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FORE THE LOVE OF GOLF

In 1998 I was living in Carson City, Nevada, having left Anchorage, Alaska in 1995.  My aging rescued Golden Retriever Hanna, move with me. 

Hanna died in March 1998, and I decided I might want to take up the game of golf.  I thought to myself if I didn’t like the game I would get another dog.  Although the thought of outliving another dog seemed too hard at that time.   It took me 15+ years to get another dog.  Remember the saying, “If you want a friend in Washington, D.C. get a dog.”  However, I had not yet moved to D.C.

So, in April 1998, I phoned a local golf course and asked to take a private lesson.  At the driving range the instructor handed me a 7 iron and showed me how to properly grip the club.  In golf your grip is key.  He dumped a bucket of balls on the ground, hit a couple and said it was my turn.  I swung and made great contact.  I was able to hit those balls straight and about 100 yards.  I came to believe I was a golfer in a former life, maybe even a pro on tour?  Golf just seemed natural to me.  This coming from someone who flunked Physical Education in 3 years of high school.  Yes, a person can flunk PE, especially when you don’t show up, and the mornings you do, you refuse to do stupid Swedish ball routines, (but that is for another post).  Back to golf.

That Christmas sister Robin gave me a gift certificate for golf clubs.  We went to the local golf shop, accompanied by our cousin David (the only golfer in our family, and David was adopted), and purchased a set of Mitsushiba irons off the rack.  I liked the green shafts.  What did I know about buying golf clubs?  Never heard of or seen anyone play with these irons.  I may have bought the only set of clubs they ever made?

However, to this day I am still playing with those irons and love them!  I have tried other brand name irons but return to my Mitsushiba.  Drivers, putters and woods are another story.  I have purchased numerous woods, putters and drivers, mostly on eBay.   You could say I am the Imeilda Marcos of golf clubs, not to mention the shoes.  Wish I had the same luck as my beloved Mitsushiba irons.

Golf is a very mental game, played on the green between your two ears.  Rule No.1  Don’t look at your cell phone.  I detest it when other golfers check their phones, or worse don’t silence the ringers.   If you are so important, stay off the golf course with your stupid cell phone!

As a single woman playing golf, I often get “the look” approaching the first tee.  Three guys waiting to tee off, and they see a woman coming towards them; their faces immediately say, “Oh no, here comes a woman and we are going to have to play with her.”  Male golfers think woman talk too much, play slow and they won’t be able to swear.  Quite the contrary.  I don’t want to talk, I hate slow play, and I spent the majority of my life in the labor movement.  The F-Word is my favorite.  Golf is also a four letter word. 

Golf joke: Why do men hate playing golf with woman?  Because they don’t want to stop and let her hit from the red tees, because they are in such a hurry to go look for their balls in the woods. 

Men try to kill the ball, swinging too hard and too fast, and their drives (more often than not) end up out-of-bounds or in the woods, far from the middle of the fairway.  Me, on the other hand (like that 7 iron) hit my ball right down the middle.   When I first began playing I thought it was wrong that woman hit from “forward” or red tees.  It is a fact of nature woman can’t hit the ball as far the guys, so my drive is usually next to, or even a bit past the guys (with the help of the forward tees).  Women (and seniors) get a slight advantage of hitting from the forward tees placed 10 feet or 10 yards ahead.   

There are four tee boxes: Champions hit from the Black or “tips”; Blue for younger players that can hit a drive over 250 yards, White where most (weekend) men should play from; and, Red or forward for woman and senior players.  We lose distance as we age, but golf is a game for a lifetime.

I am great off the tee!  I love the sound of my ball making contact and watching it fly straight into the fairway.  I also like out-driving the men.  They take me seriously after they see me drive off the 1st tee.

I always ask men if they are okay with me (a woman) joining them, I have only been rejected once.  Golf is also about good manners and etiquette.   I was fortunate the year I was learning to play that my pal Gene yelled at me – a lot! 

“Don’t walk across my line.  Don’t cast a shadow on the green, while I am putting.  Bring your clubs with you.  Pick-up your club.  And most of all, keep pace with the golfers in front of you and behind you.  Move along, don’t play slow!”

My favorite golf joke comes in handy when a guy has retrieved his ball from the woods.

What is the difference between a golf ball and a G-spot? 

A guy will look all day for a golf ball. 

Again, I get a look, sometimes accompanied by a laugh.

Yesterday, I walked on as a single and played with 3 guys.  Mike’s wife was riding along in their cart.  Corey and Justin were best pals and having a great day chiding each other.  I played my own game.  I was pleased with myself for having never played the course and managing to play 17 holes with the same ball.  A new Bridgestone, my favorite brand of balls.  On the 18th hole I put that ball in the water and followed it by taking another new ball out of my bad and proceeded to put it in the water in the very same spot.  That always seems to happen – hit a bad shot and then repeat the “very same” bad shot.  As I was saying, golf is all in your head.

Why I love the game?  Being outdoors, preferably walking, the silence of the game, and while you are playing with 3 other people, you are really playing against the course.  I won’t talk politics, or for that matter carry on a conversation.  I may be a woman, but I don’t like talking on the golf course.   Golf is also a meditation.

When a married man returns home from a day of golf, he must frustrate his wife immensely.  Wife: How is Charlie? Husband: good.  Wife: But what about his divorce?  Husband: I didn’t ask.

Five hours on a golf course with your best pal, but the extent of any conversation goes like this: good ball, nice line, your ball is over there by that big tree.   I now believe men marry woman who don’t play golf, so they have 5 hours of no conversation, and an excuse to get out of the house.

But the couples I meet playing together give me hope.  They enjoy being together in a beautiful surrounding and enjoy a bit of healthy competition.  Golf is great FORE play.

I continue to hope to meet the man of my dreams, waiting for me on the first tee.  A few years ago, I dated a guy who seemed to love to play golf as much as I did.  The golf was great, the sex not so much.  Golf takes 4-5 hours to play, sex maybe 15 minutes?  So why wasn’t the golf enough?  Especially at our age.  Oh well. 

I am still in search of a guy who wants to travel in an RV, play golf, and…

 

P.S. if you enjoy reading my blog on Face Book, please go to my webpage and add your email address, www.road2reinvention.net.  Add your email under Maggie’s photo on the right side menu.  THANKS!

 

Worst Golf Course, Sanlan RV & Golf

Possibly the worst golf course I have ever played, Sanlan RV and Golf Resort in Lakeland, FL offers a relatively nice RV park with two swimming pools, one large enough to swim real laps. The bathrooms and showers are also large and clean, and the toilets are commercial grade. The laundry room has big washers and dryers and lots of machines, like a mini-laundromat.  The Staff, especially the park rangers, are very helpful.   However, coming and going after hours can be a problem, because they don’t give short-term visitors after-hours key cards.

I thought it would be great to stay and play golf, NAUGHT.  The golf course is absolutely dreadful. Sanlan was/is part of a working cattle ranch, cattle graze along the perimeter.  The golf course has been converted from a cattle pasture to fairways, and not well.  I doubt they moved any dirt to smooth the course out.  The fairways are dry and hard, which gives you 20 extra yards on good drives.  But riding in a cart is like bouncing across ski moguls. I hope you back is in better shape than mine?

No marshals, so 6 guys playing together, and 3 guys playing from one bag of clubs, are what I experienced on 3/18/18. At least they let me play through, but it didn’t make-up for the condition of the course. Sanlan charged $32 for 18 holes and a cart. But having just played Palm Cove in Palm City for $25, made Sanlan a total rip-off.

Also, Lakeland, FL is nothing special. I tried to find a local micro-brew (non-chain restaurant) to meet my pal Rich, who was driving home to Maryland from Tampa. Rich is a beer aficionado, but we ended up at Smokey Bones, a FL chain.

Sanlan RV & Golf Resort proves my inclination, when visiting FL stay on the coast, either east or west.  Florida is about the beach, and there are so many nice golf courses to choose from with great rates.  

Palm Cove Golf & Yacht Club, Palm City, FL

A great golf course, especially from the forward tees.  Palm Cove is 4643 yards from the reds, and 5292 from the whites tees.  While this is a community course with houses, it is also a beautiful course and the houses aren’t on every hole.  Designed by Chi Chi Rodriguez, the course is beautifully landscaped and has water hazards or many holes, making the course challenging, but fair.   The greens are fast.  I missed most of my putts as they slid by the hole on the edge.  I got a great rate of $25 playing at 2:45 p.m. on  the Palm Cove website.  I look forward to returning and playing this course again.

2363 SW Carriagehill Terrace, Palm City, FL 34990

Montauk vs. Indian Island

There is nothing better than a public course with a great view.  Indian Island Country Club Golf Course, Riverhead, NY is one of my favorites.  Only 20 minutes from my sister’s house in Westhampton, NY.  Don’t let Country Club in the name fool you, this is a public course.  Suffolk County residents get a great rate with a Green Key Card, $26 resident and $44 non-resident.  The front 9 runs along Peconic River offering beautiful water views of boats and swans.  Indian Island is a great course to walk.  Forward tees are 5445, slope71.3, and rating 118.  The Outer Banks Restaurant has some of the very best bar food in the area, including a great hamburger.  On Tuesdays you get a free draft beer with purchase of a burger.  Yum!

Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course is certainly more famous as Long Island public courses go, but the price isn’t worth the drive.  $91 plus $20 for cart, I just don’t think it is worth the price.  The course is not exceptional, and certainly not worth the money.  It is a long course for woman 5797 yardage, slope 132 and rating 74.2.  The Regulation yardage is 6289, slope 130, rating 71.2.

I’ll stick with playing Indian Island.  I love the walk spoiled.

Sideways

I love Paul Giamatti, he was wonderful as John Adams, and has been in some really bad movies.  Sideways is one of my favorite movies, it is a guy ‘chick flick’, (Mom, this movie is not for you).  Two buddies on a bachelor weekend for wine tasting and golf.  Two of my favorite things. 

My birdie on a par 3.

My favorite scene in Sideways is on the golf course, and I have always wanted to play the course.  The River Course at Alisal is in Solvang, CA.  Solvang is a Danish replica a real tourist trap, lots of bakeries and Danish Tchotchkes.  My family drove to Solvang every October to pick pumpkins and eat split pea soup at Anderson’s.

I am thinking I may add playing courses featured in movies to my bucket list.

Nestled in the valley surrounded by vineyards and farms.

The River Course is beautiful, in great condition and long from the forward tees (5710).  The club house and restaurant are very nice, and the course was empty on the Tuesday afternoon I played.  I hope they have a loyal following and membership, because it certainly didn’t seem to be very busy.  I got a great deal on Group Golfer $45 for 18 with a cart.   

I hope I can play it again someday.