I Finally Took a Day Off

It had been over six months since I took a day off from work. Until Friday that is! A long overdue break from my ever expanding workload.

I’m sure I’ll chat a bit more in the future about my career but will avoid the topic for now. Instead, I’ll discuss the enjoyable day at my second office: the golf course.

I went out with my good friend Jay (also benefiting from a day off) to Whirlpool Golf Course in Niagara Falls, a Stanley Thompson design. Now, both Jay and I (and our buddy Toast) are members at St. Catharines Golf & C.C. but Jay only paid for a ‘social’ membership at the club this year rather than foot the bill for the golf membership. Jay is recently married and has a five year old stepdaughter that accounts for much of his time these days so the golf membership would have likely gone to waste. He is still able to get in seven rounds a year at the club but we decided to take advantage of the great spring rate at the well-renowned Whirlpool ($49.00 to walk) for our game on Friday. The course was in really good shape, especially the greens, which were rolling beautifully and were amazingly slick for late-April. If you are ever in the Niagara area and are looking for places to play, you can’t go wrong with Whirlpool. Golf Digest rated it **** 1/2 recently and Score Magazine rated it the 87th best course (public or private) in the country. The peak-season green fee is around $60.00 so it’s a bargain too. I still believe my club (also a Stanley Thompson design) is a more interesting place to play, especially with regard to the topography, but we’ll delve further into St. Catharines Golf & C.C. at another time.

My game has been excellent to start the season so I went into the round with an awful lot of confidence. In my four rounds thus far in 2005, I’ve shot 78, 77, 79 and 76. Not too shabby! My handicap index is currently at 3.7 and I’m hopeful to get it down to about 2.0 or a little less by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, my game did not show up today. We played the blue tees which measure 6701 yards with a course rating of 71.9 and a 123 slope rating. It was about 6 degrees celsius when we went off the 10th tee at about 9:15am (42 degrees for my American friends). The 10th is pretty much the most challenging hole on the course, a par 4 measuring 450 yards. After a badly pulled drive and an excellent 3-iron later (more on that club in another post), I had about a 30 yard pitch left. However, my short game touch was still sleeping and I hacked it around until making double bogey on the hole. I bogeyed the next hole and was 4-over after 5 holes until a birdie on the straightaway par 5 15th got me back into the game. I promptly double bogeyed the short 16th after hitting into long grass well right of the fairway and parred in from there to make the turn at 41.

I’d go on in detail but my back nine was even more atrocious and I finished the incoming nine at 43 for an 84. My ball striking was about as bad as I can ever remember, as I hit only 5 fairways and an embarrassing 4 greens in regulation. I had 31 putts for the round.

My tempo was quick throughout and I had some difficulties with maintaining my posture. I’ll have to work on that. I’m just really disappointed because my game (both the physical and mental aspects) had been in mid-season form until today. That’s golf for you though! Even with the poor play, I had a smile on my face throughout the day, realizing that a day on the golf course is much preferred over a hectic day in the office. Jay, a pretty solid player himself, shot a balky 89 today. His game suffers from the lack of practice but he too enjoyed the round and that’s all that counts!

I just hope I get a chance to redeem myself this weekend. The forecast is calling for rain the entire weekend, with Sunday looking like a definite lost cause. I’ll play in almost anything though, so as long as it’s not pouring cats & dogs, I’ll be out there tomorrow looking to improve upon today’s ugly round.

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