Golfing Lore

Tony hit the links for his 2009 golfing debut on Sunday. Find out what makes the sport so enticing to the kid from Philly.

Good Walk Spoiled Re-Take

First off, no plagiarism is allowed at my blog. Mark Twain first said it and John Feinstein, renowned sports writer, went one step farther and authored a best selling sports book about it. Golf is indeed “A Good Walk Spoiled”.

With that as a backdrop, I delve into tonight’s prose with a look back at my first round of golf of the season.

Early last week I picked Sunday for my first golf game of the year. The expected sun splashed day to provide the inspiration and the end of the long, cold winter the source for celebration. Never mind that March Madness was dominating the boob tube and my draw sheet at work had moved me in contention in the company pool (42 out of 172 with all my elite teams alive and well).

Editor’s note: The skies were indeed Tar Heel blue on this day even though I did not have UNC winning the NCAA tourney.

The WSAZ golfing roster on hand included me, Mark and JB with alum Jimmy Treacy a “no-surprise” no-show. Surely his snub will not go unnoticed by the R & A.

Of course when I tee it up, golf is often secondary. When you hack around like I do, you need something to take the edge off a shank (had one on Sunday after a big drive) or a three putt (had just one on the slick 6th green where I was above the hole).

That something can be the camaraderie of playing with friends or the brisk breeze that stirs the trees. Clearly, golf is a surreal event when I play.

On the course, evidence of the great ice storm included several felled trees including a monster oak behind the 5th green. The dry March too was showing its effects as tee boxes and greens alike were lush but dry.

Before tee time, I paid my green fee (a mere Alexander Hamilton to walk 18) in the clubhouse. There Marshall Hall of Fame golfer Pete Byer (1962) was holding court as I arrived. At the “Squire” when Pete talks, golfers listen. My favorite Byer story focuses on Sam Snead asking him what he (Pete) was doing at the US Open in the 1960s. “I am here to play”, Pete matter of factly told Snead.

On the putting green I checked the Esquire thermometer which read, 63, just as Josh had said it would on Saturday night! I gleamed in approval as Josh is coming into his own as one of the heir apparents to my throne (a metaphorical throne, please no serious e-mails here).

As I completed my short game practice, I looked up to the Esquire rafters where in the early 90s a small twister had hop scotched across the hills and done damage to the clubhouse.

Our 2 pm tee time had been pushed back to 2:30 thanks to the early morning frost. At the Squire as at all courses, “nobody goes off until Jack Frost”.

Finally, came the call to the first tee. “Mr Cavalier you have the honors, play away please”, Bunk chimed out, but not before asking how his favorite girl was doing (Bunk loves Melanie Shafer). Bunk can’t start the day without watching his girl!

My first swing of the year was a feeble attempt to hit the Greg Norman sewn Bermuda fairway of the 360 yard par four opening hole. All fairways were of course still dormant, their gnarly brown coat not unlike a thick layer of peach fuzz. No worry, since I hit only 4 fairways all day.

I quickly doffed the ball cap I had worn to the course as we strolled down the first fairway. This would give me a chance to test the theory that you can get a sun burn in March.

At the turn, I grabbed a lemonade in the clubhouse where I could indeed see my face was turning red. Yes you can get burned even in March.

By the 18th hole, I had managed to post an untidy 52-42-94, this from the short tees. Ouch! Along the way, over the 4 hours I had walked a few miles, admired nature in rural Cabell County, told a few jokes with my playing partners and began the long and arduous task of trying to my game ready to beat Keith at out annual summer soirée to Snowshoe.

Sure, the day’s golf had been rather shoddy, but the good walk had been more enriched rather than ruined thanks to Mother Nature.
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