Monday, April 27, 2015

The Bogey Express

Well, that didn't last long. After making a brief reconnection with my spiritual golf roots in Brooklyn, the connection fizzled out and I retreated back to Staten Island. Sorry. I know it's been said in the comments that I don't really belong there, and I agreed with it at first, but after some soul searching I have been forced to reconsider.

Windy today.
Discovering golf on the island for all we know just might have saved my interest in this whole damn thing from going down the tubes. The reasons for a Manhattan ghetto golfer to get on the ferry are many. Let's review.

-Fast rounds. I stopped keeping track but I'm averaging under three hours per full round here. Often I get sent out to play all by my lonesone. It's not uncommon to have a clear, or almost clear path through the course, and thanks to the miracle of the powered cart I can sometimes finish in under two and a half. I can't remember, even when things have gotten ugly, the last time a round here took over four hours.

-Good deals. What else would you expect from the self-proclaimed workingman's country club?

-Challenging gameplay. The 116 slope number is screwed up. It has to be. There are difficult holes here. Severe-sloped lies, tee shot corridors that are excruciatingly tight, holes that demand a draw off the tee. Approaches that have to be slice around big, overgrown trees--from the fuckin' fairway even. There's water hazards on seven holes, possibly more. Only two holes are anywhere close to flat, the rest are all valleys, hills, mounds, ravines. The elevation changes on most of the holes I would describe as monstrous. You cannot slop it around here and expect to score. It is a much trickier course than 116 would suggest and I can back that up with some numbers in a sec.

-Easier access. Every last mode of mass transit in New York City is fraught with headaches and annoyance, but when it comes to overall experience the ferry rules. Whether you need to get some work done or just want to relax the time away, the big boat lets you do that, and in scenic style. The price--free--is right. Plus the bike ride from my front door to the ferry slip is almost all car-free. So what if riding with a golf bag strapped on into a 20mph headwind might require some heavy labor. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred it's still better than mass transit.

Poop season has arrived.
When you add it all up, there's nothing more to think about. Anyways, what's my alternative? I am taking a pass on Dyker Beach, not Pebble Beach.

Free drinking water, the first real sign of spring I've seen.
But let's get real here. The challenge on the course keeps me coming back. It is a tough nut to crack and even though it's caused me some misery I have to admit that it's an enjoyable course. I've played it for a solid year and a half now and still have yet to break 80--something I've only ever done on courses with higher slopes than 116.

The grassiest lie I've had in years.
Also I checked out some cumulative stats over all the rounds I've ever played here and boy are they dismal. For one thing, on one-third of the holes at Silver Lake, my average score is worse than bogey. One of those is a par 5 goddammit. That means there's potential scorecard bustin' land-mines all over this place.

Stressing out over every putt lately.
The most damning statistic of all is scoring average. Since I started playing here on the regular mine has done nothing but balloon. This is a par 70 course too, for crying out loud.

7th hole is the stuff nightmares are made of. One day I will do a whole post on just this one hole.
So here's the Challenge: I have to keep playing Silver Lake exclusively until I break 80. Of course there's the occasional roadgolf jaunts, from which I'm not gonna abstain. But as for the local, workaday golf here at home, I am hereby not allowed to go to Dyker, Marine Park, Pelham/Split Rock et al. until I've broken 80 at Silver Lake. I am chaining myself to the radiator.

Sneakin' in some practice.
Maintaining interesting in blogging about your shitty rounds is not easy, I'm finding out. You need gimmicks. If not just for the reader, for your own damn self. You need to raise the emotional stakes every so often, I guess. Maybe you've heard of that guy with the website and the plan, you know, one regular Joe's quest to go from adult beginner to PGA TOUR stud? Well, think of this as the Jerkoff Journey, one Manhattan golfer's quest to shoot a respectable round in Staten Island once and for all.

Shit got dark on the back nine.
Think of the implications. Even though I've shot low enough on both nines to make this a feasible-in-theory endeavor, it might be years before I actually break 80 in one round. Think of the anguish and feelings of futility and imprisonment that would eventually grow and fester. Could be an explosive situation. God, now that I think about it there is a lot at stake here. I like playing here but human beings need at least a little variety or else insanity sets in. Getting a little scared now.

Nevertheless I'm willing to do whatever it takes to reach this goal, so we'd might as well settle in. The pursuit may involve a total overhaul of my whole golf game and beyond. Possible changes in lifestyle, fitness, diet, what have you. Long putter. Whatever it takes to get me in under 80 on this silly golf course, I'll consider it.


  1. The Silver Lake Challenge. Sounds like a PGA event. Go get it Tiger. My prediction: Break 80 before June.

    1. June 2015 right? I like that prediction, thanks for the support!

  2. How is your putting on this course? Average? Poor? Is getting the ball in proper position on the green a daunting proposition (tiers, invisible green surface, etc..)? Keeping it in play and scoring well around the green should get you there: after all, all you need is 9 strokes over or better so that leaves room for 9 or more bogeys (assuming a birdie here and there). Right? Good luck, Mr Legit! :)

    1. Putting is just okay. Don't seem to have a lot of 3-putts, but also don't seem to get up and down as much from off the green. And there are a couple of greens which are just plain weird and seem to give me trouble every single time. Anyways, placement on the greens is not a huge deal here. So I think hitting a lot of GIRs, at least 50% will be key. Thanks for the support!

  3. The course looks to be in fine condition for this time of year, and after a winter of severe weather.

    Here in the Berkshires, we'll be putting on temporary greens for quite some time yet...bummer.

    1. Why has God forsaken New England golf this year? Not fair.

  4. Fast forward several decades:

    Silver Lake pro shop employee talking to a new customer.

    SL: "See that old guy over there with the Fu Manchu and long putter, talking to himself?"
    New: "Yeah, what's his story?"
    SL: "He set some sort of a goal eons ago. Eventually he snapped. He is here every day, trying to make that ever elusive goal, whatever it is. I heard he runs a golf blog."
    New: "Sad, truly sad."

    1. Ha ha, that's funny. We can joke about it... for now.


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