All I can say is that it came too fast. I am sitting here in Lower Bucks County looking out the window at snow blanketing the ground and my push cart and golf clubs are still in the car. Of course yesterday coming out of the grocery store with a weekly cart of food and opening the trunk of the car I wasn’t so happy to see them there.
Not even two weeks ago I was playing golf with friends around here and while we weren’t in shorts and short sleeves we weren’t bundled up like Ralphie in The Christmas Story. You know, the kid who was going to shoot his eyes out with the Red Ryder BB rifle he wanted so badly for a present. Not that it’s related to golf I still have a working Red Ryder.
The bottom line is that there isn’t any golf being played around here with a thin layer of snow left from the other day and now another inch or two coming down. That isn’t unusual for this area but…winter came in too fast and the withdrawal that comes with it for avid golfers.
What is it Charlie Brown says when he gets frustrated? ARRRGH! Well that’s what I have been feeling for the past couple weeks, today and I suppose for the next few months. My long time golfing partner was out west last week playing golf every day and sending me texts with photos while I am here recalling all the new courses we played this past season and a career best round of 76 in the first round of my clubs Super Senior championship.
The snow is pretty and Christmas is a week away and that is all nice and fuzzy. BUT… that only goes so far and when the holiday season is over it becomes just snow that has to be shoveled and navigated on the roads. I don’t mind driving in the snow but these days it seems more and more that people have no clue how to drive in it as they all seemed to when I was growing up. Maybe part of the diving exam should include taking a second driving test in the snow?
Some people like the winter and winter sports and the snow and ice. I actually like snow but as the years pass clearing it away gets to be more of a chore than fun being out in it. As far as winter sports, those days are gone.
I used to take my son sledding to a local golf course with lots of hills. I guess he is on the hook to take his girls now. I’d love to do that with the grandkids but I hate to think of what might happen should the sled flip over dumping me in the snow to roll the rest of the way down the hill. Forget about snapping on a pair of skies. One of the worst falls I ever had was on skies and I got up and walked away. Of course that was 40 or so years ago.
Anyway, here is an avid golfer sitting inside watching a predicted couple inches of snow pile up on the lawn and driveway and no place to go. Well…I’d really like to get some photos of a local railroad running its steam engine on its annual Santa train but that’s not going to happen today.
Remember that aforementioned career best 76. Everything was working pretty well that day and it was great and even the guys I was playing with were happy (to a point) to see me have such a great round of golf. Well as much as I want to forget it I can’t put the second round of the 36-hole tournament to rest when the final tally was 92 where virtually nothing went right and it included an albatross on a simple par three. Don’t ask. I finished second and was pretty bummed out for a day or two about that. Chalk it up to an opportunity missed.
n the bright side there is next year to tee it up and go for the trophy.
Also on the bright side are memories of other very good rounds I had this past season and a bevy of new courses played. My longtime golf partner and I are already thinking ahead to more new courses and golfing together when winter clears out.
I had a couple rounds in the 70’s which is just something to enjoy as that kind of scoring is anomalous to my GHIN handicap. Mostly I scored in the low to mid 80’s with a few rounds in the 90’s and…one round over 100 which came near the end of the season on a coldish windy day.
Working part time at a local golf course as a starter and marshal I get the benefit of off peak time golf so needless to say I played a lot of my golf there, often without a scorecard and not always a full 18 holes. I just like to play golf and score is not always relevant to the enjoyment of being outside with a club in my hand trying to hit a little white ball into a 4 ½ inch hole in the ground.
Away from there my partner and I took road trips. Those road trips are getting longer and longer to play new courses as we’ve played all the local courses we like many times. Some were day trips and a couple required an overnight stay.
I’d have to say the highlight of the road trips was the Reading Country Club where Byron Nelson was once the club pro. It is a 94-year-old Alex Findlay design where the fairways follow the rolling terrain and the greens are pitched for natural drainage. Length wasn’t the challenge on most of the holes, putting your ball in good position on the fairways and greens was the test.
Conversely to the old school golf of Reading, my second favorite road trip was to The Links at Gettysburg. Lindsay Ervin designed this more modern layout that opened in 1999 and is as the name suggests, not far from the site of the epic three day battle in 1863 at Gettysburg during Americas Civil War. Here the challenge was avoiding a lot of water hazards along with some diabolical greens placed on hillsides or dug into the natural red rock of the area.
I played well at both courses and that of course goes a long way to liking a course after a first round.
Around those courses were trips to some old style courses like Hopewell Valley, Berkleigh and return visits to old haunts like the historic Stockton Seaview Resort. A great memory from Seaview this year was a scramble outing in early spring. It was on the Bay Course that annually hosts the LPGA ShopRite Classic.
They announced that anyone over 55 could play the forward senior tees. Well my partner and I just smiled as we were well qualified and within that guideline. The two other players we were paired with were no shows so we each got two shots on every hole. The forward tees on the Bay Course are something like 5200 yards. The bottom line is that with my driving and his wedge play we were rolling in putts all over the place and turned in a winning score of 59. It’s always great to win, but what a fun day that was. More people should play the shorter tees.
Other road trips took me to Rock Manor in Delaware, Royal Oaks in Lebanon, PA, Royal Manchester in Mt. Wolf, PA, Inniscrone in Avondale, PA, Ramblewood in Mt. Laurel, NJ, The Architects Club in Phillipsburg, NJ, Mercer Oaks in West Windsor, NJ, Centerton in Elmer, NJ and return visits Running Deer in Pittsgrove, NJ and River Winds in West Deptford, NJ.
That just scratches the surface of the golf we played that included rounds at old favorite places too numerous to name. They were all good times and the golf scores are mostly secondary.
It’s great to pull up the memories of those rounds on this snowy cold day and it just builds the anticipation of more to come next year. For the time being however the golf clubs are idle as I deal with the withdrawal.
A golfer goes stir crazy this time of year. A golfer, well, wants to play golf. Not practice putting on the living room floor or swings in the garage. It’s not the same as playing the game we love.
But wait…the television Meteorologist said that it’s going to be near 50 degrees next Tuesday.