OK, we start out with an assumption: You are a person who loves golf.
Now, another assumption: In recent weeks, during the virus-induced shutdown of courses, you are a person who has missed golf – probably tremendously.
During those shutdown weeks, you probably missed the fact that golf is such a pure game. You missed the fact that golf is such a challenge. You even missed the fact, even though it doesn’t make much sense, that golf is a game that can be so frustrating it might leave you spewing a few expletives.
All that – the good, bad and ugly – is why you missed golf. You miss going to the course and trying to swat a tiny, dimpled ball and put that ball in a small hole in the ground after covering the length of four football fields with four swings of a stick.
Strange but wonderful game.
One thing helping me get through the virus golf gap were some excellent memories. By happenstance, shortly before the virus hit, my wife and I decided to go on a short but completely memorable GOLF ROAD TRIP. Yes, the experience was so good it deserves being in all capital letters.
Just throw the clubs in the back of the car and hit the road.
We headed up Florida’s East Coast and figured out where we would play the old-fashioned way (Google, where are the nearest golf courses to us?).
We didn’t want to spend most of our time driving – except off the tees. The trip began in Miami, and we made our way to Fort Pierce. Each day included a round of golf followed by whatever we wanted to do – tourist sites, a movie, dinner, etc.
We stayed at Holiday Inns. Hey, what did you expect, the Ritz? I don’t get paid that much. Plus, the free breakfast at Holiday Inns is just fine and yummy. I can burn a waffle in one of those flip-over waffle machines with the best of them.
I need to make one thing perfectly clear. I am a much, much better golfer than my wife, Sharon. Actually, that’s easy because she really doesn’t play. She likes the beautiful setting provided by most courses. She also enjoys driving the cart, and fortunately, has not run over any fellow golfers … yet.
I am not going to bore you with my golfing abilities (OK, inabilities is more accurate) but will give you a quick summary. These are the memories that helped get me through the Virus Void:
Warm-up round in southern Miami-Dade. Played a course I have played before. That would be Killian Greens, a friendly and fairly short course where scoring low is easy – good for the ego boost I needed for the trip. Shot an 83 at 42-41. Not bad, and even got to feed cracker crumbs to the Egyptian Geese.
Up to Broward County to visit Flamingo Lakes. Probably my best start ever for a round with birdie on No. 1, par on No. 2 and birdie on No. 3. Also added a birdie on No. 17 and a par on No. 18. Warning: When I start off well, I know what comes next all-too-well. Disaster. And that’s what happened. Had to also write down triple-bogey and quadruple-bogey on the front. Finished 44-42–86.
As you might guess, consistency is not in my bag.
We headed north to Port St. Lucie and played The Saints course. Played well at 43-42–85, but that was not the highlight. Lloyd, one of three players paired with us, was the highlight.
On the first hole, my wife was in the cart, parked 20 yards behind the green. Lloyd hit a shot that screeched across the green but slowed substantially before hitting our cart.
“Yikes,” my wife said.
“Told you golf can be dangerous,” I responded to her with a smile.
Then we watched Lloyd, from behind the green, take a seemingly disgusted one-handed swipe at the ball with a 7-iron or so. The ball hit the bank of the green and popped up and rolled straight in – a hole-out from 28 yards.
I walked over to Lloyd and told him that the shot was amazing, and that it looked as though he was ticked off and just flailed at the ball, but it went in.
Not so, according to Lloyd.
“I have the chipping yips and I do all my chips with one hand.”
During the round, Lloyd placed one-handed chip shot after chip shot close to the hole.
Way to be, Lloyd.
We stayed put in Port St. Lucie and play Club Med Sandpiper Bay. Played poorly with a 47-43–90. Lars, one of the two Swedes who joined us, kept asking if we wanted to buy his home in Port St. Lucie for a mere $490,000. We repeatedly declined.
(Note to readers: Notice my poor rounds in this story get far less space than the good rounds).
Headed north to Fort Pierce and Fairwinds Golf Course, a Jim Fazio design. Shot another 90 at 46-44, and I got to practice a lot of shots in the sand. Why? With traps, the more times you leave the ball in the bunker, the more sand shots you get to take and possibly hone your non-existent bunker game. Of course, that doesn’t help your score in that round.
Headed south on the way home and went back to play The Saints course again on the way. Finished with a not-that-great 46-43–89.
Highlight? Play was slow, and nobody was behind us.
So, on one hole, Sharon had time to try three drives – and walloped one of them 40 yards.
On the last two holes, a par-4 and par-5, I played two balls, only counting the first one on the scorecard.
Made par with both balls on both holes. So, in a manner of convoluted golf logic, I finished the golf trip with four straight pars.
So, to sum up:
Golf trip over – boo.
We had a great time – yay.