The last day of March, thank God. Last year at this time I had played 8 rounds of golf and numerous 9 hole rounds. This year with yesterday’s round I have played 2. Yes, it was a balmy 53 degrees yesterday, and in the afternoon I made it out to Indian Run. After playing fairly well for most of the day, I stumbled home with a bogey and double bogey, but still managed to shoot 77. For the early season I continued to drive the ball well and the putting was very good. At the end, indescision and loosing my tempo caused my final 2 hole collapse. The weather is going to turn nasty again for a couple of days but then it looks like toward to the end of the week, the season may get into full swing. A slow week on the circuit as the “big” golf story is “Dufnering”. That could be our last image of good old Jason if his game doesn’t start impoving. It will be interesting to see if all the imitators ever win another golf tournament. We could call it the Dufnering Jinx. One thing for sure he looks relaxed but what the hell do you think he’s concentrating on. Maybe this could be his new position to read putts. Of course he would have to lean against his caddy. Would his caddy get on all fours or would Jason just lean against the back of his legs. Is that against the rules? I could see it now the Dufner rule. I wonder if he will Dufnering while waiting between shots. Will someone invent the Dufnering toilet. Well let’s hope we get back to more golf oriented stories, like Tiger’s new girl friend finding him in bed with another women. Hey, maybe both of them will be in the Dufner position. What a picture that would be. Maybe I am looking for the answer in the wrong place. See you next week.
The weather continues to be ungolf like, but I was able to walk 9 holes yesterday under sunny skies and temps in the mid 40’s, but with enough of a breeze to make it feel in the 30’s. You can tell that Pittsburgher’s are getting itchy, because when I finished up, there was someone on every hole with a wait on the first tee at around 3:45pm. I ususally do not go into a round shot by shot because I find this somewhat boring, but it was interesting how this round evolved. The opening hole at Mt. Lebanon is a par 3, and with the wind crossing and the temp being what is was, I decided to hit a 5 iron where I wound normally it 7. Even though I thinned it a little bit, it was hit well enough to get to the front part of the green. I proceeded to 3 putt.On the next hole a difficutl par 4, I hit 2 mediocre shots, and a poor pitch and 2 putted from about 30 feet for bogey number 2. On the next hole a shorter easier par 4, I really butchered 2 shots and had a difficult little pitch to a short sided pin. I hit a pretty good shot, which I thought would turn out better than about 10 feet past the pin. By now, with the wind and the cold, my mood was quickly deteriorating very fast. Low and behold I made the 10 footer for par. The next hole a short par 5, I hit 2 good shots, and was only 30 yards short of the green. My pitch was poor but I managed to 2 putt for another par. The next 3 holes were routine pars, good drives, on the green, and 2 putts. The eighth hole is solid par 4, that today was directly into the wind. I pull hooked my drive along the left tree line, but I was fortunate to have clear shot to the green, I hit a hybrid with just a little to much hook on it, just short and left of the green, which left me below the green to a short sided pin. I hit a beautiful pitch just on the front edge and stopped only 5 feet from the hole. I made the putt. The last hole is short par 4 which in the summer is drivable but not today. I hit a pretty good drive, but the wind pushed it a little left, where it hit some limbs and dropped further to the left. Again I had an opening and hit a 50 yard bump and run on the right side of the green, and 2 putted for the par. After the opening 2 bogeys, I then made 7 straight pars. What this all means, I am not too sure. Here is food for thought. If I had not made that 10 foot par save, would I have made the next 6 pars in a row. Or would that have sent the round into a further tailspin and the bogey train would have continued for another 2 or three holes. Before I made that 10 footer, I was not thinking that this 9 holes was going to end up only 2 over par. I think we all have had this experience where a round does not start out all that well, but then we turn it around and shoot a fairly decent number. The opposite will happen when we come out of the gates flying, only to come to a screeching hault by a string of bogeys, or a really bad hole. Since the weather is not going to get any better around here any time soon, I will have plenty of time to think about this one.
Not a big week for golf as the weather was not co-operating, and it is not looking very good for the coming week. I have the grandkids coming in this week so golf would have to take a back seat anyway. I was able to walk 9 holes on Monday and Friday so every little bit helps. Still fine tuning the short game and the putting and both are coming along. Last week, I forgot to tell about one unusual thing that happened in the opening 18 holes of the year. In fact in over 50 years of golf, this has never happened to me before. The 7th hole at Scenic Valley is a par 4 with a sharp dogleg to the right. It is a short dogleg so you can drive through the dogleg into some trees. You either have to lay up with a 3 wood, or bend a driver around the corner, and risk going off into the woods on the right. My playing partner hit a low drive down the right side, that looked like it was going to be all right, but when we got down there, we could not find the ball. He had to go back to the cart to get another ball. While he was doing that, I continued to look around and found what looked like a relatively new ball, just sticking out from the dead leaves. I thought this could be his ball, but when I picked it up, it was a ball that I had hit in there last December. It had my OSU marking, and it was a ProV 1, that was marked with a high school golf’s team name on it, that I had been given as a gift. Not bad, lose a ball in December, find it in March. I guess the 5 minute rule is up. I have never had that happen before. Sometimes when I have played the same course 2 days in a row I have even looked for a ball the next day that I lost but have never been successful. That ball sat there for 3 months. You never know what your going to run into when you play this goofy game.
The golf season is officially 27 holes old as of today. Yesterday I walked 9 holes at Mt. Lebanon and played 18 today at Scenic Valley on a gorgeous March 10th day with temperatures pushing into the 60’s. Unfortunately the weather is not supposed to last but I am off and running. The first hole at Mt. Lebo is a par 3 of about 165 yards slightly downhill. With a little helping breeze and some very exact calculations I decided to hit a 6 iron. I took my controlled shoulder swing, felt that I had stayed down and cold topped the shot about 70 yards down the fairway. My first thought was, is that a white mouse running around out there, but then I quickly realized it was my ball. Those winter lay offs are great. I was by myself and was praticing and already making adjustments on my new short game and putting techniques. A few years back, I also played my first nine holes at Mt. Lebanon on an unseasonably warm New Years Day. That day I hit my iron into the bunker behind the green. I blasted out of the bunker and one hop, skip and jump later, the ball went into the hole at 11:30 am for my earliest birdie I have ever made on a calender year. That one may stand up for a long time. Today at Scenic Valley things were much better. I made some solid 5 to 6 foot putts, drove the ball like it was June, and birdied the last hole to shoot a pretty nifty 78. Not bad for an opening season round. The new putting techique and new putter worked well and the chipping was at least average which is better than putrid. The technique to work the ball seemed to be pretty effective, also. There are 14 courses left to do in the trek and there is going be a little scrambling around to find 14, as some courses that we did not play are no longer there. So sad. The 2013 golf season has started and the search for some answers to this goofy game will go on, with emphasis on the between your ears part. Hope we get to play some next week.
The golf world has been dominated by two stories. Rory’s walk off and the tour saying it is against the belly and long putter ban. This little story I am about to tell will show when it is appropriate to walk off the course, and just how important the rules are. Back in the 80’s I played once a week, at South Park, with these retirees that were a little older than I am now. Every Friday we would tee off at the crack of dawn, and would walk the course in about 3 and a half hours. They would have a foursome on Monday through Thursday, but one of them would play with someone else on Friday, so I could join the group. I will call the three, Tom, Dick and Harry. One day when we approached the 5th tee, Harry kept on walking toward the woods, but then about half way there turned around abruptly and said ” Well I guess I didn’t make it”. As it turned out poor Harry had shit his pants. It was far more than a spray job, as the brown stain was growing rapidly in the back of his light green pants. The first thing that crossed my mind, is that South Park’s 6th hole goes right up to the clubhouse. Harry lived only about 5 minutes from the golf course. I thought after the 6th hole, he would go home clean up, and be able to easily make it to 10 to join us on the back nine. Harry was the only one to par the 6th hole and he went right up to the 7th tee and rifled a nice drive right down the middle, about his usual 230 yards out and continued on his merry way. Yes, he played 14 holes wirh a pants full. Yes he did stink. Anything within 5 foot of the cup he did not have to putt and we all stayed up wind as much as possible. The story does not end there. About 4 weeks later I show up to play as usual, just in time to tee off at 5:40am, when instead of Harry, Steve is playing with us. Even though I rushed up to the tee, I could see that Harry was there with some other guys waiting to tee off. When I asked “Why is Harry not playing with us”, I got a terse reply from Dick “Harry’s been banned from the group”. I figured maybe they just wanted to take their time on the pants shitting episode, since he had played with us the previous 3 weeks. After a few more steps I thought what the hell and asked why. Three days ago on the 18th hole he hit Tom’s ball in the fairway by mistake. Does this sum up golf or what. Its ok to play 14 holes with a pants full, but don’t get careless and hit the wrong ball on the last hole. Life time banishment from the group. Harry never played with them again. Rules are rules, but you must play the game no matter what. So lets hope if this ever happens on the Senior Tour, that a player won’t be given any grief if he walks off the course with a pants full. Looks like I might have a good shot at playing some golf next week, see you then.