As temperatures on Tuesday worked their way up to a balmy 55 degrees, I managed to get out for my second round of the year. I played a lot better, shooting a 92. Ball striking was much more consistent, but the distance still hasn’t returned.
It was fun, and the weather was beautiful. But spring golf in Michigan has its hazards, like ice in the sand traps:
And soft ground. This isn’t from a wedge shot. This is from a drive.
Another spring hazard is slow golfers. Some, like me, haven’t yet shaken the winter rust, and are taking extra shots to reach the green. And it seems that there are a lot of people who, over the winter, said to themselves: “Hey. I might like to try golf.” I met a couple of first time golfers on Tuesday.
When you’re not playing well, I think you need to make an extra effort to play quickly. I’ve always said that there are two sins in golf: being a bad player, and being a slow player. Either is forgivable. What’s not forgivable is committing both sins at the same time.
I consciously make an effort to play more quickly when I know I’m not playing well. I don’t spend more than a minute or two looking for a lost ball (if I know I’m playing poorly, I’ll switch to a cheap ball and save the Pro V1s for better days). If I am not hitting the driver well, rather than send ball after ball into the woods or ponds, I scale back to something with which I can hit a fairway. Hitting three irons to a green on a par 4 is a lot better than hitting two or three shots off the tee, and then wasting time trying to find those wayward balls. And if you’re actually keeping score by the rules, it’s a stroke saver, too.
The guys I was behind were committing both sins as a matter of habit. By the tenth hole, they were at least five holes behind the next group. I never saw them hit a fairway, and they spent an inordinate amount of time wandering in the woods looking for balls that were never found. After hitting each shot, they would then stand and stare at the ball’s landing spot for long moments, as if staring at it would magically improve the lie, the distance, or the angle to the green.
Finally, after taking ten shots to reach the green (although I’m sure they weren’t counting penalty shots—and I’m glad they weren’t using the distance penalty), these two had the temerity to actually waste time plumb-bobbing their putts.
Here they are: the two slowest golfers in Washtenaw County.
The only good thing about these guys playing so slowly is that I got to meet a couple of very nice gentlemen named Fred and Gene. They, too were singles, and caught up with me at the twelfth. Since we couldn’t get past the pair of turtles, we finished the round together.