In keeping with a general best/worst theme, here are my 5 best and 5 worst rounds of golf since 1998, as determined by the Handicap Differential, which adjusts for the difficulty of the course.
1. 7/20/02, Maplegate, 79, 6.0 Differential. This was covered the other day in "I beat Tiger"
2. 9/5/02, Sandy Burr, 78, 6.5 Differential. Golfed on a Thursday morning. This may have been the day I got there at dawn only to find three groups waiting to tee off, so I hightailed it over to #6 to start off, and had to deal with a greenskeeper treating the greens. Highlight was chipping in from about 50 yards out. I made one mental mistake which led to a double bogey and one horrible shot into the weeds which led to a triple bogey, but otherwise didn't do anything that made me upset. Fourth round in the 70s of the year.
3. 9/26/97, Butternut, 81, 7.3 Differential. This is a little misleading, because the handicap system limits the score you can take on a hole (for handicap purposes only; you still have to play out the hole and write down what you get), and I took an 11 on the notorious 625 yard 10th (but it only counted as an 8 for the handicap; this is called Equitable Stroke Control, or ESC). Another time on that hole, I dumped three in a row into the pond in front of the green and it was all Simon could do to stop from laughing. I birdied this hole once with four great shots. This is easily one of the handful of most difficult holes I've played.
4. 11/24/1997, Roy Kizer, 79, 7.8 Differential. This was the first time breaking 80 on a real course, I think. I was visiting my brother in Austin and I was doing very well. I got nervous towards the end and chunked a pitch on 17, leading to a double-bogey, and had to par 18 to break 80. I left my approach shot just short, then hit a nice chip and had a nerve-wracking 3-4 footer left. It's silly to get nervous about something like that, because it hurts the chances of it happening, but there you go.
5. 5/16/98, Far Corner, 81, 8.0 Differential. Difficult course in the middle of nowhere (hence the name) in north suburban Boston. Barely remember the round, other than knowing that I played the "other" nine plus one of the nines on the 18 hole course, owing to overcrowding on the 18 hole course. I really hate crowds when I golf, so much that I will sometimes replay holes instead of continuing.
1. 11/14/99, CC of Billerica, 95, 29.4 Differential*. *-For the worst rounds, I am stating the differential without the ESC. Golfed with Goody and Alex at a par 68 course. It's actually not a bad little course, with some hills and interesting shots, and not much traffic. Just a lot of bad, forced shots, probably trying to impress the guys with my power and prowess. I still won, though.
2. 4/16/00, Merrimack, 97, 26.7 Diff. It appears that I had already been out twice that year, so that's no excuse. It was very windy that day, the ground was soft, and I wasn't very sharp.
3. 4/12/98, Stow Acres South Course, 98, 26.3 Diff. Another round with Alex and Goody, I think. It was spring, I guess, is my excuse. But jeez, I had already logged 10 rounds, most of them while visiting Jackie in California in their wettest winter in recorded history.
4. 3/11/97, The Oaks, 99, 26.1 Diff. Played at Henry Thorne's aunt's country club while at the Compound after winning the Miami spring break tournament. I was definitely pressing while trying to impress, carding a 54 on the front nine. The next day, I shot a 39 on the same nine (and a 45 on the back both days). Jim Nesbitt completely embarrassed himself that day by having a 9 iron fly out of his hands and down the fairway 20 yards, while playing with Henry's aunt.
5. 12/17/99, Waikele, 98, 26.0 Diff. I was in Hawaii on a last-minute business trip and had a day off, so played with rental clubs in a golf course in a development, which I can't stand. Nice enough course otherwise, but too narrow for how I was hitting it that day. There was a waterfall, and hmm, I think I took a picture on one of those panorama cameras, but haven't finished the roll yet.
Honorable mention goes to a 100 at the Princeville Resort in Kauai (but which only ranks as the 17th worst round with a 20.1 Diff) and a 99 at the Jubilee Course in St. Andrews, where I finished with two pars to avoid triple digits. In that round, Jordan and I played the first four holes inadvertently from the championship tees (during which I logged two 7s, an 8, and a 9) before the ranger made us move up as we were slowing down play.