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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The Lazy Hollow Invitational 2017

The nor ‘easter that passed through last week makes for great spring skiing, but slammed the breaks on the start of the golf season. The course at Fresh Pond is far from playable – opening day is at least a week away. As luck and a positive cash flow would have it, I’ve booked on a flight to Orlando early Wednesday morning. Mom is turning 80, so we’re celebrating at her lovely home, which is just off the ninth fairway, in a place where it is sunny and 80 degrees.

Since Mom moved to Florida in 2013, we’ve held the Lazy Hollow Invitational – an exclusive,  multi-day, mother/daughter event with a simple format – multiple rounds of stroke play with lots of gimmes and mulligans, followed by cocktails on the lanai, steaks medium rare, classic movies on the big screen, and your choice of ice cream.

The trip is simple – Uber/curb check clubs/non stop BOS to MCO/pick up clubs and car and roll up the road to the country club. Packing isn’t complicated – a couple of polo shirts and a skort, espadrilles and a silk scarf should the need to dress up arise.

I brought the cart bag up from the basement. In one of the pockets there were four old gloves – stiff and dry, and smelling of leather and sunblock. Ready…

Snow Falling on Golf Course/Virtual Golf

Which delays opening day – an email from the pro postponed the start of the season until the weather improves. Rats.

Meanwhile, earlier this week business took me to Pittsfield, MA, where I hacked my way through the first 12 holes on the Old Course at St Andrews at Downswing’s Indoor Golf Center. Ryan, the starter, walked me through how the sensors read the club speed and direction as it hit the ball, and then feed the results to the computer. Using the touch screen, I could aim my shot. Because the putting senors were on the fritz, any thing that landed on the green was a gimme.  In the virtual world, there is no causal water, or rakes on the edge of the bunker, or the need to take your stance standing sideways on a hillside. A fun way to pass an evening in late winter, while waiting for the weather to lift and Spring to get back on track.

snow

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.

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.