I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.
By: joealaska , 4:59 AM GMT on August 04, 2014
Yesterday I drove SE to metro WILBUR where the Big Bend Golf Club exists. The typical small town course was just 9 holes. But it was in good shape and had some nice greens. The young guy at the counter was pretty cool and we chatted a while. He seemed to be treating me very well, something I notice right away.
He told me the course was fairly open. A twosome had just teed off as I came in. Counter Guy told me there was another threesome ahead of us all, and that the twosome would be catching them soon. If I knew how informal the course was, and the specific layout, I would have just started on #7, right there by the clubhouse. The one problem with 9 hole courses is, IF you want to play 18, after you finish 9 holes, you go back and start again. OK. Most decent 9 hole courses have 2 different sets of tees. So when you play the "back" nine, the holes are different, with different yardage and usually a bit different shape. Sometimes a par 4 becomes a par 5. This place had that, too.
But when you finish #9 and ride up to the #1 / #10 tee area, there are 3 groups ahead. 2 playing their BACK nine, and one starting as #1. It does not matter, either way I am waiting. One course I know in Louisville gave priority to the groups coming through on their 2nd nine. There could be 6 balls in the rack and here we come on #10 and walk ahead of them all. It usually brought a snide comment or three, but in a couple hours those same A-holes would be coming down to #10 themselves…
BUT! I hit off #1 seeing that TWOSOMES had already run into THREESOME on #3. Bad news. Counter Guy thought they were fairly well ahead, in fact not so. I will say right now as a golfer, slow play sucks. It happens in many ways. I hate it, but you have to live with it. Or quit the game. Right now, I have NOWHERE I gotta be. I got time. I can deal with slow play more now than ever. But still there are points that are reached.
When there is nobody behind me, I have no problem at all. If I see the group is just ahead of me, I finish the ball I am playing. Then I pull out 3 more balls and throw them all off to a far corner of the green, and try to hit some long putts. I practice. I may go back a hundred yards and a hit a few shots at the flag. WHATEVER. YET, I keep up with the group ahead. Pushing them, actually.
Then there are THE EXCEPTIONS. Yesterday it was couple playing their Sunday game no matter what. And they caught up with another similar couple, plus one of their DADs. When they caught up with them on #2 they all knew each other and joined together.
The dreaded FIVESOME. ILLEGAL on most courses, maybe except some private places. Normally a single like myself just plays through as the mob of 5 waits. But not me. After doing so for many years, I am tired of screwing up just to hurry through. I am in no hurry, but now I am playing through another group?
Normally I try not to play through, I take FOREVER to play a hole. But now another groups shows up behind me, and I cannot screw around any more. This is no fun for me. WAIT WAIT WAIT, now HIT! So, if the group ahead is the only issue, I just drive around them and skip a hole. I miss a hole, but I can re-play that hole if I have a potential club record. Has not happened yet.
SO… yesterday I saw the fivesome ahead. I screwed around. Finally another group came from behind and I was pushed. The 5 ahead were pretty bad. I watched them, and they were in a fog. There was no sense of moving ahead.
That was when I noticed the clouds.
At first the sky got a deeper blue, then grayish. Clouds grew in the distance. HEY, I was in no hurry. But then I saw the wall of dust coming in. Been there, done that in Arizona. I knew time was short, and I drove through the fivesome and went ahead. I do not know if they even noticed. And I started playing better. OH, I still had bad shots, JUDAS! But I recovered.
The dust cloud kept coming. I knew there was a bit of time. I heard thunder. Never did see lightning.
The dust was a minute away when I teed off on #7, right by the clubhouse and hitting back out. WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I blasted one down the middle (one of my couple of good drives of the round), and followed that up with another big hit to within 50 yards of the green on the par 5. As I hung over that short third shot the dust wall came through. Heavy at first, but it dropped off. Windy and dusty, but golfable. You just have to adapt.
I also knew the rain was coming. But right now it was dry and crazy. Mostly crazy with a good right to left wind. I tried to calm down and get balanced on the #8 Par 3. A tough hole WITHOUT the crosswind. A couple of balls later I quit and moved on. There were raindrops. No need to finish a potential record score.
It died down a hair, and I got a part of #18 in. Just when I arrived at the clubhouse the big rain hit. The guy who talked to me asked if all was OK, but the storm was kicking and I said NO PROBLEM.
I drove home in a good old fashioned hard rain. 20 miles. It stopped just when I got back. I called the course and asked if they took care of rain checks, free golf due to bad weather, He said YES.
Free golf today, Sunday. I was treated very well.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
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