El Nino has produced some unusual weather conditions this year, as I found myself playing golf in Michigan in February.
Because temperatures were not slated to break 40 today, I supposed that I might find myself alone on the course. As it turns out, Huron Hills was quite busy, with players on every one of the seven holes that were open.
I never dreamed that I’d need to wait on a tee box in February.
Apparently the recreation department of the city of Ann Arbor had not anticipated a surge in interest in golf either, for the clubhouse was closed with just this sign:
A huge bonus for the day was that I ran into a friend of mine on the first tee. He and his partner were just finishing their seventh, and I joined them for their second seven. When we finished that, I played two more holes so I could get in a proper nine.
Golf on a cold February day presents some significant challenges. The first is driving a tee into the frozen ground. I had forgotten to bring along the ice-pick that I usually pack on such days, so I was reduced to grinding the plastic in as far as it would go — which was not very far at all.
Balls don’t travel nearly as far in such weather, so much of the round was a matter of trying to figure out just how many clubs to add to each shot. Two turned out to be a good number; three when playing into the wind.
Compounding the ball distance issues were the layers of clothing necessary to stay warm on a cold, windy day. I had on a UnderArmour Cold Gear Compression Mock, but decided after a couple of holes that while warm enough, it did too much to restrict my swing.
Ice had locked the flagstick on the first hole in place.
The other sticks could be pulled, but were full of ice chunks and icy water. Retrieving a ball from the cup was an unpleasant experience.
I did not play well, but it really did not matter. I’ve now played golf in Michigan in February and in January, which is a good start toward my goal of playing in every month of 2016.