Category: Uncategorized (page 4 of 4)

Thoughts nobody asked for

Finishing up my most recent round (a rather desultory affair) quicker than normal (always a good thing), I decided to stop by the practice green before heading home (putting has always been a challenge for me, and I have the 3-putts to prove it). Which got me thinking.

I grew up watching hockey and this time of year is easily my favourite- the Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing, the PGA Tour is going, and the weather is great. It was thinking about hockey (and the thought of being able to play golf this morning and watch a playoff game tonight featuring my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs). I have friends who have kids who play hockey (the cost makes golf seem cheap) and at one point I coached youth hockey in the area (at a program geared toward beginners). The league (and all youth hockey) requires that players wear full face cages and doesn’t allow fighting (and the league I coached didn’t allow body checking). Which led me back to golf, and the current furor over anchoring putters.

Every pro hockey league except the NHL requires players to wear visors, and the NCAA requires full facial protection. Even Canadian major-junior hockey requires visors (they also require the certified visors which are affixed differently than the visors you see in the NHL) and they also require kevlar neck guards and the helmets to have ear flaps. In short, different rules at different playing levels.

But what about football? Different rules. Receivers only have to have one foot in-bounds for a catch, and there’s the whole college football overtime thing. Kickoffs are different as well.

But what about basketball? Games are of different length, players have different numbers of fouls before disqualification, and the number of time-outs per game is different.

Baseball? College baseball uses aluminum/titanium/stealth bomber material bats, and yet, the pros only use wood bats.  So different rules for different levels.

And yet golf, which by every account would like to see the game grow, has its governing bodies trying to force amateurs and casual players to play under the same rules as professionals.  Most of the casual golfers I know are honorable people who play by the rules, but like everyone we have our “circle of trust/friendship” for conceded putts and during early season rounds we’ll play “winter rules” or roll it over in the fairway if it’s in a divot.

I don’t use a long putter (tried one once and hated it)…I’m fully capable of missing putts with my conventional 35-inch model…but if you (or anyone else) wants to use a long putter…have at it.

The dichotomy goes further in golf…the PGA of America has correctly pushed a “tee it forward” in order to have faster rounds.  If we followed the consistency based on the governing bodies we’d all play from the same set of tees.  I’ve had the pleasure of teeing it up at two courses used by the PGA Tour.  I’ve seen the tee boxes they use, and no thank you.  A 502 yard hole is a par 5 for me.  If Messrs Mickelson, Watson, Woods, etc. play that as a par 4 then good on them.

So yes, any events conducted by the R&A or USGA ban anchoring.  The PGA Tour should probably go that route as well along with the European Tour and LPGA Tour.  Casual golfers could then decide for themselves.  There are enough serious golfers who’d want to play using a conventional putter as they have designs on amateur championships.  But for a bunch of my fellow 10-handicappers…let them choose for themselves.   The game is hard enough as it is.  In the end, we play because we enjoy it.  It’s not our job (it’s what I do to escape from the stresses of my job).

Round #3- Fairway Hills

Played an early morning round at Fairway Hills…took a chance on walking on, and lucked out.  It was only chilly this morning and not the “holy crap why did I wear shorts” cold I’ve managed so far this year.  Played with a threesome that were nice enough but unforunately, the concept of “ready golf” hasn’t yet hit them. One of the big problems of being a SGIC is when you get stuck with the folks that, while nice enough, give you the stink eye as you head off with them.

Fairway Hills (and it’s tougher sister course Hobbits Glen) went to bermuda grass for the tees and fairways several years ago; while it means they do great in our inevitable hot summers, bermuda is brown when it’s dormant (and it stays dormant until it warms up). You can play off it fine, but it’s brown. A week of nice weather this week means it’s slowly starting to go green but for now, it still has that redolent look of being brown.

I tried to explain this to the guys I was playing with but they were seemingly content believing the course was shoddy (it’s not).  Greens were in decent shape; I’d put this down to everyone in the region still recovering from their post-winter aeration/punching.

Fairway Hills is a very odd course; there are some short holes where you can make pars and birdies and a few holes that you could blow up (#5 and #16 for starters).  Overall, a nice day out (it was warming up nicely as I putted out on 18 while the threesome I played were arguing over something from 17).

Fairway Hills will never be my favourite course…it’s not walkable (too far between holes) and there are some holes that are backups waiting to happen (#5 being a prime example- a forced carry over a native wetlands followed by a layup to a tiny landing area and a third to an elevated green with trouble all around it).  But, they work with the First Tee and have a good set of forward tees for golfers new to the game.

Note to my fellow golfers: if you have a single assigned to your group, there’s a better than good chance that we’re not a homicidal murderer or some form of similar lowlife.  Just throwing that out there.

 

Round #2

Played at Redgate in Rockville yesterday…despite a cold wind it was a nice day.  Course was, for the most part, in good shape (the cold March and some pretty bad t-storms on Friday evening aren’t anyone’s fault).  The old SGWC played with a rare friend who doesn’t give me the stink-eye (in fact I think I contributed to him getting the golf bug as bad as he did…you’re welcome).

A full review to follow, but a few mentions about Redgate Golf Course:

-Folks in the pro shop were very polite and friendly and not the “whaddya want” attitude I’ve experienced a few years ago.  The gentleman who was working was apologetic about it being “cart path only” (given we had strong t-storms on Friday night, it’s understandable- several bunkers had standing water and there were at least half a dozen not small puddles in fairway and greenside areas).

-The starter was a nice guy as well.  Look- we’re playing golf!  It’s supposed to be fun so starters that see themselves as some kind of “Checkpoint Charlie” types…ugh.

-Played (as is my want) as part of the dawn patrol.  I play fast (our twosome wasn’t trying to set a speed record, but by playing ready golf and having a reasonable “circle of friendship” on conceded putts) and we got around in 3 1/2 hours; saw the group in front of us a couple times and only saw the group in back of us a couple times.

-Billy Casper Golf is managing it; I won’t pretend to know or care about the politics of the course (at one point the city of Rockville ran it).  If the course continues to be viable (and honestly it’s a great traditional course) then that helps everyone.

-I played average.  Did something to my middle finger (those that know me would say it’s from overuse) so the back nine wasn’t exactly great.   Unlike last year I didn’t have a chance to do a lot of gym work early so I feel like I’m behind the 8-ball a bit.  Played really good on the front nine but missed more than a few makeable putts.  Maybe not having feeling in my  hands didn’t help (and having people and animals look at me weird for choosing to wear shorts).

 

First round of the season

It was cold and breezy, but the 2013 season is finally off and running for me.  Our March cold snap pretty much eliminated any thoughts of playing any earlier, but a bright (albeit cold) sunny morning was just what the doctor ordered.

Played at Hampshire Greens (review to follow); played with another single and got around in 3 hours which isn’t bad all things considered.

Definitely got a few strange looks from the starter and the guys in the pro shop (I wore shorts- not something I’d recommend on a 36 degree morning but I hate wearing long pants while playing) with the shorts (granted it may have been that they aren’t used to seeing anything that blindingly white- my legs) but nice enough.  Despite two snowmen and a craps (7) I easily broke 90 playing from the blues.  Note to self- go renew handicap.

Took a few holes to warm up but all in all can’t complain.  I was hoping to play on Friday but our weather people here (who can barely predict rain in a hurricane) called for all day rain (so of course it ended up being sunny and pleasant).   Greens had been recently punched which made putting even more of a comedy of errors than normal. 

Opening tee shot

This blog is about the fun, excitement of being a solo golfer who’s forced to get thrown in with another twosome/threesome or play as a single.  If you’re looking for dating advice, can’t really help you.  Love golf?  Stay a while.  I live and work in the DC/Baltimore area and typically play in this area other than when on vacation.  I’ve been playing long enough to know that any designs on becoming a touring pro are absolute folly, but I can string a decent round together and hold a handicap that I’m neither proud nor ashamed of.

I’d like to think that, if I get paired up with your group (ergo the single golfer thing) that you won’t think I’m a tool, douchebag, or a prick.  I know a boatload of bad golf jokes (let’s be honest- they’re all pretty bad), am what you might call an easygoing sort.  I’m also something of a fast player who never wants to be “that guy” holding things up. 

I will do course reviews and add my two cents on the golf scene in the area, hopefully having a laugh in the process while hopefully being remotely helpful.  But mostly with jokes.  I’ll talk about equipment, because if you can’t trust anonymous bloggers and guys with username “LOLTROLL69” then really, who can you trust? 

I’ll occasionally break out the swears…so you have been warned. 

I’m aware blogging isn’t a new thing…but then again I’m also in a war to be the last person in the planet on Facebook (so trying to find me on Facebook is like trying to find that new ProV1 you smacked into a hazard- even if you have a ball retriever or radar it’s not happening). 

Let’s see…what else?  I’m a diehard fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs (and yes, I’ve hard all the jokes) because some times, you need more agony and angst in your life when golf doesn’t quite do enough to make you insane.

Why am I a single?  For one I don’t really like people.  Two, my regular golf friends had to go and move (and if you met me you would as well).  Three…well, my workplace isn’t exactly overrun with golfers.  So there’s that. 

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