Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finishing in the dark

I went out to play Bull Run Golf Club with a few friends Monday afternoon.  It was our way of celebrating Columbus Day. 

It was my first time at the course so I didnt really know what to expect.  I knew the course was somehow affiliated with grizzly golfer favorite Raspberry Falls, so I had high hopes, but I hadn't really heard much buzz about it from friends or fellow golfers.  I was impressed.  The course was in good shape and the layout was very impressive.  Well worth the 2 for $100 deal we got.

The trouble was that we missed our tee time by almost an hour.  We had reserved a 1:06 tee time, one that would have given us more than ample time to finish our round even with the shortened October sun.  But the expansion of the D.C. Metro out to Dulles Airport, and the resulting construction, turned a 55 minute drive into and hour and forty five minute drive.  And it wasn't just us.  According to the starter, at around 11 am, 60% of the tee times started no-showing.  So they just had to make do, and scramble to get everyone out on the course once they arrived.

We.  Waited.  On.  Every.  Shot.  It.  Took.  Forever. 

We teed off at 1:55 or so.  We got into the clubhouse at 7:25.  That's about an hour and a half longer than a round SHOULD take.  Despite the slow pace of play, I was actually playing quite well until the sun really started to fade.  Then it all fell apart; double, double, double bogeys to finish.  Yikes.

Anyone who has booked a tee time just to late in hopes of saving a few bucks understands how hard and frustrating low light golf can be.  In the twilight, you only can see a ball for about 50 yards, and then you guess the rest.  And as you can imagine, that's the tough part; because a slice and a hook look virtually identical right off the club. 

My buddies and I play just enough to know what a slice, hook, push-fade, pull-draw feel like, so we could make, let's call them educated, guesses.  But with thick rough we were still only finding half the balls we hit.  To keep it fair, we gave free drops as long as we all agreed that the ball was likely to be in play somewhere... but it was still frustrating as hell.  And frustrated golf doesn't usually equal good golf- hence the breakdown at the end.

Fresh off this disaster, I cant really give you any good advice on how to deal with these conditions.  Just pretend that you can see your ball and go along your way.  Short game and putting will be fine, provided you dont totally lose your cool and freak out about losing your last three balls that you thought were in the fairway... yes that happened on 18. 
I also dont think that gimmicky-glow-in-the-dark balls would have helped.  I did have an old yellow range ball that I pulled out for the occasion, which I hit on the second shot to the par 5 finishing hole.  I could have sworn I put a good swing on it and that it was going to be a high draw that traveled about 190 into the middle of the fairway...  but there was no yellow ball in the middle of the fairway.  or the rough.  I know it didnt go in the water hazard (i would have heard it) but other than that, no clue.

The only real solution is for courses to start illuminating their courses. Or at least 18?  Come on guys, we just want to have a little fun, can't you help out with that?

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