Last year, my USGA index skyrocketed to embarrassing heights and I scrambled for excuses in this year end post of 2012. And then I played the same type of schedule in 2013 and dropped down to my pre-season goal of a handicap in the 8’s, finishing at an 8.8. So I guess all my logic from last year didn’t hold water. Out of about 35 rounds, at least 20 were on courses new to me and I shaved 4 strokes off anyway. Only five rounds crept into the 90’s, and two of those were in February when I only had one working wrist. But only two rounds snuck into the 70’s, one of which won me $200. So now I’ve settled into a low 80’s threat in the midst of what are supposedly my prime physical years (though at the moment I look more like the “before” pic). So then what changed?
So I’m trying to get a round of golf played in all 50 states of the United States of America. But it’s not exactly like I’m just touching down, hitting the first tee and then it’s wheels up again. The coolest part, and probably the real reason I’m even attempting this, is to get to see all the different flavors each state has to offer. I got a small taste of the nation when some friends and I somehow survived a 43-day, 10,000 mile road trip to every baseball stadium in 2006 (Mario Kart got us through some long drives). I’m 12 states in these first 24 months and have done plenty of awesome things away from the course. There’s been a night out on 6th Street in Austin after I, along with over 100,000 other fans decked out in burnt orange, took in a University of Texas home game. I’ve ventured into Tootsie’s in downtown Nashville, walked along the Seattle waterfront and seen all the crazies during a Halloween weekend in Las Vegas. I’ve gotten to tour the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and catch up with people I rarely see like my grandparents in California or childhood best friend in Atlanta. With all that, I figure it might be a little different and maybe interesting to show some of these other things off. Continue reading Boston
South Shore Country Club in Hingham, MA
Tee Time: July 6, 2013, 2:33, 93 F, calm and humid
Designer: Wayne Stiles (1922)
Playing Partners: Vikram Juneja
Tees: Blue, Par 72 (70.9 rating/133 slope/6,270 yards)
Course Handicap: 13 (10.9 index)
Stats: 83 (43-39); 32 putts; 5/14 fairways; 8/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes
If Paul Revere had ridden 15 miles south on April 18, 1775, instead of 14 miles north to Lexington on his legendary Midnight Ride to warn that the British were coming, he would have visited South Shore Country Club in Hingham, Massachusetts. Of course, then Lexington and Concord would’ve been hung out to dry and steamrolled by the Redcoats the next day, nipping the American Revolution in the bud. And since South Shore Country Club wasn’t opened until 1922, there wouldn’t have been much to visit. Well, now that that lousy history lesson is over, I can get on to how the golf course is. The city of Boston is teeming with amazing American history on every block and so much has been expertly preserved so that even today’s visitors, nearly 10 generations down the line, can marvel at the undertaking that was the fight for American Independence. Similarly, this quiet country club south of Quincy also keeps ties to its historical roots. There are pictures and memorabilia from years ago, including stops by Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. Even without the past, there is plenty to enjoy at South Shore.
So in 2012 I got a new job, new car, moved into a new house, published a book and got a black lab puppy (which I now know can be more exhausting than a new job, new car, new house and publishing a book). Despite all that, I still managed to log over 30 rounds of golf and get to 5 new states. Now that all that craziness is over I can get around to focusing on playing better golf in 2013. I did start ’12 as an 8.5 and rocketed all the way up to a 13.2 before settling at my current 12.5. That’s not acceptable, and my new goal is to work that down to an 8.0. I’m not a man to make excuses, but if I were, they’d go something like this:
- Out of those 30+ rounds, only 6 were on courses I had played before. A wise man I played with at Lookout Mountain mentioned that just knowing a course can save 4-5 strokes. I agree, which is why it’s my fake excuse #1.
- I did get brand new irons and a new 3-wood, which took a few rounds to get adjusted to. But I do love those Cleveland TA7’s and the Taylor Made Rocketballz.
- I was hungover during 1 or 2 rounds, possibly.
- I’m pretty sure the holes at the Stadium Course in La Quinta were smaller than the specified 4-1/4″. Yeah, that’s it.
- Raising a puppy is exhausting.
- According to the Chineze Zodiac calendar, it was the Year of the Dragon. We Tigers don’t play our best golf during years of the Dragon, Rat or Rabbit. So sayeth ancient Chinese folklore (see author’s illustration below).
What about 2013 then? I still expect it to contain the required 20+ rounds of desert golf as I remain a resident of Arizona. But I still need 5 new states. I’ve got a few ideas and what my odds are of actually getting there.