year-old may, “What number of stations do we’ve got left?” Strolling off the eighth inexperienced she introduced, “This was a terrific day as a result of I’m {golfing} with you, Dad.” (She’s not all the time that candy.)

The island inexperienced sixth gap at High of the Rock. Courtesy Photograph

Once we completed, she requested a photograph on the ninth inexperienced of her holding the flag, an image that now sits in my workplace.

For the report, I didn’t write this to be all sappy, though I hope, like many dads do, that it’s the primary of many rounds we are able to play collectively. I did, nonetheless, write this as a reminder, to others but additionally myself, that the 3s, 4s, 5s and, gulp, 6s, we placed on our scorecards shouldn’t matter as a lot because the expertise.

Factor is, once I really stopped caring about what I shot, I performed fairly effectively. Humorous how that works, proper?