Politics Magazine

Fall Golf

Posted on the 15 November 2013 by Erictheblue

On Sunday, it was about fifty degrees, so after lunch I drove over to Hiawatha Golf Course.  When I asked the only person in the deserted clubhouse how much it would cost to play golf, he seemed to pause, as if there was no official price, before saying, "Fifteen dollars to walk."  I took my first swing of the season and hit it far and left.  A golf course is a good place to be reminded of the relative speeds of sound and light: when I'd given up on following the flight, I heard the sound of the ball hitting a tree.  Didn't have that problem on my second shot, which hit a tree about twenty yards in front of me.  Lucky to make six on an easy par 5.  The second hole is another easy par 5.  After a drive and a pretty solid 3-iron, I was in the fairway about 65 yards from the green.  I then flew the green with my pitching wedge, scuffed a chip shot out of a steep downhill lie, chipped again to about three feet, missed the putt: seven.

Walking to the third tee, I laughed to myself while remembering a friend's line once when asked, over beers, "How'd you manage to make an 8 on that easy hole?" 

"Missed my putt for a seven," he said.

On the third, a short par 3, I hit a 9-iron to the fringe, chipped, missed another putt.  On the fourth, I drove out of bounds.  On the fifth, I may have driven it out of bounds again. It's  also  possible that I just couldn't find my ball in the leaves that had blown up against the fence.  There is water along the right side of the sixth hole--splash.  This was costing me quite a bit more than fifteen dollars.  After taking eleven strokes to play the seventh and eighth holes, I was sixteen over par: averaging double bogeys. After the sixth, I had done some arithmetic and set myself the goal of staying below 100.  It was not looking good.

Still, I was having a good time, walking fast, never having to wait, hardly ever even seeing anyone else.  On the ninth, I hit a good drive, then a pitching wedge to the center of the green, took two putts: a par.  The tenth is an easy par five and I missed a short par putt.  On the eleventh I made my last double bogey of the day.  On the twelfth, I got up and down from a greenside bunker for a par.  On the next five holes I made bogeys and, at the last, another two-putt par.  Ninety-seven.  Did it!

I remember reading somewhere that the first time Tom Watson ever broke par, his dad made him replay the round, telling what club he had hit and what the result had been for every shot.  That Watson was able to do this, the article suggested, showed that he possessed the powers of concentration needed to be a great one.  This strikes me as somewhat ridiculous.  I've forgotten a few out of my 97 but am pretty sure it's mainly because 97 is a lot more than 70.  I could remember 70 good ones.  You can satisfy yourself of the truth of my position by asking yourself how impressed you'd be if a guy remembered what club he'd used to make a hole-in-one.

When I got in my car, the clock said 3:10, and I wondered how long it had taken to play.  It occurred to me that my ticket might be time-stamped.  Yep.  At 12:32. 

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