October Evening Golf
The first half of October has been wonderful for evening golf. Even with the dwindling daylight hours, I find that if I tee off by three, I can finish 18 before dark. Rounds are somehow faster when the air is cooler; I can maintain a brisk walk without breaking a sweat.
It won’t be long though, before the eighteen will be cut short.
Fortunately, at both of my favorite local courses — Washtenaw Golf Club and Green Oaks — ten through twelve form loops that more or less take a player back to the clubhouse before heading away for thirteen. I’ll be able to get in twelve holes after work until the clocks are turned back.
Course conditions at Washtenaw right now are superb. The fairways are like walking on new carpet, and the greens are quite smooth. There are a few brown areas on the edges of some of the greens, but that’s not an accident or the result of negligence. Rather, those are part of the plan to return many of Washtenaw’s greens to their original rectangular shapes.
While the idea of a rectangular green may seem odd to modern golfers, it apparently was not particularly unusual for early golf courses (of which Washtenaw qualifies as one). Think for a moment about how you mow your lawn with a push mower. Chances are you go straight for a distance, then turn ninety degrees and go straight again. Turning a push mower in a curve is difficult — and even more so with manual reel mowers. In that context, rectangular greens make sense.
I’m really looking forward to next season when the rectangular greens should be ready for play.
Green Oaks also is in great shape right now. The course is without a doubt one of the great golf values in Southeast Michigan. Fall rates are just $27 with cart; the walking rate is closer to a buck-a-hole.
For that reasonable fee, you get a round of quality golf with smooth greens, good lies in the fairways and a nice mix of power and strategic holes. The staff is always friendly and the players — unlike on many munis I’ve played — are always respectful of the game.
It has been my observation that Green Oaks players take their golf seriously.
As for my game, it’s been off-and-on this past two weeks. I’ve had a couple of rounds where I could do no wrong, and a couple where I just couldn’t find the bottom of the club. I’ve also suffered from a serious power shortage, which I attribute to the lingering effects of slipped disks in late summer. It doesn’t hurt that much, but I am conscious of being cautious. I am hopeful that I’ll get over that mental hurdle soon.