When golf is like bowling
September 21, 2007
This past Tuesday was the last evening for the 2007 golf league season at Shawnee Country Club. Frankly speaking, it ended not a minute too soon.
In fact, it probably should have ended a few weeks ago, although participating in the league over the last six months has been a lot of fun, as usual.
It’s just that as I’ve grown older, I have developed a significant inability to play golf in near-total darkness.
All season long, beginning in very early April, we’ve begun these nine-hole matches at 5:30 p.m. At the start of the competition, however, and especially at the end in mid-September, it’s just impossible to finish before sunset. To make matters even more demanding, the evening light after a late summer sunset seems to rush away from us.
It doesn’t matter if the players’ handicaps range from the low single digits to the mid-20s or more. When you’re used to being able to see, and you can’t, the challenge of playing golf increases dramatically.
On one occasion about this time last year, we finished up on the eighth hole at Shawnee. The green is on the eastern border of the property. Therefore, we were not only playing very late in the day, we were also facing away from what little light remained to help us see what we were doing.
For our third shot green approaches on this par-five, we were forced to listen for the sound of our golf balls landing on the green. We certainly couldn’t see them in the air, and walked almost on top of them before we could see them on the green.
Putting was just a matter of hitting toward a dark spot and hoping for the best.
The fact that the game is a two-person team match play format sometimes helps with playing while almost blind. That’s because the usual practice among the Shawnee golf league players is to concede the short putts, which shortens the required playing time.
But that’s not always how we play this game.
In a very recent match, for example, a player I was paired against remained very quiet after every one of my first putts—even the ones that came to a stop less than a foot from the hole. I decided that my best response was to remain similarly close-mouthed during every one of his putts.
His playing companion finally said to me after yet another required tap-in, “I think my partner has lockjaw.”
I didn’t mind, because I made each one of my non-conceded putts. I don’t think he did.
Nonetheless, the added putting time pushed us further into the evening than we might have been otherwise.
The length of the golf league season reminds me most of when I was in a bowling league many years ago. The time of year is flipped, in that bowling leagues usually run from September to April, but there are other similarities. Both involve handicapping, team standings, possible winnings, and the occasional adult beverage or two during the competition.
By this point in the season, however, and no matter how fun it’s been, most participants are happy to see it end, and wondering if maybe it shouldn’t be a little shorter season next time.
Shawnee 9-Holers Member Guest
On September 13, the Shawnee 9-holers held their annual Member-Guest tournament–during the day, however.
They enjoyed great weather and, they admitted, some great prizes for the large turnout of competitors. First place honors went to Linda Cavanaugh and Ann Hilaman. Cass Hall and Agnes Cavanaugh took second place, while Nancy McDonnell and Sue Scaglione finished in third place. Ann Hilaman and Judy Freed also won a special prize for placing their drives closest to the painted centerline on the first hole.