I live in the land of “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” the home of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Last year’s snowfall was massive and I had a fantastic time with my new skis enjoying the “pow pow.” But this year has been very different. High temperatures and very little snow. The skiing is pretty bad. But with the high temps the golf courses are open. If mother nature gives me snow, I ski. If she gives me green grass, I golf.
I played my first two rounds of 2018 this past weekend, 9-holes at River Oaks and 18 holes at Hidden Valley. I made birdie on my very first hole of 2018, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. Despite there being no snow, it can still be well below freezing at times, so as you will see in the video below, the lakes on the course are frozen. That gave me a chance to play “ice skip it.” I had no idea the ball would still be spinning minutes after I hit it.
And below is a golf instructional video on how to get the ball off of an icy lake when it is too far to get with a golf club. You can thank me later.
I started blogging golf course reviews before most current day golf bloggers or golf journalists were off the first tee. Now golf course reviews are more common than sour kazoo notes at a Kenny G concert. More common than selfies on Paige Spirinac’s instagram. More common than unfixed ball marks on the local muni’s greens. More common than… I think you get it.
The problem with these reviews is they all sound/read the same now, stamped out of the same old same old mold and using the same worn out clichés. I’ll admit I’ve probably used some of these at some point so before you get on my case about it, I admit it. But I vow to not use any of these overused phrases again, and for Pete’s sake golf bloggers and writers you should do the same.
“Great track” has to be one of the worst and most overused golf clichés in history. I have to hold back my vomit every time I read or hear it. First off, a golf course is not a track. Tracks are where they race horses, dogs, cars etc. Perhaps saying “great tract” is better, as in “tract of land.” Resist the temptation to use this filler. It’s barely worthy of putting on the bottom of a bird cage.
Oh. My. God. If I hear this phrase one more time I might have to wrap my 4-iron around someone’s neck. Hidden gem? Really? How original. For fun, let’s Google the phrase and see how many results we get… 1,770,000 results. Stop it. Please.
What the hell is it with gems and jewels anyway? Crown jewel? So this course is the same as regalia and vestments worn by kings and queens at their coronations? Got it.
Straight out of the cookie cutter. Try something more creative, like, I don’t know… anything.
I’m trying to think of a phrase more vague than “great layout.” Hmm. Nope. Can’t think of one. Stop writing it. Stop saying it. What makes it great? Let’s start with that and see where we go.
Coooookie cutter!!! Gag me.
What exactly is this supposed to mean, “championship course?” What championship? Any course can hold a championship. The muni down the street with the broken down car on the 7th fairway could. Golf courses and golf PR and advertising companies are just as guilty of using this one as writers and bloggers.
It’s Right There In Front Of You
WTF is that supposed to mean? It’s right there in front of me? What if I play it facing backwards? Is it still right there in front of me or would it be right there behind me then? What if I play the course facing at a 90 degree angle to either side? Would it be “right there beside me?”
I think my head is going to explode. This one gives “great layout” a run for it’s vague money.
“The course is a fair test.” How many times have you heard that one? What makes it fair? Who judges what is fair and what is unfair. Do I have a vote? Can a course be a fair test for one golfer but unfair for another? Is there such a thing as an “unfair test?” I think I’d rather play a course that presents and unfair test than a fair test. It would probably be more interesting.
You know what would be better and more informative in course reviews? A must not play! “You must not play this course. It is terrible and their range balls suck!”
ALL TOGETHER NOW – Can I get them all into one run-on sentence?
“A hidden gem, this renowned championship course is a great track and classic layout which is a fair test that’s right there in front of you, a must-play crown jewel topped off by its signature hole.”
I did it! I should just make that be my whole review for all my golf course articles from this point on! BOOM! #WINNING #thisonegoestoeleven
Ah yes. A fun meme about golf. They’re all over chain emails and golf social networks. You know, those tweet face things… These incredibly creative golf memes usually have some catchy golf quote and a great supporting photo. This one above asks if golfers “lie awake at night and brood on what went wrong…”
Me? I don’t lie awake and brood on what went wrong. I lie awake at night and brood on who-the-f tees up a three wood on the putting green 12 feet from the pin…
I’m mildly entertained by golf signs. I’m not sure who writes them, but they are often good for a laugh when one really reads them. Here’s one which is found on the first tee of my home course, Bonneville.
Fair enough. It’s some kind of warning to golfers that if they cause damage, they are responsible for it. But is this sign necessary? Are we not all basically aware that we are responsible for damage we cause, whether on or off a golf course? Why don’t we have signs like this say, I don’t know, on city streets? “Citizens are responsible for any and all damage caused by them.”
This sign is particularly entertaining to my twisted brain. Golfers are responsible for “any and all damage.” Um, if they are responsible for “any” damage would that not mean all damage? If they were responsible for “all” damage would that not also include any damage? Why not just say, “golfers are responsible for damage…?”
I’m glad that the sign does make it clear golfers are responsible for any and all damage caused by them. Before reading this sign I was actually in fear that I (a golfer) would be held responsible for any and all damage caused by high winds. I was especially fearful I’d be on the hook (so to speak) for any and all damage caused by meteorites crashing down to earth.
In reading this sign I’ve learned too, that I’m responsible for any and all damage caused by my equipment or my golf balls. After all.. golf balls are not equipment. So what is equipment then? Clubs? Is a golf towel considered equipment? What if my golf towel causes any and all damage? Am I responsible for that?
Further, what if my golf equipment or my golf balls cause damage, but I’m not around. What if I lose a golf ball in the trees on the 7th, then 12 days later a deer trips on it and falls down a hill and smashes through the window of the snack bar. Am I responsible for that damage? And I wonder… can equipment itself cause damage? The sign says the golfer is responsible for any and all damage caused by them or their equipment.
What happens if one golfer takes another golfer’s equipment and causes damage? Who is responsible then?
Wait a minute. I’ve been a bit wrong in this analysis. What if a non golfer caused damage? The sign specifies that golfers are responsible, not mountain bikers or tennis players or just non-golfers. So if a non-golfer came to the course and caused damage I would presume that individual would not be responsible for any and all damage he caused. But wait a second. If a non-golfer stole my 5-iron and caused damage with it, would I be responsible? After all, it was my equipment. Perhaps the sign needs another attorney to write up an addendum.
Finally the sign specifies that the golfer, his equipment and golf balls are responsible for any and all damage caused while on this golf course. So the golfer is only responsible for any and all damage caused by him, his equipment or golf balls on the golf course. That obviously means the golfer could cause damage elsewhere, not on the golf course, and not be responsible for any and all of it. And of course, if the person was not a golfer, he/she would not be responsible for any and all damage, because only golfers are responsible.
Okay. Got it. If any such occurrences happen I will report them to the pro shop.
Yesterday on the 500 yard par-5 12th hole two golfers in front of me blasted their drives a massive 150 yards down the middle, then sat there waiting for the green to clear, some 350 yards out. You never know when you might catch that 3-wood just right and hit it, you know, 350 yards.
That’s not the main beef though. Today’s beef is committee golf.
Once the green had cleared on that par-5, from 350 out Player A hit his shot. It went way right and I’m guessing about another 150 yards. Good thing he waited for the green to clear. He got in his cart where his partner was sitting and they drove…. wait for it… about 10 feet. After the 10 foot cart drive Player B got out, gathered his yardage, checked the wind, chose his club, then hit his shot way left about 150 yards. This drives me absolutely nuts.
Player B could have walked the 10 feet to his ball while Player A was sizing up his shot and playing it. B could have gotten his yardage, checked the wind, chosen his club and been ready to hit within seconds after Player A hit his shot. Instead it’s another several minutes.
If your partner drove his cart into a lake would you do it too?
Keep in mind that was just the 2nd shot on the 12th hole. Multiply this scenario by however many shots each player hits on each hole, times 18. On a par-5 it could happen 5-6 times, adding 5-10 minutes. Do that on every hole and hello 6-hour round.
Play Ready Golf
Now that I’ve covered what not to do, here’s what you should do, play “ready golf.” In ready golf each player is always surveying his/her next shot, even before getting to it. When walking or driving up to the ball start looking at the wind and the situation. By the time you get to the ball, you’ll already know what direction the wind is blowing and where you’re going to aim. Also be aware of the yardage before you get to your ball. If your ball is roughly 160 out and you’re walking by a sprinkler that’s marked at 175, pace it off on your way to your ball. By the time you get there you’ll already have a yardage.
If you are in a cart, split up. The driver of the cart should drop his passenger off at his ball, let the passenger grab a few clubs he may need, then drive to his own ball. Then both players can be getting yardages, surveying the situation, doing their pre-shot routines and getting ready.
For the love of GOD do not do committee cart golf. Too many times I’ve seen a whole foursome in two carts drive to one ball. They watch the player check yardage, check the wind, do practice swings, then hit. Then the whole group of four and their two carts drive 20 feet to the next player and do it again.
Rinse. Repeat. BARF.
If you stop playing committee golf and play ready golf, we all might get home before dark and in time for dinner. The golf course might be able to squeeze a few more clients on the tee sheet and make more money. Maybe you can help your local course stay in business and help all of us golfers enjoy the round more. And best of all, you might avoid having me wrap my new hand-forged blades around your skull on the 12th fairway.