Saturday, January 17, 2015

Frozengolf


A few days ago we got some rain, which I had thought would've been enough to melt away the couple of inches of snow cover. Trouble is it's been very cold and the ground is frozen, so even a full day's worth of steady drizzle was not enough to clean up the entire mess.




At home in the middle of Manhattan, all traces of snow are gone. So I was surprised when I arrived and saw considerable amounts of snow and ice on the course. Before I went into the bar (which in the wintertime is where you check in for your round) I was fully expecting to be turned away, even though I had pre-booked and paid. But no, even though the course appeared to be completely deserted, the staff was welcoming and didn't make me feel at all weird about trying to play golf in these conditions.

As I stepped out of the cart to the first tee, I made sure to maintain a grip on the steering wheel for support, and I still almost ended up on my back. It was good to be reminded early on that, there should be no horsing around in these conditions and that a pointless ice-related injury was a very real possibility out here.


Other than that, I'm glad to be out here. This is my most extreme attempt at frozen golf yet, and I welcome it. The ground is hard and there is some bounce to the ball as it lands, but it's not out of control. I flew my approach to the first green somewhere near the front, and while it was in the air I feared the worst, but it ended up just off the back fringe.


Strange tees I find on the course, I tend to collect them in my bag. I've had this push-pin looking dealy in there for a long time, and now I think I understand it's purpose. Still it was of no use today--the ground was by and large frozen solid.

After somehow parring the 1st I gave myself a look at birdie on the 2nd.


In theory I could take relief from casual water. I chose to play it as it was, made a mess of it and three-putted. Putting on ice is a lot different, I can tell you that.

When the ground is this frozen and hard, strange things happen to shots. I hit my tee shot on the 4th a bit wide right. It ended up crossing another hole completely before winding up on the edge of the property.

As always I followed the Rules of Golf best as I could. Winter rules is for wienies. The only exceptions were the flagsticks, the majority of which were completely frozen into the hole.

Teeing up the ball was the big challenge of the day. The coldest parts of the course were hopeless. Today, I would try out a variety of solutions. Here I stacked the ball atop a couple bits of broken twig, just enough height for a fairway wood. Pretty effective, somewhat elegant; it worked for me a few times.

Yeah sure, there's ice in all different places including the fairway, but hey, I'm grateful to be out here.

No rest for the weary. I know some courses use shorter tees in the winter. Not here. The black tees are playing their full distance these days. And why the f not?

Today was a day for picking up random debris and using it to mark the ball on the green.


After a great drive at the 7th, I took a while to contemplate this shot and how I could manage to put the ball on this, the shallowest green in the tri-state area. With a steep false front and sides, it was a tricky situation.


A miracle lob wedge approach managed to stay on the green even after the big bounce, but more perils awaited. Some of these geese shits had fused onto the surface and had to be chipped off. Not surprisingly, three putts from here.


A snow bunker is actually a very good idea.

Looks like the work of a desperate raccoon. It's dead of winter, it's hard times. I get it.


This snow seems semi-firm--think I'll need my high-bounce wedge here.

A good vista of Silver Lake in the Ice Age.


An ice-filled divot. Now I have seen it all.


Here, on the par 3 11th, about to tee up an 8-iron I said "fuck it" and teed the ball atop a piece of dried up goose turd. It worked.

A couple of mallard ducks looking pretty comfortable in the ice cold water. The mallard--the duck's duck if you ask me.

A few of the holes were too filled up with ice to hold any flagsticks. Here I made a nice two-putt for a scarce par. It feels good.

Coming up to a wintry 18th green, a welcome end to a challenge bout of extreme sports. Somehow I have about a ten-footer for par.


Trouble is most of it's over ice. I was just glad to two-putt here, and also not to slip and fall. My goal today was to break 90. I failed by three shots; I think it was out there though. Anyways I'm glad I tried. Again, it's a privilege just to be playing any kind of golf at this time of year let alone a full eighteen. The weather looks to be non-catastrophic over the next week, so we'll try to get back out soon and give it another shot. At this stage it might be a tiny, weak ember that could be snuffed out any day, but for now the golf season burns on.

3 comments:

  1. bkuehn "I need me some golf" 1952January 18, 2015 at 4:56 AM

    Wow, that really got my golf juices flowing. No golf for me, however, since the tundra is a sea of white still.

    A hammer and a steel nail will create a hole in the ground, then drive the tee in. If the ground is only semi-permafrost, just hammer the tee in.

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  2. I had to laugh at what you dealt with. Those pics are exactly the conditions here today. Snow bunkers, flags on the ground or frozen in the cup. Ice on the green. Gotta love it. No relief for me either. Play it!!!

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  3. Good stuff. Nice score. I've been stinking it up lately (107, 98 - last 2 rounds) but can't blame the conditions.

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