Editor's Note: The following game recap is the first in an ongoing series of recreational sports the Daily Texan sports staff and friends will enjoy over the summer.
It took seven rounds of pitch and putt golf, but recent Texas graduate and software salesman, Trevor Nichols, finally sunk his first birdie.
“It felt like I was being initiated into a privileged club,” Nichols said after the nine-hole round.
The ever elusive birdie had pecked at him since he picked up golf two months ago, but at the seventh hole, the second longest hole at Butler Pitch & Putt Golf Course on 201 Lee Barton Rd, Nichols finally pecked back. He shot a 36 on the day.
The birdie didn’t come easy though. After three straight double bogeys to begin the day, Nichols altered his shot.
“The minute I teed off at the fourth hole it felt clean, which was nice because I had begun the day horribly,” he said. “When you shank a ball across two holes like I did on the first and second holes, you have to retool. Especially when you’re swing is laughable as is.”
Nichols credits his swing adjustment to his opponent, Sameer Bhuchar. Bhuchar, who was also playing golf for only the seventh time in his career, and who had joined the “birdie club” way before Nichols, lost the match.
“I feel like my game took off when he [Bhuchar] pointed out I wasn't getting low enough,” Nichols said.
And took off it did. Not only did the software salesman score his first birdie yesterday, he also hit his first green. And then did it again and again and again.
“To hit those four greens in regulation was huge for my confidence,” he said. “When I didn't get on the green on the eighth hole after never getting on the green in all of my trips to the course, seeing my little streak end was sad.”
Though this was also his first time to shoot under a 40 on this par-3 golf course, Nichols firmly believe yesterday’s round was the turning point in his game.
“I'd say this is the turning of a leaf,” Nichols said before adding, “in that the more accurate I hit, the less leaves I seemed to cleave off of trees.”
Bhuchar on the other hand, was all over the place. His tee shots were either erratic or sluggish, and he putted impatiently.
“I’m really re-evaluating myself as a golfer after today,” Bhuchar said. “It hurts to post a 45 on the scorecard and watch your opponent average a bogey a hole. I’d kill to have averaged a bogey a hole.”
Bhuchar had chance to achieve his goal of shooting a sub-40 round if it weren’t for that pesky second hole which played venus fly trap to his tee shot. Bhuchar had to take a drop, and in an effort to speed through the hole in order to allow the golfers waiting behind him to play, rushed his drop shot and it landed 16 feet past the hole. From there Bhuchar lost his cool and missed putt after putt before finally posting an eight on the hole. He was really kicking himself.
Bhuchar said despite his detractors, he plans to work through his poor performance and reemerge as a formidable just-above-average pitch and putt player.
“I don’t expect very much for myself, but a 45 is embarrassing,” he said. “All I’m asking for is a 37 or so and I’ll be content. A round at Butler's Pitch & Putt is only eight dollars, so I can easily just buy another round and practice some more until I meet my goals.”
Though it is all trash talk on the links for these fierce rivals, both Nichols and Bhuchar can agree that of the many things to do in Austin over the summer, a round at the pitch and putt course is a must.
“The beauty of the rolling hills, painted on the earth, amidst the urban jungle is intoxicating,” Nichols said. “Walking the 805 yards of golf course makes me feel as if the city carved out this little oasis just for me.”
“I definitely recommend anyone, of any skill, playing a round out there, Bhuchar said. “It’s all the glamour of Augusta National, with a B.Y.O.B. rule.”