I should probably call this "game 7.5 of 2008." I had a chance to play 9 holes yesterday afternoon after a long day of meetings at the NSGIC Conference. A group of us set out to try to get 9 holes in before the sun sank too far down past the mountains for us to see anything.
It was a lovely evening. To the south, the view was of clear skies and a few puffy clouds. To the west, there were angry clouds backed up against high mountains.
We played a scramble format, in two-person teams. My partner and I did not win. It was not his fault. But we had fun and saw some great sights.
We were on the Keystone Ranch Course, which sits in a high mountain valley (about 9,000 feet). It features some remarkable changes in altitude, including a hole towards which you seem to be hitting off the edge of the world.
By the time we reached the eighth hole, it was almost too dark to play. On the approach to an elevated green, I hit what may have been the most solid 9-iron shot of my life. I couldn't see it, but it felt and sounded perfect. And it would have been, too, except for the extra distance you get when you play at altitude. I know that I flew over the green only because of the clear "ping" of the ball hitting the cart path and ricocheting off into the wild-west brush.
The ninth hole at Keystone Ranch is a long drive across a lake. It was almost full dark, so we pulled out a set of glow-in-the-dark balls that one of the fellows had brought. On being struck, the balls light up red and look like tracer rounds flying down-range. I hit a solid three-wood but aimed it wrong; I went for the green over the wide part of the lake and not the shorter lay-up over less water. My ball almost made it, but hit the water once, bounced, and sank.
After we drove around the water, we all four walked down to the water's edge to watch my red, glowing ball light up about a foot of clear mountain water just over an iron's length off shore. It was as if the moon had sunk back down into the lake.