Opening Day and Beyond

First Round….

The home course opened on Monday. I played the first round of nine this season on Thursday. I missed a lot of opportunities – mostly from wedge shots falling short – so I have something to work on. My drives were solid, and I was hitting my fairway wood (Lucky #7) well. On the 7th hole I got the ball from the wrong side of the cart path past a tree and close to the green using the new Mizuno JPX 850 7 iron. With wand-like accuracy, this could be my favorite club. While I didn’t use the latest addition to my bag – the Mizuno JPX EZ 5 hybrid as much, it may have as much potential as the 7 iron.

While playing this first round, contending with the rust on my swing, and my timid approach shots, I thought of the Babe. I finished Don Van Natta’s Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrickson Zaharias on the way back the Lazy Hollow ’17. I knew of her legacy as an athlete (Olympic medalist, barnstorming baseball player, and one of the founders of the LPGA); and I sensed that she was a force to be reckoned with (and how! as Wonder Girl makes clear!), what I didn’t know of was how forthright she was about having cancer at a time when people did not talk about having the disease.  She was public about her treatment – she had the courage to come back and play professional golf with colostomy bag. She changed the way we talk about cancer. After a while, I got a little braver.

…And Beyond. The golf associations – (EWGA and MGA) have issued their player day outings. I’m pulling out the calendar and planning for the great season that I’m sure lies ahead.

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Oh Happy Day! The Home Course Opens on Saturday!

On the top of my in box yesterday morning was an email from the pro – weather permitting, the course will open at 8:00 Saturday morning. In that small wrinkle of time between paid work and momming,  I hit balls into the net the backyard, running through the sequence – driver, fairway wood, hybrid 5, 7 iron, wedge. Matching up the long range forecast and my calendar the mid-section of next week looks promising. Wednesday afternoon it may be possible to play real deal golf. My inner child is jumping up and down.

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.

At the Intersection of Politics and Golf

Back in the day, nine months ago, during a Golf Channel panel discussing “Is Trump good for game”  Dan Roberts of Yahoo Finance and Sports posited that in Donald J. Trump we’ll have the most prominent golf loving president in US history.

There is another side to this coin. Don Van Natta in First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers and Cheaters from Taft to Bush, writes of Franklin Roosevelt’s love of the game. His father lay out a course at Hyde Park in the late 1800s. While in his teens, FDR did the same at Campobello. After polio, he had a special course built at Hot Springs. Public works projects built more that 250 municipal courses during the Depression. My home course, the Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr  Municipal Golf Course at Fresh Pond, was built in 1933 by the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Unemployment Bureau.

It’ll be interesting to see how growing the game plays out. Personally, I’m grateful that there are so many courses that are not owned by current office holders that I’ll be able to keep red and blue politics at arms length while playing many, many rounds over the next several years.  fpgc-3

Thorbjørn Olesen makes the case more team golf events

Interesting post earlier this week from the Irish Golf Desk; Olesen, with Søren Kjelds , prevailed at the Handa World Cup of Golf  said of their victory on Friday at the Kingston Heath Golf Club,

“Today on the back nine I felt like I would die for my partner. I’ve never experienced that before.”

Imagine watching the top players, cheering their team mates on, just like we country duffers do when we’re playing four balls with friends.

Read more here – on the Irish Golf Desk.

Peggy Kirk Bell, Champion of Golf’s Many (1921-2016)

“Golffari…a week you’ll never forget…concentrated and superior golf instruction” for families, boys and girls offers the ad in the February 20, 1976 issue of Golf World magazine. At her Pine Needles Lodges and Country Club, Peggy Kirk Bell, a founding member of the LPGA, Peggy Kirk Bell, who died today, offered golf, tennis and swimming in a resort atmosphere beginning in the Sansabelt era.

“In my years I’ve seen quite a lot,” she once said, “I’ve seen some take up golf because they like riding around outdoors in the cart… Some are crazy about the game play because of all the good looking clothes… Some play because they like the feel of a solid hit… But here’s the great thing – we’re all here for something.”*

We’re all here for something – what a generous vision of the game. May we honor this pioneer by continuing to grow this great game for all.

*Different Strokes: the Lives and Teachings of the Game’s Wisest Women, by Mona Vold, 1999, Simon & Schuster, p. 94-95.