Stealing A Round On December 23
We are getting some bonus golf days here in Michigan, so yesterday, I got out to play a round at Washtenaw Golf Club in Ypsilanti. The temperature was 50 degrees; the skies were sunny; the wind was minimal. Perfect.
For December, the course conditions were amazing. The groundskeepers at Washtenaw have done an excellent job of maintaining private club conditions long after the club has gone public.
There’s nothing they can do about the remnants of snow, however.
I was surprised at how busy the course was. The parking lot was full, as was the tee sheet. It seems that every dedicated golfer had the same idea: steal a round from Mother Nature in December.
There are a few unique challenges to playing a mostly-frozen course. The first is simply getting a tee in the ground. In the winter, I usually carry rubber tees designed to sit on the surface, but on this occasion I was not properly prepared. An eighth inch under the grass the dirt was sufficiently frozen that I had to use a pocket knife to make a hole for the tee.
A second challenge is the bounce of the ball. While those extra yard are great off the tee, shots into the green skipped crazily away. It is a strange formula I have yet to solve: the cold ball requires an extra club just to get there, yet upon arriving, that same ball is unlikely to stay. When the approach is open, that is not a problem. Land the ball short and let it skip up. With a carry, however, it gets complicated.
I spent a lot of time on the round chipping back onto the green from the rear.
On the seventeenth, I got one back from Michigan’s Winter Golf Gods. My approach shot fell just short, hit the ice on the pond and then skipped up onto the green. I made a two putt for par.
The weather for the rest of the week looks pretty good. Perhaps I’ll get in another round.