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.
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.
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?