Posted on: May 26, 2008 6:14 pm

First round of the season...AMEN!!!

There is something so wonderful about stepping out on the links for the first time each year.  The protracted layoff caused by winter and a little mishap with gravity caused my first round to come on Memorial Day this year instead of early April.  But finally the cast was removed, the ok given by my doctor, a fair golfer himself and certainly one to know the curative powers of spring, so the tee time was booked.  Two long time partners and a new one were on tap for this first round and the usual wagers were bandied about.  Playing early with the dew still on the grass, the gnats buzzing, the joints as stiff as possible, our foursome bravely walked to the first tee.  We were stubbornly going to walk our 18 in the muggy morning.  Now this course is not long and not particularly challenging either, so it would serve to be an adequate test after nearly 9 months off.  We are playing partner best score, match play for lunch.  Big stakes!

My first hole was a dogleg left at only 330 yards.  A crisp 3 wood to the dogleg, followed by a pitching wedge deep in the green. A two putt par.  Great start, we are one up.  Look at the geese herding their goslings. So quiet here this morning.

Number two, however, was not so kind.  An ugly pull hook into an unplayable lie.  Stopped the body and swung with my arms.  Made a mess of the easy par five, but salvaged a bogey with a 12 foot putt up the hill.  A push, no blood.  The lavender is in full bloom and it is so wonderful to smell, I don't remember the long walk to the next tee.

A long par four, my first driver.  Whoa! What happened there!  Right down the middle.  A shot into the middle of the green and another boring 2 putt.  90% of putts left short never go in, right? Two up

Number four, a delicate short three par.  I hit the big ball before the little ball (Earth).  A rusty bogey.  We give one back.  The maples are dropping their helicopter seeds in the light breeze, they twirl gently to the ground with the slim hope of finding purchase in some perfect soil the course superintendent doesn't notice.

Another par at five, another putt left short.  The deer acknowledged my effort but were not impressed, back to munching in the adjacent field.  I dislike arrogant herbivores don't you?  Thanks to the poor play of our opponents we are back up two.

Number 6, another par five, played conventionally.  Tee shot into left rough. Iron into right rough.  Deep into the green, but the birdie burned the edge.  Got that one to the hole, at least.  The fish in the pond splashed his good morning as we walked back across the bridge.  The bullfrog gallery gave a smattering of cheers.   No blood again, still up two.

Number seven saw another straight drive.  Maybe I need to be in a cast more often?  Uh oh, caught that one thin.  As in hit it in the mouth about the equator. Over the green, an ugly double bogey from 125 yards.  Maybe I need my head in a cast.  I could be afraid to take a divot with the newly mended arm - but who needs an excuse, not me. Up one again.

A nice par three on eight and nine and we close the front one up.  I shoot +4.  Simple game.

On toward the back nine.  A pulled tee shot. A shut face 7 iron hooked around a tree that runs onto the green.  Par and again we are two up.

A poor tee shot on the par 5 eleventh into the right hand trees.  A chopped out 3-wood with a slice and I am 180 out.  Bear down and make a good swing.  You got this girl.  A solid 5 wood into the heart of the green, a lip out.  We are three up.  I hear some chatter among the men folk. Tune it out and step on their .....

My partner knocks it stiff on twelve and we are four up. A big snapping turtle is sunning himself on the cart path.  He winks at me.  He knows that spring is magical.

My turn, I hit a solid 8 iron to 10 feet and sink my first birdie of the season. We are five up and dormie.  I love saying "We are dormie."  Has a nice ring to it.  More lavender, simply enchanting. The wind even blows the gnats away.

We push fourteen for a 5 and 4 victory.  The lambs to the wolf.  I know where we are going for lunch.  I got pretty tired over the last five holes and bogeyed 4 of 5 for a 79  and +7.  Not a great round, something to build on.  But it was oh so special in so many ways.  My first round of the season.  My first round after a broken arm.  My first round after breast cancer.  My first round with my new special friend.  Most of all it cured my spirit of a longing to be out there in the green grass among the flora and fauna.  I think I smelled every flower along the way. Heard every sound.  And I did not say a single bad word all day!  Though that bladed shot on seven tested my willpower.

I think it was Bobby Jones who said, " Take the time to smell the flowers on the course of life, because you only get one round."

I agree.  Today will be memorable for me.

This blog is in honor of our brave servicemen and women...I hope you played this round in your minds as you read it and it helps you through your day until you can tee it up in the future.




Posted on: April 14, 2008 11:01 am
Edited on: April 14, 2008 4:57 pm

American Sport - The Master's

Snowy days in Iowa even though it is mid April.  Time for my annual ritual of curling up in front of the television to watch the beauty and majesty of Augusta National.  The incredible golf.  The fresh bitten nails.  The rattling knees of the players.  The sappy commentary from Jim Nance.  The prodigious prediction of Tiger Woods winning the Masters on his way to the Grand Slam. No one else can win it.  It is Tiger's tournament to win or award to some other person who apparently is in need of a great gift from the magnanimous Mr. Woods.

This year's tuna-mint was boring.  No charges were ever mounted.  In fact anyone who raised his head to challenge the hallowed ground was summarily smacked down about the head and neck and fell from the leaderboard.  The continuous apology by the talking heads for Mr. Woods apparent mere mortal abilities went long in the tooth.  His huffing and puffing was refreshing to see.  Perhaps the golfing gods decided to send him a dose of humility.

In the end, Trevor played the best.  Caught the most good breaks. Had the fewest bad breaks. He simply survived.

I am full of sorrow it is over. At the same time I struggled to watch.  The back off of almost every shot whenever the wind gusted was ridiculous after hour 4. 

Worse for me, Augusta is always the beginning of my golf season.  It starts to get warm in Iowa.  The new driver screams my name. But alas, I have a broken arm for another 6 weeks.  Spring is missing some of it's delights.

Category: Golf
Tags: Augusta, Master's
Posted on: February 3, 2008 5:43 pm

Golf and other four letter words....

I was reminded of a golf story today.  More amazing than Bagger Vance, less thrilling than The Greatest Game Ever Played, this story  is of the humor variety.  What makes it so funny is that it is true.  The names will be changed to protect the guilty so don't worry if this sounds familiar. 

A first round of spring is the setting on a Saturday morning in early April.  That evil witch Mother Nature had given all of us a pass.  A tee time was made and three good freinds headed for the course.  One of the three had  brought with them an old friend to round out the foursome.  Now this fellow had really enjoyed himself on the preceding evening and could only be classified as overserved.  Being early spring, rain was always a possibility and the group was prepared for inclement weather should it arise.  The previously mentioned overserved fellow wore a yellow rain slicker while the rest of the group wore more traditional foul weather gear. 

As the round went on , none of us was playing particularly well, but this fourth fellow was beginning to lose conciousness in his own personal fog.  So we played on as a threesome plus one body (he could fog a mirror and this is the first round of the year after a long winter so we played on).  By the 18th hole he was coming around and even beginning to play golf again though it was difficult to classify it as golf. The last putt was holed and we headed for the parking lot to put away the implements of destruction.

At his point it is important to point out the golf course had undergone some renovations over the winter and had built a new flower planter box in the turn around in front of the clubhouse.  It was very nice, maybe 25 feet in diameter and made of stone.  Fresh plantings were all the rage including new thornbushes and tulips. Now the driver of the cart containing the overserved fellow did not notice this new renovation even though he drove directly toward it.  He was speaking animatedly to the overserved fellow.  Keep in mind my vantage point is directly behind them.  Finally, at the last second, the driver notices the impending collisions and takes emergency evasive action turning sharply to the left.  At this point I must remind you of some laws of physics, Objects in motion tend to remain in motion unless acted on by an outside influence (See Newton, Isaac).  The overserved fellow was unaware of the evasive manuevers and proceded in a straight line but managed to hold on to the cart handle next to the seat.  Because he was still "attached" to the cart, he was dragged through the planter box and it's new thornbushes and tulips.  Even his yellow rain slicker had gotten under the rear tire.  At this point the driver notices there are no passengers with him in the cart and he abruptly stops the cart.  The overserved guy, suddenly very awake, jumps up in a fit of rage and lunges for the driver only to hit his head on the top of the cart opening his forehead up for future stitches.  Down he went.  Needless to say, it was the funniest thing I had ever seen and to this day only wish I had recorded it for posterity and $10K on Americas Funniest Home videos.  I wonder if his head still hurts to this day?

Category: Golf
Tags: Humor, Pain
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