Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Original Tea Partiers

Last Sunday everyone in the continental United States turned their clocks back one hour ending Daylight Savings Time, except in Arizona. Arizonans do not turn their clocks back because they chose not to observe daylight savings time (even Indiana now follows daylight savings time, although a portion of the state is on Eastern Daylight Savings Time and a portion of the state is on Central Daylight Savings Time). The theory in Arizona (1) Arizonans are the original "tea partiers" (well maybe not the original tea party; I will give that honor to the Bostonians) and simply anti-establishment, or (2) it is so hot in Arizona that adding an additional hour of daylight would cause more of an energy crunch with air conditioners working longer and harder, or (3) following the anti-establishment argument, Daylight Savings Time is just a way for big businesses to capitalize on more sunlight during these months and Arizona refused to comply.

In any event, the effect of not following daylight savings time is, first and foremost, confusion for the rest of the country, and second, it gets dark by 5:45 in the winter so you have to schedule your golf appropriately. Last Sunday, Chad Feldheimer and I had a tee time at 11:48 at Stonecreek Golf Club. Assuming a 4 hour 30 minute round of golf, we had an hour leeway. We teed off 45 minutes late and made the turn in 2 hours 40 minutes. We finally walked (rode) off the course at the 15th tee at 5:15! I am officially taking Stonecreek Golf Club off of my list as my "home course" (at least for the winter season).

On Friday, Fred Flintstone invited me and one of his clients to play golf at Phoenix Country Club. The course was recently overseeded, and unlike the public courses that permit play two weeks after overseeding, the private courses usually close for a month for the overseeding. The course was spectacular! The greens were rolling fast and true. There were almost no ballmarks on the greens. Phoenix Country Club has my number. It is an old-style Midwestern course, flat and fairly narrow fairways with strategically placed trees and very small greens. I never drive the ball well at Phoenix and I am always scrambling to make bogey. It makes for a long day of golf, except that it is a beautiful walk in the park. Invariably, Fred shoots an 82. At the first tee, after Fred striped his drive right down the middle with his hockey swing, I told our playing partner that Fred would shoot an 82. Fred chimed in that we could just write down the 82, skip the golf and begin drinking in the bar. He shot a 43 on the front and needed a 39 on the back for an 82. No. 18 is a 500+ yard par 5. Fred was on the fringe of the green in 3 strokes and sunk a 20 foot putt for a birdie to shoot a 39 on the back and an 82 for the round! I shot a miserable 91 and I do not think I hit more than 2 fairways. However, the shot of the day was my drive on No. 16. I duck hooked the ball and it hit the wall of the restroom and the exterior wall of the maintenance area. After looking for the ball for a few minutes in the high rough I gave up. Our playing partner went to use the rest room and there on the floor under the urinal was my Bridgestone golf ball. Since the restroom is a part of the golf course and there was no applicable local rule, I had to hit out from under the urinal left handed (see picture below)!

Monday, November 1, 2010

You Need an MBA in Logistics to Play Golf

This is the week that the Gardener's wife permits him to play golf. Chad Feldheimer also was able to play this weekend, but before Chad would play I had to negotiate a tee time, golf course and penalty for slow play. Chad is a long-suffering Detroit Lions fan and has the special NFL television package to watch and be tortured by his beloved Lions. The logistics were as follows: The Lions game begins at 10 a.m., Arizona time, and ends around 1 p.m.; assume travel time to the golf course of 20-30 minutes; sunset is 5:37 p.m.; and a round of golf on a Phoenix public golf course takes at least 4 1/2 hours (especially if it is "cart paths only"). You do the math! The last time the Gardener and I played we finished in the dark and the Gardener double-bogeyed the last two holes to ruin an excellent round, which he blamed on the darkness (I will give him the benefit of the doubt).

After negotiating for two days with Chad I had an epiphany. The Gardener and I would tee off at 12:30 and Chad could join us after the game. If there was enough daylight I would drive the cart while Chad finished the holes he missed. Another win-win solution for the great negotiator!

By the time that negotiations were completed and documents signed, the only course that fit our parameters was Vistal Golf Club. I like Vistal. There is a lot of elevation change and it has some beautiful views of South Mountain and downtown Phoenix. It plays over 7,000 yards from the blue tees, but the fairways are pretty wide. The greens and tee boxes were overseeded, but the fairways were not not. The fairways were still pretty green and the rough was pretty thick, but not too penal.

The Gardener and I teed off at 12:30. On the 3rd hole, the Gardner bent down to pick up his golf ball after holing out and he could not move. Getting old is hell! He was done for the day. He was nice enough to ride with me while trying to loosen up his back, but he was in a lot of pain. On the 6th hole, Chad finally showed up. We drove the Gardener back to the clubhouse, helped him get his bag off of the cart and sent him home to ice his back. Chad and I teed off at 2 p.m. and there was no one in front of us. I birdied the first hole, hit the ball very well, did not have any blow up holes (except I hit the ball in the water on the par 3 3rd hole) and shot a 41 on the front 9. Chad had not played in a month, did not hit any practice balls and was roping his driver as well as I have ever seen him hit it. On the 5th hole, I offered Chad some friendly advice that he needed to keep the ball to the right for the best angle into the green. He roped another drive right where he was aiming and hit it into the bunker. His second shot hit the lip of the bunker and went into the desert and he ended up with a 7 on the hole and a 40 on the front 9.

I did not hit the ball quite as well on the back 9, but not that bad either. However, I was in every fairway bunker on the back 9 and had a double-bogey barrage to shoot a 48 on the back 9 and an 89 for the round. Chad had bookend 40s for a pedestrian 80 (for him) even though he played better than his score. We played in less than 3 hours and finished just before 5 p.m.! That gave us plenty of time to get home before the ghosts and goblins starting knocking on our doors for Halloween.