Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Dark Thoughts: 2014 Winter Support Group
[photo by mike_cala]
This snowstorm is a good occasion on which to open up a support group for everyone dealing with the complications of winter. Me, I'm fresh off playing some golf so I'm not actually feeling it just yet, but I will soon enough. Once it sets in, it'll be pretty bad I'm sure.
You see, I was lucky enough to get to play quite a bit in December and most of this month. Binged if you will. Not only was I playing a lot, I was playing fast, on empty courses. (To me right now, two and a half hours for eighteen holes seems about standard.) So what it all means is that I had been playing more while spending less time on the course.
Okay, so conditions were rough and unpredictable and the weather wasn't exactly fun, but come on--more golf in less time, is that not the holy grail for the serious recreational golfer? But wait, there's more. All winter long I was clicking into some pretty insane tee-time deals. More golf, in less time, at a cheaper cost.
But wait, there's more still. Late in the year I made some huge improvements to my setup and swing, and I was just starting to enjoy some results. The courses might've been wrecked, but my stats and scores were trending positively. Hitting driver, finding fairways like it's no big deal. The swing was starting to both feel good physically and make sense theoretically.
So that's more golf, less time, cheaper cost, and a golf game on the upswing. Nice, right? Well, the door to that wonderful world has closed for now. When it opens again remains to be seen. If it opens again this season.
Suck it up, you might say. Spring's just around the corner, you might say. The days are getting longer. The Masters is not that far away.
Yeah, well, no. The problem for me is where do I go from here. This was peak season for me. I've grown attached to it. I've long since made peace--nay--made friends with the cold. I was having as much if not more fun than all of last year. And now it could be over. Spring arriving only means the end of fast rounds, the end of cheap green fees. It means Hello, slow play. Hello, boring, annoying people. Not long after that it's gonna be Hello, sweaty glove; Hello, greasy sunscreen; Hello, heatstroke. Hello, 5pm twilight rates. It's all downhill from here, 'til late October perhaps. But who can even think that far ahead.
This is a serious matter. This is not some jokey, SEO-baiting bullshit puff piece about how to deal with those pesky winter blues. I have no pithy tips, novel solutions or poignant JPEG's to offer. Solidarity, that's about all I can offer I guess.
Comments are all welcome, but since this is so serious a matter, you will probably want to refrain from talking up your own temperate climate, if you happen to live in one. No one wants to hear it and no matter how nice your weather might be right now, there is probably something that truly sucks about wherever it is you live. So don't even start. You think I am joking around, try me. I have no problem displacing bile in a way that is petty, vindictive, inappropriate even. Just ask the last telemarketer who dialed up my cell phone number at the wrong moment.
No, this is where we confront ugliness, the desolation, the futility, the debilitating effects of golf deprivation and withdrawal. Like Churchill said--the only way out is through. This is where we stare into the abyss of winter, and peer at all the futility and desperation within. This is where we will air out the deepest, most twisted and nihilistic golf thoughts that tend to materialize in times like these, and curse the fickle, uncooperative weather. This is where we can momentarily forget about the real troubles going on in the world at large, and instead wallow in our own angst and freely bemoan our predicament, trivial and first-world privileged as it may be.
But, maybe we can also take the opportunity to share some of our fun plans, our ambitious goals for the upcoming season, the things we look forward to most. Happy thoughts if you will. I don't want to be a total downer. Like for me, I plan on going back to Bethpage Black in the spring--try and redeem myself after playing like a chump there early last year. I am looking forward to that, I really am.