Match Play Qualifier

Ken Bank was just 69 years old.
Ken Bank was just 69.

Today’s Match Play Qualifying tournament was a tough one for me emotionally. My head was elsewhere, and I played like it. Yesterday, a really good friend of mine died suddenly of a heart attack while working out at his home in Tucson. Ken Bank was just 69 years-old. He had no history of heart disease nor did he exhibit any heart-related issues. And now he’s gone. At least he was doing something he loved. But the loss has left me reeling. I feel an emptiness in my heart that I can’t explain, and Ken’s death really puts things in perspective.

Ken is one of the reasons that I’m at the Golf Academy to begin with. Ken and I spent several hours on the golf course and shared a love for the game. We also several conversations in recent months about life and about my future. Ken was one of the people who helped me come to the conclusion that not only was golf my passion but that it was something worth pursuing professionally. I was excited to start my education, but I know Ken was really looking forward to riding shotgun. It was something I was doing for both of us. And now he’s gone. Ken is survived by his wife, three kids, and two grandchildren, the second of which was born just three days ago. Sometimes life’s just not fair. I know Ken will be watching from above.

Old, warped mats greeted us at Ahwatukee Country Club.
Old, warped mats greeted us at Ahwatukee Country Club.

Today’s tournament at Ahwatukee Country Club was a two-man stroke play event. Each team consisted of an ‘A’ player and a ‘B’ player with the gross better ball on each hole counting toward the team’s overall score. The lowest eight teams advance to Match Play.

Ahwatukee Country Club is one of the oldest courses in the state of Arizona. The driving range consisted of old, warped mats, and all of our warm-up shots had to be limited to just 250 yards. It’s nearly impossible to warm-up or even hit off of mats because perfect shots taken off a mat have to be fat. When you get out on the grass, guess what you’re going to do? Hit it fat! While the fairways were green and lush, the winter rye grass overseed didn’t leave the greens in the best shape. The biggest challenge was putting in poor conditions.

The practice putting green had patches of dirt instead of grass.
The practice putting green had patches of dirt instead of grass.

Normally, I would provide a course review for a course like this, but it’s not worth my time or yours because of the challenging conditions at this time of year.

On the schedule tomorrow: Attitude & Motivation and Golf Fundamentals. My new Titleist irons should be arriving any day now.

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