The glistening sunlight of the rising sun coming out of the east is something that all ticking heart beats can relate to. Walking into the sun first thing in the morning with 3 other adventurers is why we play. Mickelson’s first hole is slightly north east but you get the picture. Mickelson National encourages an optimism on the 1st tee with an inviting tee shot, a grand fairway, a feeling you get when you sit and eat warm chocolate chip cookies with your grandmother, you are home.
#1 is a gentle and gradual dog leg right, with any shot hit on the left side being kept in play like a corner at Daytona speedway. A large bunker lines the right side of the fairway for about 100 yards. Respect the bunker but don’t lose yourself in it. It shouldn’t be your focus, it is the court jester, there to distract you in the beginning of this early morning quest.
I’m a chicken when I start rounds of golf, I like my rounds to start off smooth, trouble free. Par feels great and sadly right. Getting off to a start that lacks excitement is often all that I ask for or could hope for. So to see a hole, your 1st hole, as a difficult hole seems unfair but conversely playing a hole that is too easy, be it a par 5 or an easy par 4 never feels right. Never feels quite fair. Especially if I don’t make birdie.
What I mean by this, if you play a difficult hole to start out with and make bogey or worse, often it sets our mind in a tizzy and panic begins. With optimism fading into the background. Now if it’s too easy, you go ahead and play it and make par or worse, you feel that you’ve wasted an opportunity and once again our confidence dissipates slowly into the wind. Oh the psychology of a course layout that can sadly have an actual impact on a golfer. Golf is for the brave and not the faint of heart.
#1 is a long but forgiving par 4 with a big fairway and a run up type green, if you are playing from the fairway. This hole really sets the table for the rest of the course. Forgiving tee shots but get out of position and chasing par is best case scenario. Bunkering is big, bold and playable. But angles, angles are everything at Mick Nash. It’ll be hard to get close to pins when you are out of position off the tee, but you will always have a chance. And isn’t that all we want when we play? A fighting chance, an optimistic offering to start our round and a pinhole vision of things to come.
Golf is often cruel and cares nothing for pedigree or passion. But that 1st hole optimism that all golfers possess is a gift. Golf changes from shot to shot, hole to hole and most definitely round to round but that hope that we all hold onto, on the 1st tee is pure magic. Maybe today is the day, a new adventure as we chase the sun. #1 will greet you with open arms and mattress like landings and then you hit #2. Honeymoon’s over!!!
See you on the 1st tee…..1