Saturday, July 07, 2007

"I Used To Be A Halfway Decent Golfer"

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During the summer of 2005, I got a lot of research done for my Masters degree, but it didn't take up all of my time. So, I had a lot of time to play golf. And I had a membership at the Penn State courses giving me unlimited play for the whole year, as long as the course is open. (My tax return just about paid for the membership. It worked out well.) I've played golf occasionally my whole life, but that summer was really the first time I've ever played consistently. And two years ago today, I reached the pinnacle (no pun intended) of my golfing career: a round of 78 on the White Course, including a one-under-par 34 on the front 9. Pretty much everything came together that day - I made my putts, executed on my sand shots, and hit it in the fairway most of the time. (Except for that triple bogey on #18.) It was quite a turnaround from the 108 I shot the first time I played the White Course 11 months prior to that.

But that was a long time ago. What happened since then? Well, I still played fairly consistently for the rest of 2005, but I never got anywhere close to that 78. That score was a huge outlier; I only broke 90 once more the rest of the year. But I was consistent. And it was fun. I even beat my dad once in the process, something I consider almost as big of an accomplishment as the 78. I thought I was setting myself up for a lifetime of golfing prowess.

Even 2006 got off to a nice start. Obviously, you can't golf a whole lot in the winter months in Pennsylvania, so I had to wait until after Spring Break to hit the links again. But that didn't slow me down too much in 2005, and it didn't in 2006 either: I shot a 84 my first time out. But I only played a few more times after that, because I had to do this thing called "graduate". But it's nice to I squeezed one last round on the White Course during my last week in State College. And I shot a 90. I still had it. (I kept track of all of my scores, as you would expect.)

Then, I got a real job and moved to Raleigh (Cary). No more leaving work at 1100a to hit the links. So, when could I play? Well, I played once after work on a Friday in August, and that worked out well. But that was the last time I've played a real round of golf in Raleigh (Cary). During Winter, I played three rounds at the local par 3 course in an attempt to rekindle my game after a disasterous round the day after Christmas. But once it warmed up, the course got crowded, and it just wasn't worth it to play slow on a par 3 course. So, I haven't been back there since the first week of March. And I haven't even picked up a golf club since then. It's sad, really. It's just too hard to play these days. During one of my trips to State College last year, I tried to play a round at the White Course while Amber went to school, but the course was closed for a tournament. Then, during the Winter, I drove out to the Raleigh course one Saturday morning, but that too was closed (too cold, apparently). The problem is, just about every golf course is too crowded to be enjoyable on a weekend. And the only other time I can play is after work, which doesn't get me home until 800p, which results in a quick turnaround to work the next day, something I could do without. Sure, I could play 9 holes, but that doesn't seem worth it to me. And I could take a day off in the middle of the week to play a round, but vacation time is hard to come by - I don't want to use up a whole day of vacation time just for a round of golf. I guess I just don't have enough free time these days to justify devoting 5 hours of it to an activity that I'll probably be tired of by the 3rd hour (especially this time of year with the heat). It's much easier to motivate myself to go out to the disc golf course instead, where playing is free, the crowds are sparse (unless you go to Kentwood), and you'll be home in under two hours.

They say that golf is a "rich man's game". So, who plays golf, anyway? People without jobs don't have money. People with jobs don't have time. I guess that leaves retired people. Well, that would explain a lot. It would be nice to be a school teacher and have the whole summer off. (Well, aside from all of those workshops.)

What is my golfing future? I don't know. I really don't know. And it's sad.

Last Year: "Bowling: Straight vs. Curvy". Neither Amber nor myself has tried curvy bowling since then. We're too competitive. But I have started noticing more not-so-good "curvy" bowlers at the alleys than ever before. I guess they all come out on Saturday mornings.

Tomorrow (Monday): "Independence Day In Clayton, NC". Where did Amber and I go to watch Independence Day fireworks? Well, we sure as hell weren't staying in Cary.

Today's random thought:

- There are a lot of weddings today. Why? Because it's 7/7/07, so lots of people think it's a "lucky day". Do people really need to try to interject artificial "luck" into their marriage? What does that say about how confident they are it's going to work?


Jeff said...

You can tell who's watching just from the commercials on a golf tournament: Cadillac/Buick, investment banks, and Viagra. I'd say old men is a pretty safe bet.

Doesn't your company allow you to take half of a day off? I know my dad's company did that.

Chris Allen said...

I could take a half-day off, if I made up the time the rest of the week (i.e. work 9 hours for four days and 4 hours on the remaining day). I can't just take a half-day of vacation time, though. They won't let you charge normal working time and vacation time (or sick time) in the same day.