Sunday morning, I teed off at 7:30 at Tenison Highlands. The course wasn’t busy, perhaps because the temperature at that hour was just a few ticks over 40. So my playing partner and I went off as a twosome. By the par-3 fifth hole, the twosome behind us had caught up (our play having been slowed by the foursome in front). As the men drove up to the tee box in their cart, I couldn’t help but notice that they each wore a thick, luxurious mustache. Each had his own mustache. They weren’t sharing a mustache. If that’s the way that came across, I apologize for the confusion. Moving on: introductions were made. Their names were Joel and Michael, they said, giving firm handshakes. “Michael, as in Hinojosa?” I asked. Of course it was. Hard to miss that mustache. Turns out, DISD’s former superintendent comes to town every couple of weeks or so because his wife is still here (for now). They’re doing the long-distance thing. She periodically flies out to Atlanta, where he now works. Joel is Michael’s brother, and he’s been teaching him the game of golf. Michael has only been playing for three months. Here is my assessment of his game, after playing 14 holes with him:
His drive is not a thing of beauty. For years Hinojosa coached select baseball, and you can tell. His tee shot looks like he’s trying to kill a snake with a Louisville slugger. His backswing has about five distinguishable segments. He gets no rotation from his hips. His follow-through looks almost like Adrian Beltre’s homerun swing, the one where he drops to one knee. Like Beltre, though, Hinojosa is a strong man. Despite his poor form, when he finds the fairway (about 50 percent of time), his drive goes about 200 yards.
His iron play is wildly inconsistent. The less said about this, the better.
From the sand, he is a disaster. More than once Sunday, I watched him take multiple swipes at a ball without being able to get out of a bunker. Instead of hitting down on the ball and letting the club do its work, he tries to lift the ball out of the sand. When he was unable to escape the bunkers, he picked up his ball and threw it onto the fringe of the green. On the plus side, he’s a very conscientious raker.
When it comes to putting, Hinojosa does not read greens well. I did not see him sink a putt over 2 feet all day. On the par-3 17th, my playing partner’s ball was perhaps 8 feet past the hole from where Hinojosa was eyeing a 10-foot putt. Not wanting to insult Hinojosa (because who could overshoot the hole by that much?), my partner left his ball on the green, unmarked. Of course, Hinojosa blew his putt by the hole and hit my partner’s ball. On the plus side: this caused my partner to incur a one-stroke penalty for not marking his ball on the green. Owing to that penalty, I was able to play my partner to a tie for the round.
In summary: Michael Hinojosa’s golf game is a total wreck. Bear in mind, I shot a 99 yesterday, and I have no idea what I’m talking about.