Sunday, February 10, 2019

Golf in February

With the forecast for temperatures in the 70s on Wednesday, primal instinct took over.

I fished out my golf clubs.

This was a major commitment on my part. For various reasons over the past five years or so, including having a daily part-time job that ate up my afternoons, I hadn't played golf at all. I can't begin to tell you how painful that was for me.

But that was about to change.

So I put on a pair of cargo shorts and a polo shirt, put the clubs in the trunk of my car, and headed off to Heather Hills Golf Club in Winston-Salem.

A couple things to note here:

• The first thing that should jump out at you is "cargo shorts." C'mon. It's February. According to the forecast, it's going to hit 70 degrees plus. The only thing more ridiculous than wearing shorts in February is, well, playing golf in February.

• Why Heather Hills?

Heather Hills is an "executive" style golf course that usually doesn't have a lot of traffic. And both of those are good things.

An executive golf course is usually short in length. Heather Hills is about 3,200 yards and a par 60. (Lexington Municipal, by contrast, is par 71, 5,600 yards). For a guy who hasn't played in nearly five years and wants to kick off the rust, this is perfect. So is the idea that there usually aren't that many other golfers at Heather Hills watching you, which could raise my embarrassment factor with any shanks, chilli dips or whiffs I might employ,

• I almost always walk the course when I play. First, I walk for the exercise. And secondly, I walk because I can save five or six bucks as opposed to renting a cart. Priorities, you know.

Anyway, I walked up to the first tee, took a practice swing, and then struck my first tee shot in five years. I used a 7-iron for a 133-yard hole.

Two things happened next. I hit a perfect shot. Well, perfect in the sense that it went straight. It also went short, maybe 90 yards or so. I didn't care about length. I hit a nice shot that went straight.

I ended up bogeying the hole and I projected my score for the entire round, meaning I would shoot bogey golf. I'll take that.

There are some issues about playing in February, however.

Like the grass. I think the course at Heather Hills is seeded with Bermuda, which means everything is an off white right now. Or about the color of my used golf balls.

Also, there's not much grass cutting going on. That means the fairway rough is a couple inches tall.

It's amazing how you can lose a camouflaged golf ball in the fairway. I lost four, but I found two. Not quite break even, but acceptable.

Another thing I didn't factor into the round was that I've grown five years older. I like to think I'm immune from aging, but, sadly, no. Those 7-irons that I used to hit 150 yards a half decade ago are now 110 yards (or less). I guess I have to recalibrate my whole game.

And walking. Sheesh. I carry two woods and six irons, plus a putter, in an effort to lighten my bag. But after Wednesday's round, which I figure was maybe 3-4 miles of walking with a 25-pound bag, wore me flat out.

I was stiff as board before I got back to the car. My feet were killing me. Heather Hills, as the name implies, has some substantial hills on it. Duh. So I need to do a better job taking measure of my surroundings.

My round actually deteriorated on the back nine. I was tired.

But, you know. I shot an 89 (a 39 on the front side). That's 29 over par. I don't care. I was playing golf. Life is good.

The next time it's 70 degrees, I'll be on the course again.

Riding a cart.

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