I remembered liking Hudson National a lot more the last time I played two years ago. Probably because I was a much better golfer and could shoot 75 with my eyes half-closed. Well, I’m still learning to accept that I’m going to get a little worse with every year that I’ve been away from competitive golf. And to think that my game had completely deteriorated when I was in college. Alright, enough woe is me.
I’ve played Hudson probably the most times in the NYC area (which isn’t saying much considering the nine rounds total I’ve played this year is probably more than the past 3 years combined) because my good friend Josef is a member and graciously invites me. (I pretty much have an open invitation, right? Well, according to every caddie that has looped for us!) And this past Sunday while Phil Mickelson was on his way to posting a 78 and Hunter Mahan was putting on a clinic, I played at Hudson.
On the first hole, he reminded me that it was two years ago at Hudson when I had my epiphany that I wanted to work in the golf industry. I had been in retirement from competition for about four years at that point. Just enough to realize how much I missed it. It was a perfect day and I felt so peaceful when I suddenly announced that I’d figured it out – I belonged around the game. I said something to Josef, like, “I want to be one of those people interviewing the golfers after their rounds. But I have no idea how to get that job. Or maybe I can start a website. Or I’ll just get a job in the industry.”
Well, almost exactly two years later, here we are.
Anyway! See the livid expression on my face in the top photo? That’s my how-the-eff-did-that-not-go-in-I-hate-these-expletive-greens look. Missed opportunity! I had hit a great drive and stuck a 2-hybrid into the uphill, into-the-wind, already long par-4.
The Tom Fazio design has hilly, undulating fairways that are fairly wide, but they’re tree-lined and guarded by lots of nasty fescue. The greens are super fast with tricky breaks. (Obviously I can’t read them.) It’s a fun, newer, somewhat quirky course, yet still somewhat traditional.
I won’t bore you with too many more details. All you need to know is that I beat Josef 3&2 on Sunday. He was trash-talking the day before, sending texts, like “I can’t wait to beat you.” Blah blah. So much for his little trip to Dave Pelz’s short game school last winter! (I’ll never let him live that down. Can anyone say over-the-top golf geek?)
Here’s a pic of us on the fourth hole where he’s still happy because he’s one-up.
Now for some of the funnier moments. On the 10th hole, we caught up to a foursome in front of us. I had been playing from the gold tees, but our caddie, Everton, deviously talked me into playing from the red tees because it turned it into a drivable par-4 at 270 yards.
“I should probably wait in case I really bomb this drive,” I said to Everton and Josef while the group ahead was still on the green.
“No, no, you should just hit,” they insisted.
“Um, etiquette?” I reminded them.
“Don’t worry about it, you have to hit,” they chimed.
“Okay, fine. I’ll just swing 80%.”
It didn’t reach the green, but it sure came close, where I saw some heads turn around. Thing is, if they’re pissed, I can always play the girl card. You know, like, “I had no idea I could hit it that far! I’m so sorry! That was the drive of my life!”
Turns out they were impressed. The guys in front were the club pros at Hudson National — which was why Josef and Everton were telling me to hit.
On the par 3 11th, they said we could play through. From the back tees, Josef hit his first out-of-bounds left. Whoops. He teed up another and it went into the trees on the right. Those damn nerves!
My turn! I had about 145 yards with the wind swirling. I struck probably the best 6-iron in a while. I started it a little right and let the wind take it back to the pin and it ended up 10 feet.
Poor Josef. I’m pretty sure he was mortified. He basically picked up his ball and walked to the next tee. Meanwhile, I lipped out my birdie putt. Thanks for letting us play-through, guys!
I think this is me teeing off on the par 3 16th. If my invite isn’t rescinded after this post, I plan to beat Josef 5&4 next week. Wait, we never decided what we were playing for, did we? I think Everton said a putter. I’m waiting to collect. To Josef’s credit, he didn’t play too badly, posting an 81. But I shot 77.
*Update: Courtesy of Josef, here’s a video of my crappy swing on some hole at Hudson.