The Strea: 72 Consecutive Months Playing Golf In Michigan
Yesterday’s round (Feb. 27, 2021) extended my streak of consecutive months playing golf in Michigan to 72.
With upwards of six inches of snow arriving in Michigan in mid-February, I was all but certain that the streak was over. But this is Michigan, and if you don’t like the weather, you can wait an hour, or drive an hour.
On Monday, February 22, temperatures rose into the forties, then into the fifties by mid week.
Hopeful, I started calling around to find a course that might be open. I was hopeful that if I made my case, emphasized that I would be walking with a Sunday bag and would even promise not to walk on the greens (I have played course backwards on a number of occasions — when I was a member of Washtenaw Country Club, winter months were sometimes played backwards, using the tee boxes as putting greens.)
No luck for two days. No one planned to be open on the weekend. There was too much snow, and even if it melted, the course would be too wet.
Then, on Friday, one course owner took pity on me and said I could go play the back nine even though they wouldn’t be open officially until March 1.
So on Saturday, I headed out in fifty degree weather under sunny skies.
It turns out I wasn’t the only one there. I didn’t see any other players, but there were a several cars in the parking lot. Later, I saw some photos on social media from players out for their round on that very course. I was absolutely the only one on the back, so I assume they were on the front nine across the road.
Conditions were surprisingly good. I wore my pair of Oregon Mudders golf shoes, but they actually were unnecessary. The ground was damp, but not soggy. I also didn’t need the rubber winter golf tees I carry for cold rounds. The tee boxes were thawed enough for me to easily push in a tee.
Snow on the course was all but gone, with the exception of a few shady and low spots.
The most water was actually on the cart paths. Fortunately, I was walking.
One of the things I’ve embraced over the last few wintry rounds is the “Sunday Bag.” Sunday bags typically are ultralight bags with enough space to carry just a few clubs, balls, tees and perhaps a water bottle.
In my case, I carry a driver, 3 hybrid, 6 iron, 8 iron, pitching wedge and putter. Playing with fewer clubs forces a bit more creativity, but is tremendously liberating. Without a cart to push, or the weight of a full stand bag on my shoulders, I can practically fly around the course. The entire kit is so light that I don’t notice it at all on my shoulder.
Not having the extra weight also means I can lightly skip around frozen, snowy, waterlogged, or muddy areas — all things I encounter on rounds from December through March.
The model I have is from a company called Sunday Golf. It has stand legs and a nice handle that makes it very convenient to tote without putting on the strap. I’ve only had it a few months, so I’m not sure how it will hold up in the long run. On the other hand, it’s not going to be my regular bag. I’ve still got a Big Max Blade IP Push Cart and Aqua Sport 2 bag for my summertime rounds.
I hit the ball pretty well for not having regularly swung a club for three months. I hit a lot of shots short, but in my defense, the air was cool and the ground soft. It wasn’t soft enough to leave a plug, but there was absolutely zero roll.
My score? It doesn’t matter. I didn’t even keep score. The important thing was to be out on a course in the sunshine, quiet and fresh air after weeks of being cooped up in the house.
I look forward to more golf in March. We aren’t done with snow yet in Michigan, but there is surely light at the end of the frigid tunnel. Barring freak weather or injury (knock on wood), I fully expect to play every month in 2021 from here out. I don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch, but that’ll take “The Streak” to 82.