SGIC’s Rage-Fueled Guide to the 2019 Golf Digest Holiday Guide

Linus is hoping everyone enjoys the holiday season!

What a year 2019 has been.  Stop for a moment and let’s reflect on everything that has happened over the last 12 months.  I’m sitting here by the fireplace having a cup of hot cocoa* (I’m drinking my fifth tumbler of rye on the rocks but calling it cocoa) while my dog snores and farts.  What could possibly make this frigid evening better?  Why it’s the arrival of the 2019 Golf Digest Holiday Gift Guide!  Behold!

Unlike last year, there are no leggings or pantaloons of any kind.  I DEMAND PANTALOONS.  In tartan, of course.  I want tartan everything.  GIVE ME YOUR FINEST TARTAN!  MOISTURE WICKING TARTAN!

Since there is no tartan, the people at Golf Digest have been busy at work putting together a list of items that they believe are what golfers want for the holidays (they are, as usual, wrong).  So let’s take a look at the fine offerings that have been curated for my discerning taste, shall we?

And like last year, much thanks to Drew Magary for inspiring this.  Hopefully you land on your feet and are blessed with many ramekins of delicious treats.

Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones

Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones

Price: $200.

They say: A look, feel and sound that’s bold— even if your music isn’t. The fine-tuned acoustics will make any track bounce.

SGIC says: The human clown car wearing headphones that appear to be from the Guy Fieri collection is going to be an absolute delight for that 7-hour round, but that’s okay while Logan listens to some godforsaken world music while taking 4 minutes to miss a six-footer for a triple bogey.  The social skills of a fence post, four practice swings, taking pictures of EVERYTHING (for the ‘gram, naturally) and the inability to break 120 come standard with these.  Unless you’re dropping that bass at the club during your DJ gig these are a total waste.  It’s as bad as assholes who wear Apple Air Buds everywhere.

Demerbox Game Day DB2 Speaker

Demerbox Game Day DB2 Speaker

Price: $349

They say: Built into a durable pelican case, this waterproof outdoor speaker delivers storage and professional-grade sound quality in an ultra-portable design.

SGIC says: To quote from Judge Smails, CUT THAT OUT!  $350 for something that looks like an emergency repair kit you’d keep in your car?  Is listening to Nickelback really that big of a deal?  I point this out because it’s an absolute guarantee that people who insist on taking something like this with them to the course have terrible taste in music and will be hard of hearing ensuring everyone gets to listen to their dirge.  Sure glad it’s ultra-portable though.  Portable just isn’t enough.

Psychobunny Aaron Windbreaker

Psycho Bunny Aaron Windbreaker

Price: $198

They say: A packable, wind-and-waterproof jacket that will pop even under the darkest skies.

SGIC says: Confession: I own a psychobunny tshirt.  Pretty plain, tiny logo.  Overpriced.  Exactly how I feel about this.  For $200 I can buy something from Zero Restriction that I know is actually waterproof.  Plus, it wasn’t designed for golf so how well it holds up with a golf swing is up for debate.  Who’s Aaron, by the way?

Mont Blanc Sunglasses

Montblanc Sunglasses

Price: $2,020 (not a typo).

They say: The subtle map design on these titanium glasses is only visible from the outside, giving them a crisp, out-of-this-world look.

SGIC says: When I spend two grand on sunglasses three things happen.  1) She Who Is Really In Charge does not react well and gives me the death stare 2) I look like a complete dipshit 3) I will drop them and ruin them.  I spent $220 on a pair of custom golf-specific Oakley sunglasses 7 years ago and still question the decision (I still have them and like them).  But wow, I never bought sunglasses that have a subtle map design that’s visible from the outside before.  I bet wearing these will impress Aiden, Muffy and Trevor at the club while we complain about the poors and drink Dr. Pepper from $200 stemware.  And when I think of sunglasses, I always want to go with a company best known for making pens.  Christ- it’s like someone from Golf Digest thinks that your average reader is thinking “I mean, I could spend two grand on a golf trip to Myrtle but man I need sunglasses that make me look like a douchebag!”

Blair’s Belts Alligator Belt

Blair's Belts Alligator Wallet

Price: $295

They say: A luxe leather cash cover to keep your green safe and stylish.

SGIC says: You can’t buy this unless you get the matching belt and shoes.  BTW, you know who could totally pull this off?  Phil.  I’m sure that when he’s in Saudi Arabia it’ll go over well with the Sheik at the Palace.  That’s it.  You, me, anyone else?  Hell no.  Who buys someone a $300 wallet other than people who read the Robb Report and complain how it’s gone all mainstream and think Wheels Up is tacky.

Casio Pro Terek Smart WSD-F30 GPS Watch

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F30 GPS Watch

Price: $549. Not a typo.

They say: A quality outdoor watch with the golf and smartwatch features you need. Get hole layouts and yardages via the Hole19 app, track activity, receive notifications and review forecasts on a compact-yet-vivid design.

SGIC says: Eat shit.  I’d rather listen to the 877-KARS-4-KIDS song in a broom closet with the two goobers from MVMT watching JB Holmes lose pace to an ice floe than spend $550 on a Casio watch.  It’s a watch.  It tells time.  You know what works great for a GPS device is your smart phone with the Hole19 app, or a rangefinder.  You can watch porn on your smartphone (from what I hear).  Casio watches should never cost more than a case of PBR.  Hell, they should come with one.  SGIC 2020, buy a case of beer, get a free Casio watch!  Plus, you know that the asshole using this thing will need three minutes to get his yardage nailed down so he can duck hook a 3-wood into a hazard.

Bluegrass Fairway Waxed Canvas Valuables Pouch

Bluegrass Fairway Waxed Canvas Valuables Pouch

Price: $38

They say: Handmade in the United States, this water-resistant pouch is lined with a soft, tartan fabric to keep your valuables protected inside and out.

SGIC says: Tartan fabric, people!  Now we’re talking.  I NEED TARTAN.  I’m a supporter of BIG TARTAN.  But $38?  Someone should buy this for an office gift exchange just to make the “you can put your balls in it!” joke.  You know what’s cheaper and better?  A Crown Royal pouch (my personal option).  And with the pouch, you get a free bottle of Crown Royal!  Put the Pine Valley or Masters logo on it and they’ll fly off the shelf.  This thing looks like it should have a bolo tie in it or something.

G/FORE Pray For Birdies Beanie

G/FORE Pray For Birdies Beanie

Price: $120

They say: A soft cashmere-wool hat to keep you warm and under par all winter long.

SGIC says: It’s a toque.  Skull cap…sure.  Beanie sounds like something Flounder from ‘Animal House’ would wear to try to pledge Delta House.  There’s a guy named Trevor or Hunter in Brooklyn who will totally buy this.  Serious golfers?  No chance.  It’s golf apparel for people who don’t play golf.  Pass.

Crab & Cleek Turkish Towels

Crab & Cleek Turkish Towels

Price: $32 each

They say: For a unique and elegant addition to the bag, these customizable Turkish cotton golf towels have a terry-cloth liner that will keep your clubs fresh.

SGIC says: Some poor bastard is getting this for Christmas along with a set of neoprene iron covers and a set of naked lady tees right before they decide to ditch golf and take up lawn darts or huffing glue as their preferred recreational activity.  I mean, do you really need TURKISH cotton?  Is Pima or Egyptian cotton not good enough anymore?  I used “borrowed” gym towels that worked great.  Think about what you use your towel for; do you really need fine Turkish cotton?  No.  You do not.

Theragun Liv

Theragun Liv

Price: $249 and your pride

They say: This massage gun uses percussive therapy—or rapid, repetitive strokes—to stimulate blood flow and heat for more effective muscle recovery, pain management and stress relief.

SGIC says: This thing looks like someone duct-taped a Hitachi Wand on a triangle.  I mean, I bet a lot of people can use this for stress relief and to stimulate blood flow (hey-yoooo).  I totally get that.  But…THIS LOOKS LIKE A VIBRATOR.   Like something you’d see on an Adam & Eve infomercial (something I’d never, ever watch).   And $250?  No, I don’t know what size batteries this uses nor do I know if you can some how link it to your smartphone.

Hay Sowden Bottle

Hay Sowden Bottle

Price: $35 (12 ounce) $40 (17 ounce).

They say: Make hydration more appealing with this stainless-steel bottle that’s suitable for hot or cold drinks and looks like a work of art.

SGIC says: They look like giant salt and pepper shakers that are plotting revenge.  40 bucks for a water bottle that holds less than 20 ounces?  GTFO.  Buy a Yeti.  Cheaper, bigger and they work great.  This looks like something you’d use on your Peloton (presumably beating your husband with it for blowing 2 grand on an exercise bike).  Oh, and those ‘videos’ you can watch with the instructors?  I hate those people.  If  you ever see me inside a Soul Cycle call 911 because I’ve been kidnapped.

Imperial The Breck Rope Cap

Imperial The Breck Rope Cap

Price: $30 and all the ridicule you can handle

They say: This customizable corduroy hat was inspired by a piece in the company’s 1988 collection—bringing enduring style and refinement to winter attire.

SGIC says: You should get a free bowl of soup with this, because at least then you’d have soup.  When I think of refinement in haberdashery, corduroy isn’t what I’m thinking of.  Rope hats are ugly so by all means let’s bring them back.  Throw this thing into an active volcano.  Seriously…corduroy?  On a hat?

J Lindberg Clint Wool Coolmax Sweater

 

J.Lindeberg Clint Wool Coolmax Sweater

Price: $225 (therapy not included)

They say: A moisture-wicking, breathable wool-blend layer that will add class, color and warmth to any outfit.

SGIC says: A huge epic fail.  No big and tall sizes because J Lindberg is made for 12-year old boys who resemble a match stick, plus it’s the kind ugly where you need two of these: 1 to shit on, the other to cover up said shit with.  Who’s spending $225 to look like you eat crayons because they taste good?

Seamus X Denton Watts Skull & Crossbones Field Book (scorecard holder)

Seamus X Denton Watts Skull & Crossbones Field Book

Price: $95

They say: Ready to record the deadliest of scores, this white-leather scorecard holder can double as a passport protector.

SGIC says: If you wear a white belt with black socks and play from the tips despite your 22 index, have we got a deal for you.  No.  Absolutely not.  When the economy craters next year (consumer debt is at an all-time high per capita) people are going to look at crap like this and question their judgement.  As they should.  The first person to DM me will get a free scorecard holder that came with a purchase from TGW.

Jones X Buscemi Slide

Jones X Buscemi Slide

Price: $200. For slides.

They say: Handmade in Italy, these limited-edition slides offer the simple elegance your feet deserve after 18 holes.

SGIC says: Huzzah!  Tut tut…surely Trevor and Lord Shinytaint will not have someone wearing these in the Members Grill after 18 holes.  The humanity!  One exception: wear these bad boys with knee-high black socks and see what happens.  But hurry…they’re limited edition!  You don’t want BIG SANDAL getting over on you, do you?  Does buying a pair of these get you lunch with Steve Buscemi?  Asking for a friend.  Can you wear them while getting sun on your bunghole?

Hillrock Estate Solera-Aged Bourbon

Hillrock Estate Solera-Aged Bourbon

Price: $100

They say: This groundbreaking New York State bourbon hangs with Kentucky’s best.

SGIC says: What does Solera aged mean?  Bourbon is aged is wood casks.  There is literally no solera involved.  Bourbon is Solera-free.  I could recommend a half-dozen bourbons that would be much better (and cheaper) than this.  It’s like one of their staffers was in the Hudson Valley and stumbled upon this.  It’s like claiming the best crab cakes come from Oklahoma.

That’s it.  You’re not buying any of this garbage.

What if, say, you’re reading this and you want to get your favourite golfer something for Christmas?  A few really good options:

  1. Go to your local golf course and buy 1-2 dozen of their preferred make/model of balls.  Super easy, and they’ll be happy.
  2. Treating them to a round or two at a great course that they have wanted to play.  They’ll think of you…it’s a win-win!
  3. If they’re new to the game or want to improve, a lessons package at your local course (or some place like GolfTec) is a great option.
  4. Are they in the market for new clubs?  Schedule them a fitting at said local course or a club fitter in your area (use your search engine of choice).  It’s a great way for them to maximize those dollars and again- they’ll think of you when they’re getting fitted and start hitting your mid-irons stiff on a regular basis.
  5. If you have deep pockets, treat them to a weekend getaway somewhere nice that has golf that they can use come spring.  The RTJ Golf Trail, Myrtle Beach, Kiawah Island, Charleston SC, Scottsdale/Phoenix, Orlando are all great options with plenty of non-golf things to do.

Happy shopping!

The Other Palm Springs Version 2.0

1st Hole at Desert Willow Mountain View. The beginning of the trip. In the rough.

As father time continues to creep on me, more and more I find the laid-back vibe of the Palm Springs area much to my liking.  So with She Who Is Really In Charge and I both needing some r&r (and I needing a serious dosage of golf) we scheduled a vacation with morning golf for yours truly before enjoying some quality pool time in the afternoon.

SATURDAY: We flew direct into LAX because I’m nervous as shit about my clubs and I wasn’t sure about ShipSticks (nothing against them).  If anyone has used them with success please let me know.  I had an early AM Sunday round so I was nervous; figured a direct flight was going to minimize my chances of having any issues (very happy to see them rolling out).  Stopped in Orange County to visit my mom because I’m not a complete asshole, but not before stopping at Sidecar Donuts in Costa Mesa.  Growing up in suburban Toronto I have an admittedly stupid attachment to Tim Hortons but a maple glazed still brings back memories.  The donuts at Sidecar are more expensive and better.  Holy shit.  After visiting with my mom and a late lunch that was mediocre at best, we made the drive out to the Coachella Valley.  We stayed at La Quinta Resort (full disclosure: I have a secondary-level business relationship with them); we’ve stayed there before quite happily; we got in late, we were both exhausted and I had a sunup tee time on Sunday.  So it was an early to bed night.

SUNDAY:

6th hole at Desert Willow Firecliff. Yeah, that’s water if you’re short.

Up early for my tee time and drive to the first stop on my Tour Du Golf 2019 (Desert Willow).  I’ve played there before and was blown away at their hospitality, service and course conditions.  I had made a 6am tee time, and realized I was going to have an issue when it was dark at 6am.   I was supposed to play the Firecliff but they had called me to tell me they were switching their overseeding schedule and that I’d be playing the Mountain View over a month ago (which I really appreciated).  The pro shop let me know I’d be going out at 6:30 a.m. instead when there was ample light.  Played with a guy from Vancouver and we got around in just over 2 1/2 hours.   This despite a pretty strong wind that kicked up and was a legit factor on the entire back nine.  Didn’t play well but wasn’t really expecting much.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- Desert Willow is a fantastic example of what public golf can be.  Yes- you can have great playing conditions AND people who are service-oriented.  It’s a must-play.  Period.

Fairway on the 18th hole at Desert Willow Mountain View. I’d suggest not going right.

Dinner was at Eureka; burgers, charcoal lemonade (try it) and their mac & cheese balls for an appetizer.  Being hungry, we went to Lappert’s for dessert (had the Dole Whip which is outstanding).  We’ve eaten at Eureka before and the food was once again really good.  Lappert’s is a must-stop for dessert; they have a ton of ice cream options but the can’t-find-it-anywhere-else Dole Whip remains my preferred option.

MONDAY: The last 2 times I’ve been in the desert, Silver Rock has been closed for overseeding, so finding them open was a pleasant surprise.  I had heard good things and I was very excited to play this course.  Driving out there, I was hoping to be delighted.  I wanted to be delighted.  I really, really, really wanted to love this place.

1st hole at Silver Rock. It’s beautiful.

I wasn’t.  The trailer that was their pro shop (they’re building a resort on the property) didn’t really bother me; in fact the lady in the pro shop was probably the highlight of the day.  She was nice enough and was incredibly nice.

5th hole at Silver Rock. Be accurate or you’re in serious trouble.

Their starter/marshal was fun in the same way a colonoscopy is fun.  I just wanted to hit a few chips and roll a few putts before my 6:30 a.m. tee time.  Which he moved to 6:50 “because” (his words).  I explained that I had made the time, and that there was plenty of light.  Didn’t care.  “You made it on the internet…you could have made that up for all I know.”  At this point I felt like I was part of a Club Pro Guy skit.  So we had to track out over hill and dale, which was fine.  I asked about using the putting green by the first tee and was told “it’s under repair” (no signage that would indicate this).  His attitude was that of your average DMV employee being asked to do something at 5 minutes before their shift ends.  Not really sure what the guy’s deal was, but it’s a terrible first impression.  At the first tee I got paired up with an old guy with the shakes, the guy in my cart, and Vinny who ticked every possible box for a guy named Vinny down to the yellow convertible sports car.  Vinny was beyond terrible, insisted on playing from the tips, and was painfully slow.   On two occasions I got a lecture from their player assistant as the group behind us was riding our asses and I had politely tried to suggest we pick up the pace a bit.  If I was in my own cart I’d have bailed after nine holes.  It was that bad, but Sargent Golf Police paired us up and the 9th hole is nowhere near the clubhouse. Finished the round only to get hustled by their staff; look I appreciate the “let me wipe your clubs down” but maybe ask first?  Also, if I decline the offer (mostly because it took over 4 hours to play PLUS starting 20 minutes late because your starter has a tiny penis) don’t get huffy with me and pull the “self righteous indignation” card.  If you hadn’t pissed me off and I’m not short on time I probably say have at it.  After this?  Get bent.

16th hole at Silver Rock. Don’t be short. Or right. Or long. Or very left.

The course itself?  A whale of a track.  A challenge if you don’t know it.  Very easy to get into trouble if you get wild, and very few week holes.  Swap out their existing staff for the Desert Willow folks and you’d have something truly amazing.  Keep Sargent Golf Police and it’s a hard pass from me.  This hurts because trashing a place isn’t my style.  I came here hoping to be blown away and my standards are pretty low.  I wasn’t. After picking up SWIRIC after her massage (I didn’t want to make her late) we ate at Rubio’s (don’t have them here so it doesn’t violate my “don’t eat what we can get at home” rule), and had an outstanding dinner at Cork & Fork.  She had the prix fixe, I think I had one of their brick oven pizzas.  We both had a Spanish Cava that was outstanding.

TUESDAY: Went to lunch at Elmer’s over in Palm Springs (she had the German pancake, I opted for an omelet).  I know it’s a coffee shop/diner but damn their food is great.  Even my biscuit was perfection; light, fluffy and just a bit of sweetness.  Didn’t play since my body isn’t currently set up to handle 3+ consecutive days of play.  Did a bit of shopping at the outlets and had dinner at French Rotisserie Cafe in La Quinta and was reminded that a simple roast chicken and frites can be wonderful if cooked correctly (they were).

Roast chicken and frites (Rose wine not pictured) at French Rotisserie Cafe. Yum.

WEDNESDAY:

Their lit putting course at Indian Wells Golf Resort. This looks like it could be really fun.

After Monday’s disappointment, I was cautiously optimistic that Indian Wells (Celebrity) would be better.  It was certainly more expensive.  Happy to say it was worth it.  Very much worth it.  It’s amazing how, when you’re treated like a customer and not like a problem things can go.  A warm welcome from everyone at the course which didn’t match the weather; it was downright cool when I got there and I was glad I brought my wind-shirt.  Almost smart of me.

2nd hole at Indian Wells (Celebrity) course. I’ve just chunked my 7 iron and will be carding another bogey. As you were.

I got paired up with brothers from Montreal (their Canadiens stuff was a dead giveaway) and a local.  Their pace of play wasn’t great but since I was riding solo I broke away from them and got around in my usual speedy pace.

10th hole at Indian Wells. Found the fairway, and managed to card a decent score for the back nine.  It hasn’t been overseeded yet.

On the 11th hole I ran into a player assistant and I immediately feared getting a dressing down for breaking away.  Nope.  “Who cares?  You’re having fun, we’re happy you’re here, have a great day.”  This?  This right here?  This six seconds of not being a jerk?  You won me over.  Sure, I paid $149 to play at Indian Wells and only $82 at Silver Rock, but that difference is the difference between being treated like a valued customer and an interruption of one’s day.  You had me at “we’re happy you’re here”.  I’m really that easy to please.

Yes- as you can see parts of Indian Wells (and my final round at TPC Stadium Course at PGA West) were a bit burned out (they were overseeding their other course but as of today’s publication date both have been done).  I’ve come to expect as much this time of year.  It happens.  Still playable.

15th or 16th hole at Indian Wells Celebrity Course. Stay out of the bunkers and the water. But that view. HELL YES.

Didn’t play well on the front side but on the back side, I found my groove.  Birdied 18 to finish the back nine at one over.

From 150 to the pin; hit it to 12 feet and drained the putt for a closing birdie. A nice finish to a great time out.

After finishing up we had an early lunch at Louise’s Pantry in La Quinta; very golf-themed (tons of autographed golf photos on the walls) and a solid breakfast/lunch menu.  My patty melt was exactly what I wanted; the fries were piping hot and well-cooked (nothing is worse than lukewarm fries).

After lunch and logging some pool time, we headed out to dinner.  For dinner we celebrated at local favourite LG’s steakhouse.  The steaks were as expected; we split a bottle of red blend wine that we like.  The au gratin potatoes were a bit buttery for my taste; probably go with the mashed potatoes next time.  They weren’t bad, but they definitely didn’t go light on the butter or cream!

THURSDAY

2nd hole at PGA West Stadium Course. Good luck finding a level lie out there.

 

Woke up not feeling great which happens to coincide with how I felt the last time I played at a PGA West course (then it was the Nicklaus tournament course).  Luckily, a regular coke over ice helped to soothe things.  I was playing the Stadium course and I had no real expectations on how I was going to do other than I hoped to not completely embarrass myself.  The staff were incredibly courteous, helpful and friendly (special nod to the beverage cart driver; we saw her 4 times and she couldn’t have been nicer).  You “could” argue that for $119 off-season they should be nice, but I came away impressed with the service.

7th hole at PGA West Stadium Course. Don’t go right. Seriously. Not even on your 2nd shot. DO. NOT. GO. RIGHT.

Got paired up with an older guy who played there quite a bit and he helped more than a bit since he knew a couple danger spots that helped me out in terms of strategy.  I didn’t play great but I did manage to par the last 3 holes (including 17; their infamous island green hole).    The course was in “okay” shape (several burned out spots) but it was slated for closure in a few days for overseeding (fair credit to this information being posted).  Didn’t bother me that much but some might feel otherwise (the greens were in great shape).

17th hole at PGA West Stadium Course. This will make your butt pucker. Happy to say I hit the green and 2-putted for a par. No real bail-out area.

The Stadium Course is still used as the ‘main’ course for the PGA Tour Desert Classic in January when I’m guessing it’ll look fantastic.  It’s a tough course for us mortals, and I’m dead certain the pros will go low; a reminder that they’re more than good.  After finishing up we had lunch at nearby Heirloom Kitchen.  It was really good; my breakfast burrito was exactly what I wanted.  If you’re vegan they have several vegan options (I’m not, but I’m glad that they have these options available).  After lunch we headed into downtown Palm Springs for drinks at the Tonga Hut (a Tiki bar that is completely sans irony; just a great place that has preserved the days of Tiki which isn’t a bad thing).  Our mai-tais were delicious; we watched the street fair set up and then walked around a bit and did some shopping for friends back home. Dinner was at Toscano’s Italian Sports Bar; my pizza was much better than I was expecting and the breadsticks were good (very buttery).

I always enjoy the vibe of the area; it just feels different than most of Southern California.  In a good way.

FRIDAY:

Time to pack up and head back over the mountain to see some extended family.   We always have a great time in the desert and some day, I’d like to hang my hat there and call it home.  The heat doesn’t really bother me (at least it’s not swamp-like), and not having to worry about snow removal and ice storms would be nice.  The next time out I’d consider flying into Palm Springs airport just to see what it’s like (I’ve heard good things).

APOLOGY:

Work has kept me really busy after I got back from vacation so there’s been quite a delay in getting this out.  Weather here in the DMV went from warm to winter pretty much overnight, so this is pretty much it for 2019.  Clubs were taken out of my car.    I’ll still write, but the odds of me playing again this year are pretty slim unless we get some kind of a warmup (waiting for frost delays isn’t really my idea of fun).

Got a few things in the proverbial cooker but for now I will keep them under wraps.

 

 

 

 

Labor Day and Something’s Missing

From the 2nd tee at Rattlewood. I make a long shadow at sunup. Can’t really explain that it looks like my arms are out. They’re not.

Hope you’re enjoying your Labor/Labour Day.  After running a bunch of errands I had something of a brain cramp because I was convinced that today was the final round of a Playoff event, but thanks to the Tour’s new schedule, your only option is the final round of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship (which I’d like to see get elevated to NBC for the final two rounds).  The Champions and LPGA Tours wrapped up on Sunday as did the European Tour.

9th hole at Rattlewood. All about getting your second shot close unless you’re a REAL bomber and can hit a draw that stops on an elevated green that slopes hard from right to left.

Not to beat a dead horse but there’s no reason for the PGA Tour to avoid Labo(u)r Day weekend, but we digress.  I’m not the first one to suggest this, but a West Coast Tour Championship (whispers softly…use Riviera on a mini-rota with Olympic Club, LACC and maybe Chambers Bay) in prime time over Labor Day weekend gets you eyeballs you’re otherwise not getting.

No golf next weekend as I’ve got commitments both days but I plan on playing the following two weeks before heading on vacation.  Plus, I’ll admit to being a bit gun-shy about potential impact from Hurricane Dorian (all the best to everyone in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas).

I played Saturday at Rattlewood fearful of rust from not having played in two weeks; no issues.  Got off to a good start and had as good of day with my irons as I’ve had in some time, with 11 GIR.  Didn’t convert much (1 birdie and 35 putts), but a 78 is never bad.  Had a bit of a blow-up on 18 where I had to make a 15 foot putt to save bogey, but overall a good round.

12th hole at Rattlewood. Just over 225 from the blue tee; playing 230+. Hit a 3 wood to 18 feet, putt to tap-in distance for a very satisfying par on a hole that’s closer to a par 3 1/2.

Less than four weeks before I head to the desert on vacation for the first time in two years.  Looking forward to it.

SONG OF THE DAY

 

Dog Day August Mornings

Finally playing decent enough to use this bag. It took long enough.

Played each of the last 2 Saturday mornings.  Let’s go to the tape:

From 8/10 at Falls Road. It was actually cool- glad I grabbed a wind-shirt. The guy with the Patriots bag was great to play with. No comment about his lifestyle choices.

Played 8/10 at Falls Road.  On a rare Saturday morning that was crisp, cool and felt like a taste of fall, I had my lowest score in over 3 years, posting a 77 that could and should have been lower.  Falls Road is a course that still holds up as a decent challenge despite lacking length.  I remember playing a golf league there through a former employer and having many happy 9-hole rounds during summer evenings.

My gallery approving of saving par from the bunker on 14.

The course, like pretty much everyone, has taken a beating from our two-month long heat wave with several holes having burned out spots that were spongy with rain from storms.  Greens were in decent shape for the most part.  I played with a couple solid citizens who were Pushcart Mafia members.  Great guys.  My knee, ankle and hip problems have made walking a non-starter, but I’ve got all day for Pushcart Mafia members.  You’re always aces in my book.  Falls Road is not a crusher walk-wise.  The only change of note is that the tennis club that was near the 10th-11th-12th holes is gone.  Looks like home construction but couldn’t confirm anything.  10 and 12 were cart path only (luckily my tee shot on 12 was pretty close to the path so I didn’t have to repel down to the fairway.

Played 8/17 at Poolesville.

Just teed off on #1. Two members of the Pushcart Mafia are ahead of me while I stop to tie my shoes.

If you discount that Google Maps can’t seem to find the goddamn place much less get me back home coupled with having to run to the first tee to make my time (I hit my tee shot on #1 with my shoes untied), getting lost on the way home because Google Maps seemed to think I wanted to go home by taking my car through Virginia (talk about going around your elbow to get to your asshole), it wasn’t bad, I guess.

 

Unlike the previous Saturday it was hot, humid and buggy.  Very humid.  I finished the round a quart low, if you will.  So if you play Poolesville, bring bug spray.  They have water stations but the water wasn’t exactly ice cold and refreshing.  More like tap water, which is frankly a million miles better than nothing, but still.  Honestly the Outbreak hazmat suit might not be a bad option.  I used bug spray and still got a few bites so be warned.  The greens were in good shape (not exactly lightning fast, but they rolled true).  Some of the tee boxes were pretty beat up, which I’d attribute to the weather.  You water to keep the grass from dying, and naturally you get thunderstorms which turns the burnt-out turf into swampy marsh.

3rd shot into the 12th hole after I chopped out of the junk. Nothing like draining a 20 foot putt to save bogey.

The layout is, with one exception (#11) all out in front of you.  No blind shots.  Fairways were a bit furry which I’d attribute to not wanting them to burn out.  They tend to be narrow; most holes are tree-lined with fairly wide roughs before hitting the tree line.

16th hole at Poolesville. Wanna hit one straight? Aim right and try to play a draw. I ended up dry but difficult. I am a stupid sometimes.

Work commitments will keep me away next weekend so Labor Day weekend will be the next time I tee it up.  Hopefully we will get a long-term break from the heat and have an early start to fall.  Please.

I will probably miss most of the final rounds of the Tour Championship, which is fine given that the format is asinine.  As I noted previously, I’m looking forward to the team with the best record in the Super Bowl getting a 2-touchdown lead, and the team with the best record in the World Series getting five outs in the first three innings.

Hit ’em straight.

Oak Creek Review and 2nd Swing Review

Oak Creek 1st hole. Pretty straightforward.

As I head into the Senior Tour age group, I played one final round as a 40-something on Saturday at Oak Creek in Upper Marlboro.  I hadn’t been there before and have heard some promising things.  Overall, it’s an interesting layout that is definitely NOT walkable under any circumstances.  The course is built into a gated housing development (they’re pretty serious about it; the course is considered to be semi-private which I took to mean that residents had some kind of privileges which makes sense), and the distances between the 1st and 2nd holes combined with the 9th and 10th holes are exhaustive  (and involve crossing a busy street).  It’s pretty tree-lined on most holes so being accurate off the tee is important.  The vast majority of holes are straightforward.  A few dogleg holes here and there but nothing particularly crazy.

8th hole at Oak Creek. Avoid right, bit of a bail-out left and short.

What I liked:

  • Most holes have bail-out areas short and have chipping areas around the green.
  • The first hole is a true handshake hole; short par 4 that requires accuracy but otherwise not a brute.
  • Greens were straightforward; no multi-tier greens with severe breaks.
  • Pro shop seemed to be well-stocked and has a grab and go area for beverages and snacks.
  • Bermuda tee boxes and fairways were in decent shape.
  • Six sets of tees with distances ranging from 6,980 (tips) to 4,443 (orange).
  • Scorecard had tee box my handicap index recommendations.  I’d suggest posting this on the 1st tee in plain view.
  • Saw a few water stations that seemed to be fresh (on a warm and humid morning ice water is really, really good).

4th hole at Oak Creek, waiting for the first group. Like putting JB Holmes and Patrick Cantlay out first. You drive through the barn on the right, and if you’re Brian Burke, you can have a barn fight!

What I didn’t like:

  • Greens were in less than ideal shape.  The biggest issue was the large number of un-repaired ball marks.  If I were the superintendent I’d be livid.  Not sure why.  I know that outings are notorious for ignoring them (not an excuse on any level).  I’d strongly suggest making this an issue, and go over how to repair a ball-mark.  I made a point of fixing mine plus at least 1 on every hole.  I’d suggest mentioning this to groups.  I can see how the greens could be really good with this happening.
  • Roughs had several dead areas.  I’m inclined to give the course a break on this one given how hot and humid July has been (the Bermuda fairways were, for the most part, in decent shape).  Tee boxes were hit and miss.  Being tree lined you also had some shady areas that may not be getting much sunlight.
  • The first group out (we were 2nd) was a foursome whose pace of play was glacial (very much got the vibe that they were members or something).  We passed them after the 5th hole after getting tired of waiting on them on every shot.  The marshal we ran into between 12 and 13 admitted as much.  Again, if you don’t tell them to pick up the pace they never will.  Your first groups should be fast players.  You don’t put slowpokes out first.
  • No half-way house (the routing kind of meanders through the development), no beverage cart.  Their email said that they would send out a beverage cart based on demand so at least they explained their policy.  Even an ice machine/water station would be nice.

13th hole from the tee box. Visually intimidating but some bail-out areas abound.

Overall it’s not bad.  If you’re playing on a weekend note that it’s near Six Flags America so take that into account for driving.  The exit that they tell you to take on the Beltway is closed (15A); I took 15B and made liberal use of my u-turn skills.  It’s also easy to get to off of 301.  If you have a tee time on a Sunday when the Redskins have a home game (the stadium is 1-2 exits away) be warned.  In the end, I had fun.  It’s a 45-60 minute hike for me so I may not be in a massive rush to play it again, but unfortunately this seems to becoming the new normal for golf.

1ST VISIT TO 2ND SWING

So having been curious since they opened, I went to the new 2nd Swing in Columbia this afternoon not knowing what to expect.  I was…impressed.

When the pushcart mafia rolls up on you they mean business.

  • Clubs were sorted by brand and style (woods, irons, wedges) in a very straight-forward and easy to find fashion.  Prices were sorted by condition.
  • Ton of kids and beginner sets.
  • Nearly a dozen hitting bays that were huge.  I mean YUUUUGE.
  • Large area for putters with plenty of space and a separate fitting station that was getting used.   I was really impressed; if I was in the market for a new flat stick I’d definitely visit.
  • Decent selection of bags (mostly cart bags with some carry bags).
  • Solid selection of soft goods (balls, hats, etc.).
  • They also had a station doing new/replacement grips.

Near a long row of hitting bays and an aisle of clubs. Not pictured- they have a few stations with Trackman.

I walked out with two new hats (my preferred brand/style) and a new towel (my preferred brand) for far less than I’d pay otherwise.  It’s a fantastic addition to the area and a welcome option (I love Golf Galaxy but getting over there on a weekend while fighting Costco traffic is at best difficult).

Play well, stay cool, and here’s to plenty of pars, birdies and eagles.

 

 

 

Northwest Park News and Notes

Northwest Park 1st Hole. Which used to be the 10th hole. It’s not. Until they re-re-re-change things up.

Outing (Ow-teeng): A group of individuals having an activity.  Occasionally golf.

Shotgun (shawt-gun): A weapon often with a long neck. Often used for hunting.  A method of starting a golf tournament.

Scramble (skram-bull): A method of egg cooking.  Also a style of play in a golf tournament.

Played at Northwest Park yesterday for the first time since spring 2017.  Rather than a long soliloquy, let’s skip to the main points:

The good:

  • They changed up the nines so what used to be the 10th hole is now the first.  The short uphill par 4 is now the 9th hole; the new 18th is the old 9th with the elevated tee to a valley and a slightly uphill green.
  • Service is still good.  One of the bigger grill areas for muni courses and a great practice facility.
  • Bunkers were in great shape.
  • Roughs were mowed and manageable while maintaining a challenge.

The not so good:

  • Conditions weren’t great.  Not terrible by any means, but definitely off a notch since the last time I was there.  Some of the tee boxes were pretty beat up, and they have aerated many of the areas in front of the greens which will hopefully improve things towards late summer and into fall.
  • Have to think some of the conditioning issues were because of last week’s heat wave (they did have a sign up about warning people that they’d be watering).  Last year it never stopped raining; this year has been more than a bit drier.  Never mind that July has been hot as hell pretty much the entire month.
  • Greens weren’t bad but found several holes with un-repaired ball marks (this isn’t on the course, this is on people that are too lazy/stupid/guilty of being assholes who either don’t think or care about repairing ball marks).
  • Went out early and ran smack into an outing of septuagenarian foursomes playing at a pace of play that could be charitably called glacial.  In case you wondered what it would be like to play behind JB Holmes, Patrick Cantlay and their even-slower grandfathers.

It’s still a fantastic layout and the inside nine is a great option for novice players.  But rethink the outings to later in the day and not on a Saturday morning.  Go play it.  Seriously.

I’m Still Here!

Sunrise at Rattlewood from the 3rd hole. It’s moments like this that make getting up at 4am worth it.

I know it’s been forever since my last blog, but work has kept me very busy (which I’ll happily take over the alternative) as I feel like I’m having to learn things I should have learned a long time ago but was too busy working to actually learn this foundation-level knowledge.  In a lot of ways, I stumbled into my profession because an opportunity came available and I took it.  It’s not like I have a degree in this field.

Anyway, April was a bit of a blur.  The dog we adopted back in February attacked and bit one of our friends (doing considerable damage) so we surrendered the dog to the group we adopted it from.  Last we heard the dog was working with a trainer on his behavioral issues.  Suffice to say, it was a bad time all around.  Greyhounds aren’t known for aggressive behavior so it came as a real shock.

Plus, I started having pain issues.  In the back of my mind, decades of playing collision sports were eventually going to catch up with me and they have.  After two months of tests, x-rays, therapy and appointments I found out I have arthritis in my left knee, which is where all of the force goes on my downswing.  So now it’s about managing it.  On the bright side, the years of heavy drinking, smoking, dalliances with controlled substances and other stupid decisions I’m none the worse for wear, but it was definitely a scared-straight moment.

May was equally hectic.  She Who Is Really in Charge and I celebrated 16 years together and there was all kinds of other goings-on…all of which meant no golf.  On June 1st we brought home a new greyhound (after much debate we kept his foster name of Linus).   Linus is the kind of lovable goofball that we were hoping for.  Super sweet, loves people, and is seemingly always happy.

Linus coming home with us. My shoulder is on the left side of the photo. He wanted to sit in the front seat the entire drive back (2 hours).

So it wasn’t until early June that I finally got back on the horse, as it were.  Some short recaps:

Played Sunday the 9th at Compass Pointe on the South/West routing.  The course is in significantly better shape than it was in early 2017.  The bermuda tees and fairways look great and the greens were in good shape as well.  I’ll be honest- I thought this course was on its last legs 2 years ago but it’s pulled a 180.

1st hole, South/West Course. In the fairway off the tee.

Played Fathers Day at Hampshire Greens.  Got paired up with some kid in his 20’s who didn’t say five words, spent the entire round on his phone, walked on my line on three occasions and didn’t understand how shadows work.  Course was in decent shape.  Pace of play was abysmal due to our 20-something and his Kevin Na-Patrick Cantlay swing routine.  Is there a nice way to say “HIT THE FUCKING THING”?  Reminder that playing on Fathers Day is, at best, a lottery for all the wrong reasons.

Played at UMD Golf Course on 7/6.  Please let this course be around in ten years.  Course was in pretty good shape with one or two minor exceptions.   Can’t say enough about the staff friendliness.  Had a great time; hope to return.

UMD golf course at sunrise. 1st hole. This will do quite nicely.

Played 7/13 at Rattlewood.  As always, I had a great time.  It’s a fun course that has enough challenge to keep you awake but isn’t an absolute brute.  It’ll (pardon the pun) bite you but at 6,500 yards from the tips you don’t have to crush it off the tee and for the most part, the fairways are pretty generous.

Looking forward (as always) to the Open Championship.  It remains (in my opinion) the best of the four.  They don’t overthink course setup, they don’t try to protect par, and you know going in that weather is going to be a factor.  Hopefully Portrush will provide a worthy test.

 

 

Back On Course, Local Golf News

Ready to go. Let’s do this.

I’ve managed a practice session and 3 rounds in the last four weeks, which is huge improvement from 2018 which was bad on a host of levels.

Played at Waverly Woods on 3/24.  Course was, in parts, still looking in winter mode which is understandable given how cold it was in early/mid March.  Greens were in decent shape all things considered (they’ve since aerated fairways, I’m not sure about greens).  It remains the best public track in the county.  Pace of play was great; we were the first group out (as a threesome) but let a twosome play through and never saw them again (note- letting a faster group through is the right thing to do).  Glad I did it, and I’d do it again.

Played at Timbers at Troy on 3/30.  Timbers was, at one point, the best in the county but Waverly has passed them.  Still the case.  When I played it didn’t appear that fairways/tee boxes or greens had been aerated, and I haven’t seen any news from them about aeration.  The course was in better shape than the last time I was there.  Pace of play was a real issue.  My opinion may not be universal but a 4 1/2 hour round on an early Saturday morning when we waited on literally every shot isn’t acceptable.  At one point you had 4 groups on the 13th hole (the short downhill par 4).

Played at Rattlewood on 4/6.  Rattlewood is never going to be on anyone’s “best of” tracks, and it doesn’t need to be.  It’s a solid, playable public track.  Greens had been punched a week ago and were rolling pretty good.  The fairways were, for the most part, in good shape.  The roughs haven’t grown in, which is either a blessing or a curse depending on your perspective.  I’ve said this before, but from the tips it’s 6,500 yards and a very approachable 6,100 from the white tees.

So three rounds in, and all things considered, not a bad start.  The next few weeks are going to be a no-go period for me for a few reasons, but I’ll hopefully find a way to sneak one out.

POURING ONE OUT

A bit late on this, but Redgate Golf Course in Rockville is closed.  It’s unfortunate because it served a need and was a solid layout that, at one time, had outstanding greens save for 1 or 2 holes.  The article says they’d need around $2.5 million to do needed repair and refurbishment.  I played a ton of rounds there and always had a soft spot for it.

Cross Creek Golf Club is closed and not coming back.  I can remember when it opened back in 2003 and was, at the time, a big deal when you had a lot of upscale daily fee courses opening.  It was part of a housing development, and hosted an LPGA Symetra Tour event in 2003 and 2004.  Unfortunately, the place has been in a death spiral for some time and it’s gone.  The link is to the Cross Creek HOA.  I feel bad for the homeowners who are seeing their course not be maintained which doesn’t help anyone.

Both courses being gone knocks 36 holes of public golf out of the area, which isn’t good for anyone.  It also means that Montgomery County Golf now controls every public course in the county (in a perfect world they’d have taken it over and turned it around).  It’s not that Montgomery County Golf is bad (they’re not), but reducing inventory doesn’t help anyone.  I’d still argue that Cross Creek and Redgate (being properly maintained) help the area.  The more options that exist for young, aspiring and mid-high handicap players, the better.

Doing Some Spring Cleaning

Say hi to Bear, the newest member of the team here at Single Golfer in Cart. Bear is currently an administrative trainee and living room rug supporter.

Note from your faithful scribe: you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been writing much.  I started a new job in early January and it’s kept me busy (which is a nice situation to have; I’m happy so far and if we ever get some decent weather I hope to get my butt back on the course where it belongs).  I’ll still write but the frequency of posts may not be as much as you may have come to expect.  I’ll be happy to refund your money.  No, seriously.

Kona was more than a dog. He kept me going during some pretty dark days in 2018.

Additionally, back in December I had to say goodbye to Kona, who appeared here (and in the above photo that was not staged-I found him this way).  Devastated would be a fairly accurate way to describe my mood at the time.  Kona was that rare dog who got along with anyone and everyone.  We brought him home in 2011 and he pretty much had the place down pat within 30 minutes.  As we learned, in early December he had a series of several strokes that effectively left him unable to stand, walk or function.  My only regret is that he went so quickly that we couldn’t have Kona’s Best Day Ever (he deserved it for sure).

2019 & LOOKING AHEAD:

Since we last spoke, things have been happening.  The new rules of golf went into effect in January and so far, calling it a goat rodeo might be the nicest thing written about it.  Look, I’m not one to be critical but every week has been a fiasco to one degree or another.  Slow play is still a problem, nobody seems to have clue one about where to drop a ball, backstopping is still happening, you have touring professionals purposely damaging a course and CBS/NBC/Golf Channel can’t seem to provide decent TV coverage.  Other than that, it’s going great.

That’s why I’m here, to help spruce up the place a bit.  I’m going to make a few slight changes for the betterment of everyone involved.  You can trust me; this won’t hurt much.

RULES CHANGES:

Ball drop: Stand and let your arms hang naturally.  That’s where you drop the ball from.  Simple enough?  Take more than 20 seconds to drop a ball and it’s a stroke penalty.  Drop the damn thing and make your play.  Let’s go!  While we still have daylight!

Rules: Players and their caddies will be required to attend a rules seminar conducted by Tour rules officials prior to being able to play in an event (officials will hold seminars during every fall series and West Coast event as will Web.com events for the first two months of their season).  Failure to attend renders the player ineligible to play in events.  Players who are new to the Tour must attend said seminar and pass a test on the rules as a condition of receiving their Tour card.  You’re busy?  Good.  You’re ineligible to participate in any event until you attend the seminar.

Pace of play: Borrowing from Peter Kessler (at some point I’m going to have to apologize for the snarky comments about the Perfect Club Infomercial, but not now), you get 60 seconds to hit a shot.  You get one warning, then it’s two strokes, then another two strokes, then a DQ (Kessler’s version goes right to a 2-stroke penalty; I’m giving you ONE warning).  I’m going to add some soccer-style accumulation penalties; after 5 bad times, you’re suspended for 30 days (No  tournaments, majors, nothing- oh, you were qualified for a major?  Too bad.  Should have thought of that before).  After 8 bad times, it’s 60 days.  After 10, it’s six months and ineligibility for FedEx Cup points/bonuses.  Oh, and going over two minutes doubles the penalty.  Looking at you, slowpokes.

Ball: Tournaments now have the option of stipulating a tournament ball for all competitors as a local rule, condition of competition.  Kessler wants the original ProV1 series, which is a good idea.  I like this, and will grant tournaments to mandate the use of a tournament ball as they see fit.  Pro tennis players can’t use their own brand of balls when they serve (each tournament committee decides this).  Just saying.

USGA: Peter Kessler is picking up what I’ve been putting down for years.  You’re done, USGA.  The door is to the right.  Don’t let it hit you on the way out.  Going forward, the local superintendent will now set up the course for USGA events.  I trust someone who knows every inch of that course over some part-time wannabe operating under the fantasy that par must be protected against the forces of evil.  Grow the rough up enough to produce the odd flier lie (and more importantly, make the players actually have to think).  The rough ‘should’ be a penalty of some kind.  Don’t turn the greens into cement.  I wouldn’t let Mike Davis within a mile of a golf course.  He’s done more damage to golf courses than vandals.

Purposeful Damage Of Any Part of a Course: Automatic DQ, forfeiture of FedEx Cup points (counter resets to zero).  Looking at you, Sergio and Bryson.  Second offense?  12-month suspension.  Third offense?   You’re done.  Gone.  Buh bye.  Lifetime suspension.

Backstopping: Any shot played from inside 30 yards that strikes a ball that hasn’t been marked will be two strokes for BOTH players.  Start carrying a ball marker coin or a couple dimes.

TV: It’s 2019.  How is it that the paste-eating stepchild of golf coverage (FOX) is the only network that manages a leader board on the screen at all times?  I guess I can see not having one on early round coverage, but on weekend coverage?  GET A DAMN LEADER-BOARD.  It won’t clutter things up.   You’ll inform the viewer, which seems like something you might want to do.  Oh, and Pro Tracer should be a requirement on par with HD broadcasts.   It’s 2019.  Multiple sports have mobile cameras that referees are wearing DURING PLAY.

  1. CBS: A total tear-down and rebuild is needed.  Nantz is becoming a caricature, Faldo doesn’t seem to understand how to inform and educate the viewer, McCord is trapped in some mid 1990’s time warp, and the rest of the lot brings very little to the table.  I’d keep Dottie Pepper, but the rest of the lot can go.  They need an anchor.  I’d gladly let Shane Bacon have the chair to see what he can do.  Analyst-wise, I’d start running some people; give them a few weeks and eventually find your lead analyst.   Let Nantz be the host for events at Pebble, Augusta and the PGA Championship (and yes- let him be in Butler Cabin for the green jacket ceremony) but let someone else be in the tower (think the Bob Costas role at NBC’s golf coverage when they had the US Open).
  2. FOX: Put Joe Buck in a baseball stadium.  Keep him far, far away from golf.  It hasn’t worked.  I told you.  I can’t surf, and Joe Buck can’t call golf.  I’m sure he’s a nice guy and a great dad, but he’s not good at calling golf.  Maybe just borrow Dan Hicks and Azinger from NBC for the week.
  3. NBC: Please, stop with the onslaught of commercials.  Seriously.  Playing Through helps, but still…it’s getting to the point where the coverage is becoming unwatchable.  And figure out what exactly it is that Feherty does.  He’s a former pro who played in the Ryder Cup.  I’m all for funny, but remind me what exactly it is that he brings to the telecast.  I’ve been beating this drum for a decade; if you’re doing tournaments and are a former touring professional, use that knowledge!  TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW OR WON’T KNOW.

FINES/SUSPENSIONS: Effective immediately, all fines and suspensions are to be announced publicly.  The NHL puts out videos reviewing what happens to cause a player to be suspended for an on-ice incident.  You’re telling me the PGA Tour can’t follow suit?  Show the video!  Or at least put something out along the lines of “During the third round of the Viagra Invitational Presented by Barca-lounger, Chandler Miller swore audibly after hitting his fifth shot on the 8th hole into a water hazard.  He then broke two clubs and threw them at his caddie.  The Player Disciplinary Tribunal has reviewed the footage, and assessed Mr. Miller a $45,000 fine and suspended him for next week’s Spirit Airlines Shootout Presented By Carling Black Label.”

You’re welcome, everyone.  Now let’s pray for some spring weather.

The First Annual SGIC Airing of the Grievances

It’s December 23rd, which is the official (sort of) day of Festivus.  A made-up holiday from a TV show (Seinfeld) about nothing.  Which somehow, seems perfect given where we are.  Don’t understand?  Fine, here’s an explanation:

For me, this started shortly after, when I was working for a large company who calls this area home.  This was my first exposure to the cube farm, and everyone in the group I was in decided to go all-in on decorating their cubes to celebrate Christmas (for the record, I don’t have an issue with Christmas but I do mind how one holiday has become a 10-week orgy of crass consumerism and people get into fistfights over buying things, and get worked into a blind rage over coffee cups, and saying ‘Happy Holidays’ as opposed to ‘Merry Christmas’).  For those of you who don’t know me, know that my default setting is that of a provocateur.  A shit-disturber.  Anyway, with everyone seemingly not doing their actual jobs and spending hours upon hours channeling their Martha Stewart-Sandra Lee “best” selves, I went the other way, and asked about why we weren’t honouring Festivus.  I brought in a Festivus pole, wrote a poem, challenged my coworkers to feats of strength, began airing my grievances, and generally caused a grand-canyon sized divide in the office.  You’re welcome.

In previous years, I’ve done the Santa thing and I may well come back to that in 2019.  But given what 2018 has been, I had a change of heart.  It started yesterday while I innocently sought something to eat and was subject to a mass of humanity surrounding me while I attempted to eat my lunch in relative peace.  Today, I had to go to Costco and I’d politely describe the crowd as being slightly more violent than the crowd at your average punk concert circa 1984.  I was not pleased.  The fuse was lit.

So on that note, allow me to pour myself a vat of bourbon, stand by the shiniest of Festivus poles, and air my grievances.  I’ve got a lot of problems with you people.

Patrick Reed: I’m not even sure where to begin.  You won a Masters and then turned into a full-blown diva.  Sorry those FREE Red Sox tickets weren’t good enough (there’s 200,000 kids in Boston who’d happily take them).  You showed your ass at the Ryder Cup and “allegedly” got into a fight with Dustin Johnson and had a spat with Tiger.  And seemingly everyone else.  Keep blaming everyone else.  I hope your game goes full Ian-Baker Finch, and you show up at Augusta in 2032 as your only event of the year where you post 88-84 and people have to wear helmets to see you play.

PGA Tour: The DC area has supported its tour stop through every possible form of weather known to man.  We’ve had a derecho, a Tuesday finish, flooded out courses, and more.  So thanks for bailing on us for other places.  Karma’s a bitch, as you’ll find out.  Eat it.

The “The US Ryder Cup Team Is Unbeatable” Think Pieces: Stop it.  The US is tough to beat on home soil.  Not so much when they’re playing in Europe.  Accept, breathe, move on.

Backstoppers: Just stop it already.  Mark your god damn ball, and not with a poker chip.  Just use a dime.  Simple.

CA Courses: Join the 21st century.  Every other course allows on-line bookings, but not you guys.  It would be one thing if Hobbits Glen and Fairway Hills were the Pine Valley of the area.  They’re not.  Both tracks are having some real problems right now.  Maybe, and I’m just spit-balling here but maybe don’t make us regular folks have to go through a rigmarole to make a damn tee time.  Every other course in the area literally makes it EASY to do business.  But not you guys.

The USGA: Shinnecock and Oakmont were supposedly incapable of being screwed up, and yet, you manage.  Do they have Paint Chip day for lunch on Tuesdays?  Maybe quit getting a collective boner over protecting par and let the course play.  Sure- grow the rough up but don’t turn the greens into parking lots.  Did you watch the Open Championship?  Notice how green the greens were?   Bingo.  Really looking forward to see how bad you can manage to screw up Pebble Beach next June.

People Who Yell Crap During Tournaments: The second time someone yelled Baba Booey it stopped being funny.  Just stop.  I hope these people get thrown into an active volcano.

Guys Who Dress In Full PGA Tour Pro Scripting:  Were you not loved as a child?  Black pants and a red shirt when it’s 95 degrees and swamp-like doesn’t make you cool.  All-orange?  Who hurt you?

People Who Don’t Fix Divots and Ballmarks:  While you’re standing there picking your nose waiting for your partner to plumb-bob a 4-footer to save triple bogey, fix that mini-crater you made.  Divot repair tools are cheap.  Hell, I’ll GIVE YOU ONE.  You’re in the fairway.  After you take a snowboard-sized divot laying over your 7-iron, replace it.  Divot gone?  Great- take some of that mixture that’s in your cart and pour it in the hole.  Smooth over.  Done.

Guys Who Flirt With the Beverage Cart Girl: She’s old enough to be your daughter.  So stop it.  Plus, there’s probably several groups being held up while you pull this crap.  So don’t.  Seriously.  How would you like it if you were trying to get something done and people were bothering you?  Buy your stuff, tip well, and move along.  If you really had game she’d flirt with you.  And ask for your number.

People Who Don’t Rake Bunkers:  Unless the course treats bunkers as waste areas, rake it.  No, it’s not going to slow you down.  Have one of your playing partners mark your ball while you rake, and they can finish out.  Simple.

Courses Who Don’t Notify About Aeration:  You lying and crooked bastards.  Note that “if” you aerate and post it, I’ll be MORE inclined to play at your course.  Because you’re being honest, and that works for me.  It happens in the spring and again in the late summer/fall.  We understand.  So tell the truth and you shall be rewarded.

The People Trying to Put an End to UMD Golf Course:  God forbid we have a public course inside the beltway AND a home for the men’s and women’s golf teams.  Seriously- get bent all of you.  It’s not some swanky private club.  It’s open to the public.  AND, it’s a fantastic layout that gets pretty regular use by the public.  How many damn football fields does the football team need?  It’s not like they’re any good.  Sure glad they spent all that money adding seats at the stadium that sit empty.

High Handicappers Who Play From the Tips:  Oh, you want to see all of it…great.  Turn what should be a 4-hour round into a 5+hour slog and grind the course to a halt.  Check your ego, and play from a set of tees more in line with your game.  You’ll have fun and you’ll finish sooner.

People Who Use Poker Chips as Ball Markers: You sort of destroy the point of a ballmarker.  Use a dime.  Save the chips for the casino or your poker night.

The Golf Ball Picker-Upper: Take a minute or two to find your ball.  If not, drop and take a penalty stroke.  Stopping to pick up balls…seriously?  Balls aren’t that expensive.  No, I don’t want one.  By all means, sneak back once it’s dark and help yourself.

The Caddyshack Guy:  Look, when I played beer league hockey you’d have Slap Shot guy.  And once or twice a game it’s funny.  Same goes for Caddyshack guy.  When we’re at the turn and you’ve made a dozen references nobody’s laughing.  We’re all hoping a grizzly bear comes along and eats you.

May your Festivus pole be bright and shiny!  And remember- when you tell someone how they’ve disappointed you in the last year, it’s because you care.

 

 

 

 

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