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Archive for March, 2010

High Definition Golf…

The weather in Florida this winter has been deplorable, often not fit for man nor beast and certainly not for golf. We normally play three games a week, but this winter we have barely averaged one. For days on end there was no golf because of rain, cold north winds and frost delays.

With the money not spent on green fees accumulating, we cast our frugal habits aside and bought an HD flat screen television that now dominates our living room. For the past three weeks I have been glued to the screen. First the Blue Monster in Miami, next the Copperhead in Tarpon Springs and most recently the Bay Hill course in Orlando. What a feast for the eye. The quality of the picture is so good it makes one feel as if one is sitting on the green while the players are putting.

The level of maintenance peaked for all three events and the superintendents earned high marks for the product presented. Yet, because of the high definition broadcast, every little imperfection showed to the experienced observer. Something as tiny as a missing paint  chip on the soil above the cup was clearly visible and an old plug, a tad low from a previous hole location, did not escape the eye. Of course most casual viewers are mainly interested in the competition and would not notice.

It seems to me that the era of excessive striping is coming to an end. The mowing patterns are more subdued now. While the popular trend is to provide fast and firm conditions with a tint of brown an acceptable hue, all three courses were as green as Ireland. It is amazing how fast and smooth the greens overseeded with Poa trivialis putt. It makes one wonder why some courses up north aren’t using Poa triv instead of struggling with bent and/or Poa annua.

While the popular trend is to provide fast and firm conditions with a tint of brown an acceptable hue, all three courses were as green as Ireland…

While all three courses were in exceptional condition and a great credit to their respective superintendents, I suspect that of the three, Bay Hill had the highest budget… but that’s speculation on my part.

We have postponed our usual return to Ontario until after The Masters so we can continue to watch HD golf. More than likely I will have to break down and buy another HD TV for our home up north. Now that’s supporting the North American economy or more than likely, the Chinese economy.

During all three events I did not miss Tiger in the least. In fact, I now have a new hero: Ernie Els! I’ll be cheering him on when he plays in Augusta.

The Senile Golfers…

We are the survivors of the Great Depression and WW II. We are the senior citizens, the last generation, and at the golf courses where we play, we are often referred to as the senile citizens.  We don’t hit the ball so far any more and now play mostly from the forward tees, better known as the ladies tees before politically correct times.

Some of us suffer from the tremors that make the club head shake when addressing the ball, this is especially deadly when putting. Others don’t see well and can’t follow the flight of the ball. We all have memory lapses and can’t remember the make of the ball we played. When we do find a ball in the rough, there are often multiple claims of ownership. Not being able to hear adds to the confusion. Our scores are often estimates and our handicaps have become irrelevant. Yet we keep coming back for more punishment week after week, all season long.

When we do find a ball in the rough, there are often multiple claims of ownership. Not being able to hear adds to the confusion. Our scores are often estimates and our handicaps have become irrelevant…

One time, at the conclusion of a round, the pro asked one of our group: “How did you do today?”  “Very well” was the reply. “I had nine riders.” Puzzled, the pro asked: “What’s a rider?”

The golfer replied: “A rider is when you have to ride the cart to get your next shot.” Such is the state of our game.

Some years ago when I was still an active superintendent, I received a call from a golfer wondering if he might spread the ashes of a deceased member of his regular foursome on the golf course. I pondered this unusual request for a while and then said that I would assist to make sure the burial process would not get out of hand. We selected an evening when there would be few golfers around.

At the appointed time three men came to my office carrying two satchels and we proceeded to the 11th green, a severely undulating putting surface, hated by all golfers. The deceased was known to have 3-putted the green on numerous occasions. When we arrived at our destination the satchels were unpacked. The one contained an urn with the ashes and the other a quart of Scotch whiskey and four glasses. We drank the Scotch and the three surviving buddies made silly speeches about the dead man’s golfing prowess.  When the whiskey was gone, the top of the urn was unscrewed and the contents spread out on the green. Except that the remains were not ashes, as I had expected, but more like small gravelly stones. But it was too dark and I decided to deal with the problem the next morning.

Somewhat under the weather from the whiskey, I slept in the following morning and arrived late for work. On my inspection tour I was met by Rosie the greens cutter who was all in a twitter about gravel on the 11th that got caught in the reels of the mower. I told Rosie to skip the 11th and went back to the barn for a power sweeper and blew the “ashes” into the rough, where we spread the remaining ashes of deceased golfers from that time forward.

I intend to join them there eventually, but not anytime soon.