Trevor Nichols

Local man finally sinks birdie putt, beats friend at round of par 3 golf

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.” 

The Austin Police Department has enlisted the help of the UT Police Department to stop a string of West Campus burglaries hoping to gain crime tips from students who read Campus Watch announcements.

APD spokesman Anthony Hipolito said there were 10 burglaries of West Campus residences from February 26 to April 16.

He said the stolen items were mostly expensive electronics, including flat-screen televisions, laptops and iPads. Hipolito said five out of the 10 burglaries involved unlocked doors or windows, and in many of the cases, the victims were intoxicated when the burglaries happened. APD and UTPD officials said they have not identified a specific suspect, but have reason to believe those involved in the crimes may be neighbors or acquaintances of the victims.

“In one instance the door of a resident’s home was kicked in, but she did not hear it or wake up,” Hipolito said. “It is not possible at this point to determine whether or not these crimes were committed by a single person. It is very likely that the suspect is a neighbor or a friend of the people who were robbed.”

Officer Darrell Halstead, UTPD crime prevention specialist, said UTPD has worked with APD in the past to locate suspects in criminal investigations. He said students who subscribe to the Campus Watch have a history of reporting suspicious behavior and helping the Austin police catch criminals.

Although Halstead urged students with any information to contact UTPD, both Halstead and UTPD Chief Robert Dahlstrom said they were not aware of any tips that had been reported.

2011 UT alumnus Trevor Nichols said he lives on 21st and Rio Grande streets, a few blocks from several of the burglary locations, but he had not heard of the string of incidences.

“You expect there to be a few incidences just because West Campus is such a large area, but I am surprised to hear that there were so many.” Nichols said.

He said he does not think it is uncommon for residents throwing a party to forget to lock their doors after everyone leaves.

“After your guests are gone, you usually just end up crashing on the couch and watching TV,” Nichols said. “I think that can be hugely dangerous, because everyone who has been in the neighborhood recently knows that you just had a party and your doors are probably still unlocked.”

Nichols said he is very careful to keep the door to his apartment locked, but he knows that his roommates and others in his neighborhood are not as cautious.

Printed on Friday,  April 27, 2012 as: West Campus thieves target expensive electronics