A Not So Quick Round

Tuesday we hit a record high of 84 F in Boston, and, out on the fairway, (which I managed to land on with some frequency, thank you very much) it was blistering hot, full on summer day. Jack the starter paired me with a very nice young man and sent us out, sandwiched between a four some of Harvard men, and the Belmont Hills golf team.

For its students, Harvard provides golf, gratis, on our little hidden gem of an urban golf course. Every year the university buys a allotment of vouchers, and each spring a small flock of students play our course.

The John Harvards in front of us were in their mid 20s, were taking time out of their studies at law or business school to enjoy each others company and a round of the royal and ancient game. Beer was the beverage of choice. Each putt was thoroughly scrutinized. Pace of play slowed to a crawl.

Fortunately, the nice young man I was playing with was  quite charming. On the 3rd tee we discussed barbecuing techniques. By the sixth hole we were comfortable enough to discuss politics.  Two hours in, and with three holes left to play, we parted – he had guests coming for dinner. The Johns had just hit onto the green – or attempted to (8 is a par 3; the green is protected by a water hazard). The wait did not appeal so I pocketed my ball and walked to the club house. On the way in, I stopped to admire the turtles on log in the water on the 9th.

turtles

 

Water Hazards

Donald Trump signs water rule that could help his golf courses.”
—  golf.com Tour News

Call me crazy, but I like that the EPA takes an interest in the quality of the water on the course that I play. Not that I like wading into the lateral hazard on 5, but the box turtles sunning themselves on a submerged log takes some of the sting out of my entrant tee shot. I like that a family of rabbits live in the wildflower thicket by the 8th tee.  Seeing a hawk in the trees over on the 4th fairway makes me happy.

img_3370 Bunny on 8th tee

I mean, come on! We play at places with names like  Green Valley Country Club, and Red Hawk Links – Trees. Nature. Wildlife does come into play here. It’s Bermuda grass, not astro-turf, and when it rains there is no dome to close or trap to roll out. The idea of managing land and water as if the future mattered is neither new, nor radical. (Isn’t it interesting how the word “conservation” is a lot like the word “conservative”?)  And it’s not like “green” golf course management can’t be done (here’s a list of the top eco-courses by Forbes) Hell, the USGA put out its environmental principals of golf courses in 1996. What is it with this sudden need to roll the clock back 21 years?

wildflower thicket fpgcWildflower thicket between 8th green and 9th tee

Hey Larry Bohannan – I’d round out that foursome!

 

Loved your article in yesterday’s Desert Sun Is it Possible to Take Politics Out of Golf? and if McIlroy, Obama and Hope needed a fourth count me in! Playing with these three guys, in the Valley?  That would be what we in Boston call a wicked good time!

Since I am blessed with a job that allows me to move from my desk chair to the first tee in about 20 minutes on any given weekday afternoon, who I play a round with is just the luck of the draw. I often play with folks I don’t know. That these folks are generally men and I am a woman, we are obvious different. Most of the time, it’s all good. I play from the red tees, they from the blues or gold, and we have a grand time. Or a good time. Or an okay time – depending on how we happen to hit the ball that day. I can not count the times that people I don’t know before the first tee, and who I’ve never seen again have helped, inspired and consoled me on the golf course. As much the feel of the well struck ball, and the 20 foot putt that sinks, the generosity of my fellow golfers keeps me coming back. Like Henry Penick ‘s said – if you play golf, you’re my friend.

But sometimes the rub of the green comes into play. An seemingly innocent question – “Does your husband play golf?” can give rise to a complication. Do I stick with the truth – that I’m a woman who is married to a women and that Jane doesn’t play very often, but when she does, she can drive the ball a mile, or does she become “Jim”? Usually I stick with the truth because I can, but there are times when it seems best not to upset the horses or servants.

And the occasional breach of etiquette – like the 20 something guy who mistook my ball for his on both the first and second hole? (I was so happy to have unfettered access to my own ball on 3 that I missed the putt for par)  Would he have been as careless if I were a 50+ year old guy? There have been instants of out right rudeness. (Not tending the pin and then talking while I’m putting, really?) If you don’t want to playing with me, why do you think with you? There are alternative – the most elegant was the fellows who, when pair with me, told the starter they need more time on the practice green. 

So, playing with McIlroy, Obama and Hope? You bet! Or, since Hope isn’t available, maybe it could be McIlroy, Obama, Bohannan and Bremer. Playing with Donald Trump? If McIlroy, Obama or anyone else want to, great! Let ‘er rip tatter chip. As for me, thanks but no thanks. I’d like a little more time on the practice green and fill out the next foursome.