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I hit a long, straight drive on the eighteenth, he pulled a short one left, and it was a kind of replay of the first hole, except that he hit a 230-yard three wood to six feet and two-putted, while I pushed a six-iron right, chipped on, and missed my putt.
I managed a three wood to the plateau, then another three wood to the back of the slanting, three-tiered green, and two-putted for par and a frontside score of 38.
As we stood on the eleventh, we felt a slight headwind, and the hole measures a solid 409 yards, so, though I was tempted to hit a three wood and keep it in the fairway, I decided to go with my old Titleist 970D, for which I had paid exactly $49.50 several years earlier.
Then, full of hope, I walked up onto the tee of the first hole, a gorgeous, left-sweeping par five, and hit a perfect three wood that swept in from the right edge of the fairway and bounced happily along in the short grass there, like a puppy running onto its own lawn after a week spent wandering the alleys of the city, hungry and wet.
So on the wicked ninth on that day I hit a vicious, anger-propelled rocket of a three wood that flirted with the right-hand tree line, curled leftward as gracefully as the calf of a female gymnast on the balance beam, then bounced once onto the green and skipped up to the back level.