It turns out that one of my local haunts, Marine Park GC, has a sister. She's called Lido GC. Okay, so maybe neither of these places recognizes the other as a sibling, or even the other's right to exist for all I know. But they do share the same mother, which is the south shore of the landmass known as Long Island and the same dad, Robert Trent Jones. You see I am not making this up. They are in fact related.
Lido Beach is part of the little barrier island that's more widely known for the neighboring town of Long Beach, which is a sad little seashore destination accessible by train, a default daytrip for New York City losers who want to sit by the ocean, but can't drive.
Considering they share an architect and are both situated practically in the Atlantic Ocean, I expected a very similar course to Marine Park: raw, weather-beaten and exposed to the harsh seaside elements.
But no, where Marine Park is a harsh, desolate, people-less landscape, Lido is much more of a cozy seaside resort town atmosphere. Softer, like somehow more receptive to conviviality and what not.
The course's neighbor to the west is the town's public high school. No offense against institutionalized learning or anything but juxtapositions like these remind you what eyesore concrete monstrosities these places tend to be, aesthetically speaking.
Now this is a fun and kitschy old relic but you can't tell me that one can still actually push that button and a $6 roast beef sandwich comes out on the other end of the 9th hole. I'm not falling for that. Not in 2016.
Speaking of grub, someone had a clam party here. A strange sight for sure, but the hobby-scientist in me thinks it's the work of semi-intelligent seagulls who use the hard surface to crack open their shellfish snacks.
This was my first round after about a month of self-imposed abstinence. As such I came out with a free mind and no expectations. It wasn't long before I was entangled in an existential battle against my own golf swing and quite frankly my very existence as a golfer. Swinging free with no expectations is overrated. If you have a good swing to begin with it's probably a winning idea. If not, it's only going to dig you deeper into your mediocrity hole.
Of course, on-course is where the deepest swing epiphanies always seem to be found and today was no exception. Maybe you just need to reach that point where it feels like all hope is lost, and only then can you make substantive changes.
In the middle of the course sits a small range--no shots bigger than an iron. Afterwards I really wanted to hash out a few practice balls and see if I could figure something out.
So I went to the pro shop and asked if I could buy a bucket and the guy pointed at this awesome circa-1980's arcade-style token dispenser. This is even better than the roast beef intercom.
I hit some really good balls on that range.
As for the round I lost a bunch of balls en route to a bitter 102. But somehow not even that could sour me on the course. Lido is a place I'd heard plenty of reviews of over the years--none of which were all that positive--and now that I've finally seen it I can say that a) it exceeded expectations, and 2) people tend to not know what the F they are talking about when it comes to golf courses. So it was a nice play, and hopefully I can come back here (if and) when my swing is in a better state.