Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Glorious Three-Day Weekend

The weather in the Niagara Peninsula has been stunning over the past few weeks and Easter weekend was no exception, with temperatures almost reaching 30 degrees on the celsius scale, well over 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The result was three days of great golf on the first weekend in April, quite the Easter treat for yours truly. The tee sheet was packed at St. Catharines G&CC on Good Friday and we had 12 guys out on a glorious spring morning.

We had our first controversial moment of the year right out of the gates. See, there is quite the discrepancy in ages between the guys I play most of my golf with at the club, with players ranging from their early 20s to guys approaching their mid 50s. As a recently-turned 37 year old, I'm right in the middle of this group.

Cue Harry and his inevitable crack about me being in my forties.

The problem is that the older guys, all of whom can still play great golf (pretty much all the guys on in our 20 or so person rotation have mid-to-low single digit handicaps) are starting to tire of the back tees. They say the 6800 or so yards is too long and they'd prefer playing the second deck, which measure out to around 6500 yards or so.

I knew this issue would come up eventually but didn't expect it to rear its ugly head quite so soon. My thoughts are that if you want to play the Blues, PLAY THE BLUES. If you want to play the Blacks, great. Whatever! Yeah, we play a skins game every time and that would be a problem but we could run two games: one from the blacks and one from the blues.

Anyway, my group teed off first and it was myself, Cal, Harry and Ryan. We immediately went to the back tees on our short par four first hole. It was certainly ambitious to be playing the backs on our first full round of the year but we're ballerz, yo!

I was second to tee off and as I was in my downswing, one of the 'complainers' mumbles:

"I can't believe they're playing the f*&$ing blacks!"

So yeah, I hosel my 4-iron tee shot about 60 yards up the cart path as my playing partners laugh their asses off.

Turns out that everyone at least STARTED from the blacks but the naysayers ended moving up to the blues after about 3 holes and didn't even come back to the 19th hole after the round to meet with the rest of the group. Sheesh.

I'd end up making double bogey on the 18th hole to shoot 80 (+8) in my first official round of the year, the low score in our group and won my match against Cal and halved against Ryan. A solid start to the year!

It was more of the same on Saturday and Sunday. There were only four of us on Saturday and six on Sunday so we decided to opt for world peace and just played the Blues both those days.

I'd make three birdies on Saturday and two on Sunday in carding dual 78's - I'd stumble to the finish line both rounds, finishing +3 on my last three on Saturday and +2 on my last three on Sunday. I have to finish better but it's nice to get a couple of sub-80 rounds in so early in the season after the atrocity that was 2009 on the links!

I'm kind of in the market for a new driver, as I'm playing relatively old technology in the TaylorMade R7 TP, the first club that had the moveable weights. I thought I might be losing some distance so I took out a Ping i15 on Saturday - it has quite the fade bias to it and looks to be about a degree open at address, which is fine but I had trouble adjusting at first. When I did connect, it was heaven - our 15th hole is about 535 from the Blues and I hit a 6-iron second shot there after hitting the sweet spot on my drive.

Yeah, it was howling downwind but I was still at least 40 yards ahead of my playing partners, which felt pretty damn good for this 'Punch and Judy' hitter!

Went back to my normal driver for Sunday's round and hit it great and pretty long almost all day so I'm not sure if I should keep looking for something new but we'll see how it goes.

It was a great weekend on the course - I won three skins on Sunday but just getting the chance to play so much so early in the season seems like an incredible bonus. The weather may take a slight turn for the worse so I'm not sure if I'll get in two rounds this coming weekend but I'm hoping for the best!

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