The beginning of the school year is never conducive to either golf or golf blogging. There is so much going on: beginning of year activities, assemblies, meetings and in-services; new students to get to know; new directives from administration to comply with; and a new slew of mandates from Michigan’s idiot state legislators who think that—because they once sat in a classroom—they know how teachers should teach and students should learn (that is the same sort of lunacy as a person who thinks he can practice law because he once served on a jury).
So in spite of my general disinterest in golf outings, I was really looking forward to the John Glenn HS Wrestling team’s annual fundraising event. At the very least, I thought, it would be an excuse to get out and pound the ball around.
Part of reason for my blase attitude towards outings is that I rarely play well. My game is predicated on course management. I know what my shots are likely to do, what distance I will encounter, and the shots I need to score. In outings, likely as not, I will play from unfamiliar distances at unfamiliar angles. I have never been able to convince a single outing partner that we should play my ball from 150 to the green in favor of theirs at 110. I’m very confident and good at the 140 to 160 shot because those are distances I regularly encounter. One-ten not so much.
Laying up is never a question at a golf outing. The birdie pressure makes everyone “go for it” at every opportunity. That’s just alien to my way of thinking and I feel the pressure.
Given that, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself playing well on Saturday. I pounded drives down the fairway, hit my share of greens and chipped accurately. My only disappointment was in the putting. It wasn’t that I was putting poorly. Rather, it was in the number of putts that I—and my group—missed by a fraction of an inch. For about six inches worth of green, I think we would have been ten under. As it was, we finished at minus two
Idyl Wyld in Livonia, MI, is a great course for a golf outing. It’s relatively short—just 5,800 yards from the tips—and straightforward. There are some forced carries, but the course’s principal defense are its small greens. The course is generally flat, with a couple treks up and down river/creek valleys to make it interesting. There were quite a few walkers ahead of and behind the outing. If Idyl Wyld were closer to home, I’d play it on a regular basis.
The winning team came with a ringer:a woman. From the forward tees, Idyl Wyld is 800 yards shorter, a fact which meant that on nearly every par 4 hole, the co-ed team was hitting their second shots from well inside the 150 mark. She had a good swing and they took full advantage of the distance differentials. That team was, I think, something like twelve under.
The weather for the outing was perfect—sunny and in the lower 70s. Dinner was nice, too: steak, salad, green beans and some sort of cheesy rice concoction that I did not sample.
The round also gave me the chance to try out my new pair of golf knickers from GolfKnickers.Com. I felt a bit weird heading to the course in those togs, but they were amazingly comfortable, and I got a lot of complements. The pants are a cotton-linen blend that were perfect for the temperatures. I think I’m going to get a pair of socks with blue and yellow argyles to show my support for my alma maters, West Virginia and Michigan.
Sadly, there were just seven groups in the outing. That surely didn’t leave a lot of room for profit for the wrestling team. I’ve noticed a steep decline in the number of teams participating in golf outings in recent years. A couple of years ago, a good sized outing might have eighteen or twenty teams. There would be a shotgun start with teams on every hole and sometimes doubled up on the par fives. The last several I’ve played in have been half that. I’m also getting a lot more random invitations than I used to, presumably because organizers are grasping at straws to fill up carts.
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