For the last 1.5 years I’ve been recovering and doing rehab for major shoulder surgery. I had a torn rotator cuff, torn labrum, torn bicep tendon repaired on the right shoulder on Valentine’s Day 2019. The last time I hit a golf ball was November of 2018 at TPC Danzante Bay. Following the surgery I suffered from frozen shoulder, an extremely annoying and painful condition where scar tissue and inflammation makes recovering from the surgery difficult. The shoulder was very tight, sore, and highly reactive in a negative way to rehab or general use. Thanks to my latest passion, mountain biking, I broke up most of the scar tissue and have enjoyed about a month of pain-free shoulder. So I finally got some confidence to start swinging the clubs again.
Thinks to some lucky timing, I managed to have my first round back on the course at one of my favorite courses, Sand Hollow. Golf blog buddy John Duval of Into The Grain was working the ALD long drive event in Mesquite, Nevada so I thought it would be great to drive down and meet up with him. He already had Sand Hollow on his agenda, which helped make my decision very easy.
Sand Hollow Golf Course Aerial Photo by Tony Korologos – © Copyright 2020
The round went as expected in terms of rust and bad shots. I had low expectations. I did hit a lot of fairways, but alas, my driving distance has been greatly reduced. My irons also are now 1-2 clubs shorter. I don’t have the club head speed I used to. I did manage to record my first birdie of the decade, on the par-4 15th hole after knocking a gap wedge approach to about 10 inches. I also managed many other shots I wish not to discuss, or remember.
Unfortunately my back tweaked on the 3rd tee and from that point on the rest of the trip, finishing a golf swing produced a stabbing muscle pain. Real lame. Golf is hard on the body, and most golfers know we use muscles and combinations of muscles that are not used elsewhere.
On the way south the day before the round, I used my drone to catch some new images of the golf course. I was one of the first ever to fly a drone over Sand Hollow way back around 2013 or 14. It was nice to get some cleaner shots (first photo).
On the 2nd day we played Falcon Ridge. The back was pretty unhappy and that made it so I couldn’t stay down. It was a defensive move to keep from having that stabbing pain. The result unfortunately was a lot of thin shots and dribblers. Really horrible stuff. Throw in a couple of shanks too. Well, three actually. Yikes. I’m bummed the back couldn’t take it.
Falcon Ridge Golf Course Aerial Photo by Tony Korologos – © Copyright 2020
Falcon was fun despite the back pain, with Duval and my buddy Guy Lester from my River Oaks days. I reached a par-5 in two with two three-woods and made a nice 2-putt birdie. That’s the highlight of the day.
I managed some drone flights around numerous golf courses in Utah and Nevada while on the trip. Some of the photos are pretty amazing. Some photos prove that a lame golf course doesn’t necessarily look cool with drone photos.
Oasis Palmer Course – @ Copyright 2020 by Tony Korologos
I’ll post a few more aerials in future posts.
Golf is hard. Hard on the body. By the end of the two days I had some major back pain and a nasty blister on my right heel. But thankfully the right shoulder held up fine. There was a tiny bit of soreness but that’s just about gone.
I need to evaluate what golf means to me at this point. In order for me to get back to the level of playing I was once at, it will take a lot of time, practice, effort, money. Do I want to do that? Or do I simply want to become a casual golfer that plays a few times a year? Can I stand to play bogey golf? That’s what it would be. It’s hard to play at a high level (for amateurs that is), then find satisfaction from playing at a lower level. It’s like playing $100 per had blackjack in Vegas. When you go back to $5 per hand it is just plain boring.
It’s going to be interesting to see where this ends up.
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