I played yesterday at Redgate, and was not impressed with the conditions.

Ko'olau Golf Course.  Not a bad place to be right now.

Ko’olau Golf Course. Not a bad place to be right now.

I’d like to sugarcoat things, but if I’m being honest, the course wasn’t in the greatest shape.  The greens had been punched 1-2 weeks prior (again- nothing on the course’s website about this), and the tee boxes were scruffy at best.  Lots of dead spots and divots.  The fairways were okay, but not great (I’m not sure why, but my cart didn’t have any divot mix containers).  Several of the greens had multiple divots and pitch marks; I do my best to repair my pitch marks and divots (a good rule of thumb- fix yours and if you don’t see a group behind you, fix another) even though I normally don’t take a divot from the fairway as I’m more of a picker than a digger.

I’ll grant you this- the weather has played havoc and I’m sure every superintendent in the DMV would love to have the weather we had last summer (who wouldn’t?) return, but unfortunately it’s been a full throttle of heat, humidity and thunderstorms.  On the one hand, the rain is doing the work of sprinkler systems so water usage must be down a ton.  So the amount of brown spots I saw yesterday really makes no sense.

The round itself was a mixed bag; after a couple early bogeys on easy holes, I rode the par train for seven straight holes before I got on board the bogey and worse train for a few holes before going par/par/double bogey/par to finish the round.  Playing solo I was moving so I didn’t have a chance to take photos.  I carded a respectable 81 (out in 39 but in with a 42) that was helped by only needing 32 putts (I got wild with the driver which didn’t help things).  Didn’t help that the battery in my rangefinder died so I had to go old school for the last 16 holes but that’s a real case of first-world problems.

Which brings me to issue #2- putting people out on the back nine.  I’m all for the “time for nine” idea.  But if you go out early on the back nine, you can’t be a slowpoke.  And when you see people waiting on you, and there’s not a single group in front of you, guess what- YOU’RE THE PROBLEM!  Admitting it is a good first step but actually playing faster is a solution.  Or better yet, wave the speed demons up and let them play through.

Look- Redgate is still a solid muni course and I, for one, am glad it exists.  It was pretty busy as I finished up my round (despite having to wait on our slow-poke twosome I finished in 2 1/2 hours…pedestrian by my standard but in the DMV on a Saturday morning I really shouldn’t complain) which was nice to see.

Recently I came upon an article in Men’s Journal; another pile of bullshit (I’ll start with how they got the number of majors that Tiger Woods has won wrong- the article says 15, not 14 (if you want to count his 3 US Amateurs that’s 17…still not 15) about how the game is dying.  Except that it isn’t (when the author of this dirge trotted out Tiger Woods it became dog-whistle garbage (Woods didn’t grow the game- he impacted TV ratings when he played; housing developments and terrible real estate management gave us too many courses- a lot of his fans may have purchased Nike hats but most of them already liked golf; at best, rounds grew by 1-2% when he was in his infancy).  The industry had its best-ever sales of golf balls in April of this year.  People aren’t buying golf balls for the sake of buying them.  Golf Datatech produced actual research about this.   The NGF and Golf Datatech have done enough research that shows that weather plays a HUGE role in rounds played.  Think about 2012 when we didn’t really have much of a winter.  Courses stayed open, rounds played were up.  Now think about the last two winters, and how cold and snowy they were.  Courses weren’t open and rounds plummeted!  Amazeballs, right?  I know I didn’t play in March, and was willing to freeze my “one meat, two veg” off in early April just to be able to play.

What has changed is that the days of being able to spend all of your weekend at a country club is no more for families and that myself and younger folks aren’t buying private club memberships like our parents did.  But this isn’t news.  How the industry deals with this will be interesting.  I’ll be watching.

The other thing that this article talked about was the old chestnut of how millennials aren’t playing.  And yet, I took a long look at the faces of the golfers who were either teeing off or getting ready to tee off yesterday, and it was a very heavy millennial-leaning crowd (probably 75% white and 25% Asian/African-American/Latino).  I’ve played with three different groups of millennials this year.  All of them the kind of folks you’d be happy to have in your group.

And last, but not least, you can now find me on Instagram.  I’m here.  So add me and I’ll start adding photos (mostly golf-related; I think I’ll pass on taking pictures of my food (wine and scotch do not apply to this).