After a weekend of not playing, I teed it up yesterday (7/3) at Hampshire Greens.  My list of maladies keeps growing; I already have chronic tendinitis in one foot and managed a 2nd degree burn on the other leg (more on that), and if that weren’t enough, I dealt with back spasms yesterday morning (still tender).  To say I was not optimistic would be painfully correct.   Played decent (not great) and got around in an 82 from the blues.  The picture below of the first hole doesn’t capture the elevation change off the tee but it’s a pretty good visual of what you’re looking at.

Hampshire Greens 1st Hole. DO NOT GO LEFT.

Hampshire Greens 1st Hole. DO NOT GO LEFT.

One thing- Hampshire Greens has punched their greens so you’ll notice the tiny holes (it looks like they did this a week or so ago) and more importantly, the layer of sand on your ball.  Bring an extra towel.

The folks at Hampshire Greens are, if nothing else, friendly and polite.  They’re not perfect but my experience yesterday was pretty good.  The pro shop and starter folks were nice enough (no beverage cart until the 18th hole but there are several water stations at the course).

Beyond that, the course was in good shape despite the heavy rains we’ve had for most of June.  The fairways were in decent shape (a bit lush but recently mowed) but it was hardly playing “firm and fast” but it played well enough.  Unless they move the boxes and hole locations, the location on #2 was up front, but #17 and #18 were way in the back.

The 10th hole (see below) remains one of my favourites as there are several ways to attack the hole.  Aiming at the bunker gives you a more direct line, but playing to the right of the bunker gives you a clearer view of the green.  Managed to 2-putt for a par, with no complaints.

Hampshire Greens 10th Hole.  Choose your line wisely.

Hampshire Greens 10th Hole. Choose your line wisely.

Played with a few guys who, other than being a bit slow, were nice enough.

If you get a chance to play this weekend have fun, keep it moving along, and don’t be afraid to use a forward set of tees.  You’ll have fun, and you’ll play faster.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about a couple issues that have bothered me more than a fair bit over the last few days-

1) Donald Trump.  I’ve little interest in his politics, but his recent comments that golf should be a game only for elites is laughably wrong and exactly the opinion that keeps the game from growing.  For one, over 70% of golf courses in the US are your public/municipal/daily fee courses.  The kind of courses I play every weekend morning, and my guess is the kind you play if you’re reading this (if you’re a member at Congressional and would like to have me out there get a hold of me and I’m your huckleberry).  Where we change our shoes in the parking lot before playing, and we all aspire to play better but mostly, we play because we love the game.  Take away over 2/3 of golf courses, and the industry would die overnight (a couple recent visits to Golf Galaxy were chock-full of public course golfers just like me).  When the recession hit in 2008-09, the courses most likely to go under were not the muni tracks but the private clubs (what Trump doesn’t understand is that my generation (Gen X) and the Millennial/Gen Y folks are not buying country club memberships…I probably get at least one country club solicitation a month).

My better half She Who Is Really In Charge (SWIRIC) doesn’t play and has never expressed a desire to take up the game so for me to join a country club makes zero sense.  And in the day of parents with kids having activities going on seemingly nonstop, having dad spend all day on Saturday at the club is simply not happening to the extent that it was.  That the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, USGA, PGA of America have all come out against his comments should tell you all you need to know.  I’ll further that the tours should cease using his courses immediately.

Further, Trump should care about growing the game (for all their other problems, the USGA and PGA of America are at least trying to grow the game).  You don’t grow the game by making it less accessible or by saying that it should only be for elites.  To Trump’s point…do I want to play golf with a 15 inch hole (make your own jokes)?  No.  But if someone gets the bug as a result, takes it up, and then decides they want to play with a regulation hole…then that’s good, right?

Ask the golf equipment manufacturers how they feel…I’m sure they’d very much like aspiring and novice golfers to buy their gear.

2) Steve Simmons. The columnist for the Toronto Sun wrote a scathing piece about Phil Kessel after he was traded to Pittsburgh (I’m linking to it against better judgement).  In his column, he states that Kessel would venture down from his downtown Toronto condo every day at 2:30 for a hot dog at a specific hot dog stand (the suggestion being that Kessel is fat and lazy and doesn’t care about nutrition).  Which is fine, except that Leafs’ blog Pension Plan Puppets kind of, well, debunked that story.  The point is this- Simmons is entitled to his opinion (if he thought Kessel wasn’t a good hockey player then fine- if he had actual quotes from NHL coaches and GM’s to support this…great), but he’s not entitled to make stuff up.  I thought about writing up a paragraph of insults about him, but frankly, his relevancy is nil and the less you listen to him the better off you’ll be.  Know this- if I write something about a course, know that this was my actual experience.  Your experience may well be different, but I will never write fiction and try to pass it off as fact.

As always, hit ’em straight and play well.  Enjoy your Independence Day celebrations.  Play this song and enjoy the holiday.