Friday, July 25, 2014


Rough going out there today. The summer temperatures have been moderate lately, but swamp-ass humidity persists. Gad, do I hate summer golf in the city. DBGC is looking as rough as I've ever seen it. The greens are pretty much hybrids of grass and sand at this point.

The first tee was empty when I got there, praise God. I was all set to take off by myself when some geek comes driving up from the ninth green, all in a rush. He goes over to the starter and starts mewling about the slow play on the front nine and asks if him and his partner (who was still putting out) could jump on the first tee again. The starter, being a complete doormat in the true NYC muni golf mold, made no protest. So the geek comes over to me and informs me about the new development.

One of the worst things about ghetto golf is the anarchy. When I feel there is no order is when I tend to spiral into the foulest moods. Surprisingly I can tolerate a lot, but there must be some semblance of order. I hate it when people decide they don't like the pace of play on their part of the course and then snoop around for a better place to shoehorn themselves into. I hate the feeling that anything goes, that anyone is free to disrupt anyone else whenever their whim compels them.

My blank reaction probably said a lot, but it didn't matter--these two were completely caught up in their own selfishness. The polite thing to do would have been to not bother the guy on the tee, let him tee off and go on his way, but such an idea did not even occur to these bastards. It couldn't. Right then it was decided there could be no reciprocal courtesy, and that everything about them would henceforth fill me with loathing and disgust.

I walked down the first fairway seething. When it was my turn to hit I began to self-immolate--if these sacks insist on bringing me down, I can bring down too. I can irritate too. In fact they will regret ever meeting me. Before hitting my shot I committed to making no fewer than ten practice swings. (Truthfully I could only make it to eight.) I stared at my glove for a few beats, pretending to examine it. Finally hit the ball, it trundled on to the green and I began a very slow walk.

I knew full well that all this constituted a petty and passive-aggressive act. But what are you going to do. I had been crossed. Certainly can't cross the line and be aggressive-aggressive, nor could I live with being passive-passive either.

It was an older guy and a younger guy. You could tell they had just met nine holes ago and were really hitting it off. Good for them. Grating for me, under the circumstances. The younger one was a total golfing geek. You could tell he was fairly new to it, all eager and high on the game--kind of reminded me of myself before the futility of city golf squashed my spirit. What an annoying twerp. The older one was a surprisingly good player and because of this the younger guy would shadow him like a puppy, hanging on his every word, all eagerness, trying to glean wisdom. Bleccch.

I tried hard to keep up my slow play antics but eventually I couldn't help but to revert to my organic pace. On the greens though, I did manage to take forever and you know what, it felt good. For once I felt settled over the ball, and rolled it insanely well today.

Phew, thought I'd lost this one.

I had worn the wrong kind of socks and by the tenth hole started to develop some heel blisters. Fuckin' hell, now I was feeling chafed both figuratively and literally. Well that tore it. I'd had enough of trying to spite everything and on the green I went up to the others and said, "Look I'm having trouble keeping up with you guys," (they each had their own cart) along with a sarcastic remark about me getting old and slow (I was walking and carrying). I pointed to the several open holes ahead and said they ought to take advantage and play on without me and my walking holding them back.

The younger guy put on a sour puss at this suggestion, as if insulted. Before walking off he offered up a meek, insincere "Well, it was nice playing with you." I felt like shoving him off the green. There was nothing nice about playing with me. I was the biggest miserable prick on the planet for the last ten holes and I knew it. What a mincing phony. I was absolutely correct in despising him from the start.

I was never outwardly rude, but I did give the silent treatment and I'm pretty sure that goes against some part of the Rules of Golf that mandates sportsmanship or some shit. Pffft. I didn't offer a single "nice shot" even though there were several. I hadn't realized how elemental the exchanging of compliments is to golf until I muzzled myself today. Admittedly the silence was conspicuous. On the seventh hole the older guy rolled in a birdie putt, then looked at me and said "thank you," as if to shame me for withholding compliments. What a stupid mess. I wished for the earth to open up and swallow us all.

It was a relief to be rid of them but the matter still kind of weighed on me, probably more so now that I was alone to reflect on it. I had managed to somehow shoot 39 on the front through gritted teeth and had a good shot at breaking 80 today, though I knew that finishing it off wouldn't be easy. In addition to my mind, my legs were also starting to wear out, and those heel blisters weren't getting any better. On the 12th I got onboard the bogey train. On the 14th, my full swing left me. But I was at +5 with four holes left to go. That meant I could give up three strokes to par and still break 80. Under the circumstances though, that seemed really hard.

 Back of 16th green, typical of most DBGC greens: hit it pin-high or long and you are kind of screwed. Best to leave it pitifully short.

On the 17th tee fatigue asserted itself in a big way and I buried a steep 5-wood into the turf underneath the ball, blooping it straight up in the air. Then a shanked chip leading to a slicing seven-footer just to save double bogey. So I went to the last tee knowing that I could still shoot 79 by making a birdie, but also feeling like there was probably not enough gas in the tank to pull it off. Sure enough I could only smother and scrape my way to the green. I pulled off yet another tough putt to finally hop off the bogey train, but it was too little and much too late.

Crossing Manhattan Bridge on the way home.

I left feeling deep bitterness and disappointment, with a dusting of shame, like I'd chucked away another good chance at a good score. But reflecting on it now let's face it, it wasn't really that great a chance. I scraped it all day and was fortunate to have shot 9-over. It was all putting. 26 putts. I made everything, it was craziness. In the best moments it wasn't just holing putts--I was commanding them. It was a special feeling and blah blah blah... who am I trying to kid. I still feel bitter and disappointed.


  1. If they had let you go by yourself, wouldn't have they been on your heels the whole time, as each had their own cart and you were walking (and admittedly tired at the end, in that heat and humidity)? If so, weren't you the douchebag for reacting like you did?... You could have had a decent time just by taking the (forced) pairing in stride and playing you game and enjoying being out, minus the blisters (those hurt!)...

    It's all in the attitude, man. Relax, chill, chillax... You're golfing, not digging a trench or filing a mountain of paperwork...

    1. I already copped to being a prick, what more can I say. I just don't agree with this jumping around the course on a whim. We all get dicked around by slow play, but this is not a cool way of dealing with it--finding an open hole and cutting in there. Most self-respecting golf courses would agree with me I think.

    2. I am not saying you are in the wrong, or a prick. I am just saying that this bad attitude is what causes you the pain you are experiencing. Enjoy the game: perhaps these 2 were not really as bad as you assumed they were for trying to play around slow play. I hate slow play too, but as I walk (like you do), it's nearly impossible for us to jump around like that... and I too feel ill towards people who do. Is it jealousy on some unconscious level? Perhaps... Yes, the course could have handled it better, but after the first hole, I would have just relaxed about it and played my own game. Just sayin'...

    3. You are right I suppose. I could've chosen the path of acceptance. That choice is almost always available. It's most likely not an unconscious envy since I've been riding for most rounds this year (tee time deals, can't pass up free gas). It's more like a pathological distrust of all people in New York City. If there is some kind of societal-fabric unraveling going on in the US, then NYC is ground zero. If you ask me. That said I admit that I am more part of the problem than solution. I probably agree with you in principle, but on this day my patience was thin and I guess these people happened to cross the wrong guy at the wrong time. Looking back I do feel kind of bad for them. Arguably they were just in Rome doing as the Romans do--play golf in Brooklyn, throw etiquette out the window.

  2. Oh, and nice putting! That's very impressive, particularly considering your state of mind, and what you had to block out to be in the putting zone. I have been rolling the rock pretty good myself lately and it feels great when the hole looks like a bucket, doesn't it? The mind is such a powerful thing!...

  3. I have noted an odd phenomenon (where is spell check when I need it!). I tend to putt better, often extremely well, on aerated greens. You seem to own the same misplaced ability. Why are we aerated-green putting specialists? What flaw in our genetic makeup allows us to have under 30 putts on greens that rival a school yard playing field for lack of consistency? I don't know about you but if I am going to be a golf super hero, I don't want to be "Aerated Green Putter Dude".

    1. Your comments remind me of how little consideration I even gave to those greens and their crappiness. Perception is a funny thing. I mean, I can recall seeing a bad hop or two but for the most part it didn't enter the mind. I was exceptionally focused on the objective I guess. Not to mention too busy watching balls dive into the cup. Your question is worth consideration though. Maybe there is a letting go of expectations or something. I do recall that not long after I started playing I read that yarn about Tom Watson once having broken 60 at his home course, on punched greens. That made a deep impression I guess.

      BTW I don't know if these were punched recently--I think it might just be regular old disrepair. Conditions on the rest of the course seem to suggest so.


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