Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Notes on Golf

Bill's Story:

Tournament play began in earnest for me on April 17 and 18. My friend Dan Strasser invited me to play on his team in the "Brookside Swat" on the 17th at Brookside Golf and Country Club in Columbus. Dan can really golf his ball as he once was club champion at Brookside. I never pass up an opportunity to play this old-fashioned tree-lined gem. It is chock full of interesting severe dogleg holes requiring precise shotmaking and patient course management. There are also several back-breaking par 4s where middle-distance hitting players like myself are forced to wear out the face of their three woods(metals?) on their second shots.

The format for the competition was 16 five man teams counting the team's two best gross scores on each hole. Play for everyone under 60 was from the 7150 yard tips. Having become a sextogenarian last October, I was able to play from the more manageable blue tees at about 6650 yards. Nineteen local pros and many talented local amateurs were scattered among the teams. Dan recruited New Zealand native Ken Collett, a titanic hitter who serves as pro at Darby Creek Golf Course in Marysville. Our team also featured T.J. Brudzinski, a former assistant pro at Brookside, who subsequently regained his amateur status. T.J. has won a bevy of local amateur events. Frankly, with my 8 handicap having to play scratch, I was a little out of my class. As it always does in these things, it came down to putting. T.J. played brilliantly tee to green but converted only a couple of his birdie opportunities. Ken wowed us with his awesome driving, but he had several near-misses with the flat stick too. I made 11 pars (and a few helped our gross) but no birdies. Our team finished two over while the winning team came in at nine under.

I had to believe that my new old putter "The Squire" was thrilled to be back on the course making putts in tournaments after presumably rusting away in the garage for decades. Those of you do not play golf may question the practice of attributing feelings and emotions to a golf club. But golfers understand and respect this phenomenon. Many of our greatest players have ascribed human characteristics to their putters. Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam in 1930 with "Calamity Jane, " and Ben Crenshaw took the Masters with the magical "Little Ben." In filmdom we have Judge Smails played by Ted Knight hauling out the ancient "Billy Barroo" ("Oh Billy, Billy, Billy!") for the critical putt (and making it) in "Caddyshack." Golf can be a lonely game- often it is just you and your game against an unyielding course! That is why it is comforting to have a good friend like "the Squire" in your bag. He understands what you are going through and wants to help. Of course, friends can turn on you with a vengeance like my Odyssey did , and then they have to go!

I had a great time with Strasser and my teammates in the Brookside men's grille as we drowned our golf frustrations in beer. I discussed New Zealand with Ken Collett who informed me that he hails from the same club as Bob Charles, golf's greatest lefty pre-Mickelson. I also got reacquainted with John Mazza, a fellow I practiced law with thirty years ago who is a formidable insurance defense lawyer in our town.

On Saturday, The Lakes Golf and Country Club (my home club) had its Opening Day Scramble tournament. I never look forward to scrambles as I would rather play my own ball. But generally I have a good time playing in them. My three teammates were Dave Sivinski, Pat Turner, and John Williams. Sivinski and I have been playing partners in various club events for some years, and we are partnering in two Lakes "majors" later in the summer. Pat is a regular member of our Saturday group, and a very personable companion. I had not previously met John Williams. This scramble had a twist: we started play on the regular "white" tees; once we made a birdie, the team moved back to the "blues." A second birdie would place us on the "greens" which are the "tips." Thus as with most scrambles, the team that has a big bomber has a big advantage. Unfortunately, our team did not sport that kind of driver.

But we played pretty well- a no bogey 67, three back of the winning team tied for fifth winning some small change credits in the pro shop. John Williams was a big help holing three 20 footers. "The Squire" made a snake also despite my teammates good-natured needling over what they called "Billy Baroo." My best moment came on 18 after Sivinski had powered a three wood to within 7 feet of the cup. I inquired of him whether he would mind my getting my ball inside of his. Good teammate that Dave is, he assured me he was OK with that, and I promptly pured my little fade in there to within a couple of inches of holing out. Fairway woods have been a longtime bugaboo and it is good to have those going well for a change.

So that is the golf report. I am writing this posting on April 29. Tomorrow Lisa and I leave for Scotland.

No comments:

Post a Comment