There’s really nothing quite like that first day that feels like fall.  Today is that day, and in a word, it is awesome.

Having said that, pumpkin is disgusting.  There.  I said it.  Oooh…hot take here I come!


Played at Redgate this morning at sunup- with She Who Is Really In Charge (SWIRIC) enjoying a vacation (I have some heavy work commitments this week and felt bad that we haven’t been able to have a summer vacation so she’s enjoying September at the shore if you’re interested) I played today (the rain and thunder took care of any thoughts I had of sneaking off for an afternoon round yesterday) in cool, brisk and breezy conditions.

Unfortunately, Redgate has looked better, I’m afraid to say.  Fairways and roughs have seen better days; I’m hoping that this is down to the dry spell we’ve been under and not a sign of what Billy Casper Management is going to do to the course (huge parts of fairways were dead/dormant/brown).  I can remember playing it a few years ago thinking that they had some of the best greens in the area.  I can’t say that right now- they’re slow (again, I want to put that down to aeration that is still clearly visible along with yesterday’s heavy rain) and while most were fairly smooth, a few of them were more than a bit bumpy.  Not sure why, but for their sake I hope they get better (better conditions benefit all of us).

I hit the ball pretty well but my short game was sub-par; carded a pedestrian 82 that could have been worse but should have been better.

What I can’t understand is why courses insist on putting groups out on the back nine.  I understand the whole “time for nine” thing, and that’s great.  But if you’re going to do that first thing in the morning on a weekend, you have to stop pretending that you give two scoots about pace of play, because clearly you don’t.  I got a lecture from the starter about pace of play (concern that they’d need by cart back) before I teed off (how can I say “if every golfer played as fast as I do you’d have 4 hour weekend rounds”).  I finished my round in just under 2 hours (okay so I skipped the 11th hole to jump past the foursome that they put out on the 10th hole as I was coming up on the 9th hole).

What’s my trick?  ONE practice swing, if that.  If I’m playing with someone else I get my yardage and pull a club while they hit, so that when it’s my turn…go time.  I don’t spend more than a minute looking for a lost ball (tournaments are different, but a casual round…60 seconds and if I can’t find one drop (stroke and distance)), and on the green, I use continuous putting (putt until you’re in) unless I’m in a match play situation.  If I’m between sets of tees I use the forward set.  If I’m around the green I make sure to grab 1-2 wedges unless I know for a fact I’m on the putting surface.  I’ll repair my divot while my playing partner(s) are putting.

Redgate 18th green from earlier today.

Redgate 18th green from earlier today.

Not to pick on these four guys, but it was like seeing a “what not to do” video with respect to pace of play.  They were all lying three with 150 yards out and all four are using a distance measuring device…naturally I found out they were playing from the tips (so on a par 4 that is 412 from the tips, it took them three shots to go roughly 260-270 yards…yup, I’m sure that playing from the tips makes perfect sense).

So either you take my path of passing them, or you get stuck behind the four slowpokes who grind the entire day to a halt.  Redgate actually has a solid system of yardage by handicap index (even though my current index is below 10.0 I prefer to play from the “regular” gold tees because I prefer to hit short and mid-irons to the green)…if these four chaps have sub-ten indices find them and play money matches against them.

Again- do you enjoy making pars and birdies or do you enjoy posting ridiculous scores so you can say “but I played it from the tips” to your friends?

I’m sure the influx of folks playing early is due to today being the start of the NFL season as I’m sure a lot of guys wanted to get a round in before watching 12 hours of football (Washington has a 1pm game, Baltimore has a 4:25 game so that’s 7+ hours right there not counting the pregame shows that started at some obscene hour).  Me?  I really couldn’t care.  I know I’m supposed to love the NFL because…hurr durr football?! but I find the games take far too long with very little action, and I’d rather play nothing but six-hour rounds than care about fantasy football (if you love the NFL and fantasy football then by all means enjoy yourself).  My preferred brand of football is rugby league (where an 80-minute came can be completed in less than 2 hours of actual time, and the ball is actually in play for roughly 60 of the 80 minutes)…the NRL specifically (Fox Sports 2 airs 1-2 games a week that I can PVR and watch later).  My other sporting obsession is the Toronto Maple Leafs (again- a 60 minute NHL game can be played in 2 1/2 hours) who have struggled a bit over the last 40-something years.

Since NHL training camps open soon, I have another season of sadness and despair to look forward to.  Luckily Leafs blogger Bloge Salming put this awesome video together about their goaltending situation, with a parody of a Miley Cyrus song to boot.  You’re welcome.