Yesterday, Memorial Day we went to course no 22 Linden Hall in Dawson Pa which is about 15 miles north of Uniontown Pa. It is about a 75 minute drive from my house depending on the traffic. This golf course is unique in that it is owned by the United Steel Workers Union. This golf course plays about 6600 yards from the tips and is fairly wide open with a great variety of holes. The greens were a little slow, running 4.5 on the stimp meter, but were smooth. The course was in good condition, and of course with all the rain we have been having, the rough was lush. We teed off at 7:20, and it was a hot summer day getting into the 80’s by 9 o’ clock. The hot dog at the turn was delicious, and churned its way into my stomach to a solid 2ond place. In fact, the Firestone farms condiments is the only thing that really gave it the edge. It had been almost 3 weeks since we have been able to play one of the golf courses on the list as a group. I was away for 6 days visiting grandkids and the weather until rccently has been an issue. I have been playing, of course, during this time, with various results as usual, but yesterday for some reason I really did not want to be there. After hitting a beautiful opening drive my day took a steady decline of horrendous driving and spasmotic chipping and putting. After taking 4 strokes from 25 yards in, on a short par 4 and hooking my drive on the 12 hole into the woods that were 100 yards left on where I was aiming, I just starting walking down the right side of the hole with the intention of just skipping the hole, and going to the next tee. Then I remembered there was this dirt road that went along the par 3 no 13 and it headed right up the 17 th hole to the 18th and to the parking lot, and I just kept on walking. No good by to the group, so I don’t know what they thought, but I had had enough. I was dead tired when I approached the 12th tee box and the first thing I noticed as I was walking in, was that there was more of a hop in my step as I felt the exhileration of getting the hell out of there. No more of being totally incompentant. No more humiliation. I must have walked a good solid mile with my clubs on my back but by the end I was no longer tired and could have easily walked another mile in the heat. I think golf is the individual version of the Peter principle, where you reach your own level on incompentence. I started having a handicap in 1986. During this 25 year period my handicap has been between 2 and 7 and probably for 24 of those 25 years its been betwee 3 and 5. In other words I would go into a slump, and for awhile, and I would be a 6 or 7, or I would get a little bit of a hot streak,and be a 2 or 3. I am sure there are many other players the same way. You start playing golf you improve to a certain level, no matter what that level is and thats it. No matter what you do, you really don’t get any better. I don’t think this is a physical thing either, it is definitely mental. So the 90 golf course quest is going to be put on hold for awhile. After all the blog is called searching for the answer not the 90 golf course trek. I would probably just quit, but I just bought 3 dozen golf balls, and so maybe thats what I will do, play until I run out of balls. Of course I imagine some people already think I have run out of those. By the way Linden Hall is worth the trip, especially if you want to make a weekend ot it because there is a hotel there and other things to do. A very nice enjoyable golf course in a very nice setting with great rates. Yesterday, a holiday it was 28 dollars with a cart. I am taking a break from playing. I don’t know for how long a week ,a month, a season who knows maybe the answer will come in a dream.
Yesterday we went to golf course no. 21 Moon Golf Club located in Moon Twp. Another short course measuring about 5805 from the back tees. Yesterday was by far the best day we have had to play golf in a long time. Nice and sunny with temps in low 80’s. This course is about a 20 to 25 minute drive from my house. The course is very near the Pittsburgh airport and so you do get to see a lot of planes going over head but they were not very bothersome. The greens ran about a 6.5 on the stimpmeter but were very bumpy. Overall this course was not in as good as condition as the previous 3 courses we have played. The course was not in bad shape but not as nice as these other very similiar short courses. This course is very hilly so if you are going to walk it, be prepared. In fact this course may be too hilly which makes it not that enjoyable to play. Most of the holes are tree lined and like the other short courses it has some pretty challenging holes but also a lot of very short “par” 4’s. The hot dog at the turn was a lot like the golf course, it was good but nothing special. You definitely get a better conditioned course and more value at Chippewa, Rolling Green and Oak Lake. Despite the great weather and an easy golf course the group struggled mightily. I shot 80, Pete had 86 and Donna 94. I am on a birdie drought of record proportions. No matter how easy the hole I am not making any birdies. I am just wandering around in the golfer’s haze of bewilderment and frustration. The lost soul of missed putts and wrong decisions. Maybe we should consider putting some par 3 courses on the list just so I can at least make my bag a little lighter. Anyway 21 down and 69 to go, can it snow in May.
On Mothers day, May 8th we played course no.20 Oak Lake, another one of the short but interesting courses we have been playing lately because of the very soggy conditions in Western Pa. This course is about a 45 minute drive east from my house in Upper Burrell Pa. Yes there is a Lower Burrell. This course is only 5485 yards from the back tees but does have some challenging holes. The second hole is a long 433 yd par 4 and the 18th hole is a 382 yd par 4 with lots of water that comes into play. The greens were very good running a 6 on the stimp meter and were very smooth. Many of the holes are tree lined and it is somewhat hilly. The course was in very good shape overall. This is another golf course that is enjoyable to play although it does have a lot of short par 4’s. We had by far our best weather day as the temps started in the 50’s early in the morning and climbed to the mid 60’s by the time we finished around noon with little or no wind. Nothing much happened with the group today. I started out with 10 pars on the first 11 holes and then took a double bogey on a very easy par 3 and even though I made a birdie 2 holes later, I staggered in with 3 bogeys on the last 4 holes to shoot a 5 over 76 on a reletively easy course. Pete shot an 80 and Donna had a particularly tough Mothers day shooting 97. This course is not very friendly for women in that most of tees are only a few yards in front of the mens tees. The hot dog at the turn looked a little odd and tasted a little odd but here I am 2 days later typing and still standing upright for the most part so I guess there was nothing wrong with it. It didn’t taste bad not like at Tam O’ Shanter but was different. Overall a very enjoyable but kind of a blah day. My game is still searching for the answer which I think may be just making that toss of the clubs in the lake but that will have to wait since we have 70 courses to go.
Yesterday, May 4th we were able to get in 36 holes, despite less than ideal weather conditions. We continued with older shorter courses because of those weather conditions. The temperature started out in the low 40’s and barely touched 50, with a brisk wind all day, with very little sun. The morning course was Chippewa in Bentleyville, which is about a 40 minute drive from my house. The course plays 5884 yards form the tips, is pretty hilly, and is a very pretty tree lined golf course. One of the unique things about this golf course is that there are no sand traps. So anybody with a bad bunker game this is your golf course. The greens were in great shape and ran about a 6 on stimp meter. The course is very enjoyable to play and overall is in good shape. The hot dog at the turn was very good with the famous Olgebay Park dehydated onions. These onions look like rice and they have a really great taste. I grew up near Olgebay Park in Wheeling, W. Va. and these onions were always there but I rarely saw them any place else. They were at Chippewa yesterday. With the weather conditions mainly the cold, the group struggled on a fairly easy course. I shot 81, Pete shot 82 and Donna had a 90. The afternoon course was about 15 minutes away in 84 Pa. Rolling Green. Another short course that measures 6011 yards from the tips. Their greens were also in great shape and ran a 6 on the meter. This course has a nice variety of holes and is very hilly. Overall a very nice golf course. Because the golf course was not very busy they had to nuke my hot dog at turn but despite that, it was very tasty so it had to be a good quality dog. I discovered my short game and was able to manage a 72 which is one over par. Pete shot 78 and Donna shot 92. Are these courses worth a 90 minute trip. Of course not. But if you live in the South Hills of Pittsburgh you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not give these courses a try. They are in great shape and despite being short have some real challenging holes. Nineteen courses down and 71 to go.