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Sports Editor Mike Ramczyk can't help but chuckle at how bad his slice was on No. 7. (click for larger version)
July 16, 2013 | 02:37 PMFor the last few years, I have been going to area golf courses and testing my luck with my sub-par golf game.
Whether it was Grand Geneva, Geneva National, Nippersink or even Prairie Woods, former editor Lisa Seiser, current Editor John Halverson and several area golf pros have joined me and beaten me most of the time.
While I have plenty of experience in football, baseball and basketball, golf is a game I played a couple times for fun over the years. I never had the passion or the money, quite frankly, to get serious about it. But as I grow older, I'm now 31, I continue to learn more about the game.
Our golf series returned July 12 at one of my all-time favorite courses, Hawk's View Golf Club. I am a bit biased because I got married there in 2011.
With lush greens and picturesque views of water and even bunkers, Hawk's View is one of the nicest and most challenging courses in the area.
With no Seiser around, I tried to teach the game to Halverson last summer. That was on the Hawk's View par-3. This time around, I reached out to another co-worker, Sue Hinske, our office manager.
I knew the 67-year-old was coming off spinal surgery, but I also knew she loves the game and has a lot of experience. Hinske actually received doctor's clearance to play golf last week.
Since I only tied Seiser once and never actually beat her, I thought taking on a hobbled Hinske would be my ticket to victory. I even played from the ladies' tees to make it as fair as possible.
While Hinske took that as weak, I know how bad I am and how much advantage I needed simply to compete.
It was first time playing all summer, and Hawk's View is no cake walk. While most holes are straight and a decent tee shot puts you in good position, the greens are brutal. Talk about undulation. Hit it too strong and you're in the opposite rough. Tap it too soft and there is no friendly roll.
No. 2 was where I made my first splash. On my second shot, I used a 4-wood from 150 yards out and got on the green. I finished with a five for bogey and had a brief two-stroke advantage. But on No. 3, a par-3 where you tee off roughly 50 feet above the ground and shoot downhill, Hinske started her comeback. She sunk a 10-foot putt for par. I earned my second straight bogey. "The wheels will come off," Hinske joked. But her hot streak had just begun.
After another par and two double bogeys, Hinske took a three-stroke lead through six holes. She drained a 10-foot putt with the flag in the hole on No. 4. Then, after a six on No. 5, Hinske recovered for a bogey on a beautiful par-3 where you had to hit it over a pond off the tee. Hinske admitted she was on some heavy pain-killers, and I demanded she be tested for her performance-enhancing drugs. All jokes aside, Hinske was crushing me and I needed to pick it up.
Hinske lost a ball in the water on No. 7 and claimed she "hated the entire hole," but she still managed an eight to my seven. It was bunker city, as bunkers not only hinder your tee shot but also completely surround the green. It was the most challenging hole on the front nine.
I told Hinske I was closing the gap, but she kept her focus. On No. 8, I was on in three but once again three-putted for a six. Hinske also managed a six, and she said the only thing she liked was the scenery.
So it all came down the last hole. I was down two strokes, and I thought the par-5 would work to my advantage. But let's be honest, I knew I needed a miracle with my inconsistent shots. I cranked the ball about 215 yards on my tee shot, but it was in the wrong direction. I landed on the tee box of the adjacent hole, and as I hesitantly walked over to my ball, I politely asked the two gentlemen who had just teed off if I almost hit them. Luckily, they saw nothing.
My second shot had to leap over a line of trees. Unfortunately, my solid line drive cracked a tree and died. I talked Hinske into letting me avoid a penalty stroke. The only way we would've counted the extra shot was if I beat her. The rest of the hole assured us that wouldn't be an issue.
Staring into a bright sun, my third shot was a pop fly that landed on the absolute last strand of grass before a bunker behind the green. I slammed the ball out of there, but it rolled to the opposite rough. My horrendous putting left me with an eight. Hinske, whose best shot is a long ground ball, used two grounders to close the deal. Her tee shot rolled and rolled, but it was straight. Then, on her approach, she scooted a ground ball a good 50 yards and wound up only 10 feet from the cup. Hinske two-putted for a six and finished with a 52 to my 56.
Sadly, it was one of my best scores. A 54 at Lake Lawn Resort is my best nine-hole score of all time. Overall, my tee shots were long and fairly straight, and my fairway woods were solid, but putting was my downfall.
Hinske showed signs of why she has shot in the low 80s on 18 holes. She has a consistent, straight tee shot despite not having much power. Every shot is straight and puts her in position to have a good hole. While her putting isn't back up to speed yet, she sank several putts from 10 or more feet out.
Whether you're a hack like me or an experienced golfer like Hinske, Hawk's View has it all. The scenery is phenomenal, and the course is challenging but fun and manageable at the same time. With a par-3 course for the kids, there is something for all ages at Hawk's View.