Today is a strange day in Central New York – there is a giant yellow object in the sky. What’s that called? “The Sun”? Does that come here often? I haven’t seen it in quite some time. I legitimately don’t think there’s been a single sunny day since my return to Syracuse last Monday until today. Some might say this is just in time for baseball season – which it is – but it’s also just in time for golf season, which I’m also quite concerned about. I have put one round of golf in so far this year, however, and in honor of the return of the Sun, it’s time to look back at how that went.
I got in my first round of golf of the year two Fridays ago while back on Long Island with two friends, Tim McKeon and John Pierce. This is back when the weather was in the 70s and we could wear a short-sleeved shirt and shorts outside, unlike now, when I need two long-sleeved shirts and pants. (Ah, those were the days.) We decided to tee up a round of 18 holes at Eisenhower Park’s White Course. I’ll rate this round of golf in several different areas…
The White Course was designed by legendary golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, who either created or remodeled over 500 different golf courses in his lifetime. He must have tried harder on the other 499. The course has basically the same exact layout on every hole. There’s a straight fairway, a bunker down the fairway on either the right or the left, a bunker in front of the green on the other side as the first bunker, and some ridiculous slope on the greens. It feels a little bit like Groundhog Day on every hole.
That being said, there are two great things about the White Course. The first is its dual par threes. Each of the four par three holes has two identical holes back to back, which helps to speed up the round. If you’re waiting behind someone on one par three, you can just play the exact same hole next to it. The second is that the course is tremendously wide open. Even I only lost two balls during the round, and I’m usually good for about seven.
The three of us were paired with Mark, an Asian man who appeared to be in his forties. Getting paired with another person can be a scary proposition – are they much better than you? Are they able to have fun? Are they so bad that you can’t stand playing with them? (In our case, this latter option was not possible.) We hit the jackpot with Mark, who didn’t speak much but had a good time, was very respectful of golf etiquette, and was definitely better than us but not by much. On our best holes, we outdrove him, though there were not too many “best holes.”
However, Mark was not the most memorable fellow of the round, thanks to an incident on the par-three 14th hole. The four of us were hitting our tee shots after waiting a couple of minutes for the group ahead of us to finish on the green. This group had been taking a considerable amount of time all day, thanks in no part to a man who took more practice swings than Sergio Garcia. So we had been waiting for a long combined amount of time – nothing unreasonable, but long enough to irritate. On the 14th, John hit his tee shot into the ground, and quickly took a “provisional” second ball. I then hit a first shot about ten yards, and lined up a quick second ball, which I would hit within six seconds. But that wasn’t okay to the group of people on the 13th green. “You can’t hit another ball!” yelled a 50-ish man while whistling at us – all while I hit the shot (quite well, I might add.) That didn’t go over well with John or Tim. I won’t go into the specific details of the conversation, but there were some expletives exchanged and that guy came off looking like a fool. Nicely done, John and Tim.
Here are the reasons that guy was crazy for yelling:
1) I was in the middle of my shot.
2) There are two different par-three holes per hole, remember?
3) They didn’t end up teeing off until we had finished the hole, because they were still putting on the green while yelling.
4) They were at the same tee box as us for a total of maybe five minutes throughout the entire round.
5) It’s a Friday in March at Eisenhower Park.
So that guy was a jerk, and tears down the overall grade.
Suffice it to say that I am terrible at golf. But I thoroughly enjoyed this round for not having played in, I don’t know, ten months. I hit a number of shots that would have been good had I hit the ball anywhere between straight and (not totally) off to the right. However, many went totally off to the right. I ended up winning the round by multiple strokes over both John and Tim, shot 10 strokes better on the back nine, and chipped a ball in for the first time ever (a blast out of a greenside bunker). That’s a success to me.
Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable round of golf, despite the jerk on 14’s best attempt to sabotage it. An overall tally, weighted heavily by the fun level…