Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Golf. Of COURSE.

I'm interested in a lot of things. Golf has never been one of them. And while I consider myself much more of a "personal commentator" than a reporter, I none the less tagged along (with permission) on a golf outing here at Desert Gold campground today. I wanted to see what went on out there in the desert. This is NOT your typical golf course!

So today I'll be offering some comments both on what I saw and what I learned, with the disclaimer that absolutely none of what I will write about today has much of anything to do with anything- except one thing- F.U.N.

You see, today is Happy Tuesday here. Just like the other days of the week, it comes around each and every week. For most people, Tuesday is the day after the first day of the work week, the day before "hump" day, and two days before the downhill slide to Friday which we all thank God for...TGIF. It's never been attached to a weekend- either at the front or the back. In short: it's not special. Ever. Except here. Where it is special every week. Happy Tuesday, it seems has been designated a weekly day of play. You can get a little work done if you must, but only if you do it in limited amounts between the designated "fun" activities.

Now Desert Gold is not a big campground, at least by my standards, but it is well thought out and inhabited by an energetic and playful lot of campers. So Tuesday's schedule can include any of the many activities available to campers here. There's a swimming pool (wet volleyball anyone?), a hot tub, a bingo parlor, an exercise room, a craft room, rec room, a sing-a-long room. There's a free car wash and oil change area for those "honey do-s" and I suppose that is work or "happy" depending on your point of view. There are ATV trips and rock collecting trips, and just a whole host of things you could choose to do any day of the week. But Happy Tuesday is a controlled situation....

And it begins with a round of golf! Now before you go picturing acres of lush green manicured grass and stately palms, caddies with heavy bags full of costly clubs, and electric powered carts that get the exercise instead of you..., remember this is the desert. You have a better chance of finding gold, lizards, rocks, and sharp prickly things on the course than you do a single blade of grass. The course- all 18 holes of it- is all natural. The rocks, the cactus, the Saguaros, the scrub brush, the mesquite trees and creosote bushes have neither been planted nor moved. They are where they are where they have always been. Talk about hazards; they are everywhere. Golf is challenging. But even walking can be difficult. And a golf ball driven with a small iron and by someone with a strong swing- well, sir, it goes where-ever it wants to go, especially if it hits a rock (which is COMMON). It doesn't roll down the fairway, it ricochets like a steel ball in an old time pin ball machine. Before you can yell "fore" that little sucker ball can come right back and smack you right between the eyes if'n it has a mind to.... And while this can be problematic in its own right, it can also be a blessing, because at least when that happens you know where your ball went- which is an entirely different matter, as some balls that veer off can be down right impossible to find- no matter what color ball your are playing with.

So as seeing is believing, we'll use some stills and a slide show to get the point across. But not before I show off my new golf knowledge. Now I've heard a few of these terms before but only had a vague idea what they actually meant. So let me tell you what I leaned about golf out there. "Knowledge is good!", he said with a grin on his face.

PAR- that is the number of whacks you are supposed to take with a bent metal weapon called a club to get the ball from the Tee ( as in I'm Tee'd off) to the hole. In the desert the hole is three feet across, not three inches and it's still darn hard to land in.

Score- this is the number of shots each player has used to reach the current hole based on the number of "holes" they have played. The score is not important! (but everyone seemed to know what theirs was :-))

Eagle- this is what a player gets if he makes it to the hole in two shots less than the posted par.

Birdie- this is what the player gets if he reaches the hole with one fewer stroke than that of the posted par.

Bogie- this is the score on the hole of a golfer who takes one more stroke than par; it is not what forms in your nose while you are out in the desert breathing all that dust....and it's pronounced differently too.

Double Bogie- this is what the golfer gets if he hits more rocks than normal on any hole and uses two strokes more than par. And finally:

Flat Ass Lousy- this is what they call the golfer that uses three or more strokes than that called for by the PAR.

Wow. That was a lot to remember. I hope I got it right.

The weekly golf tournaments kick off each Happy Tuesday. I'm happy they let me tag along to cover the event. What do you think the odds are they're ever going to let me out on the course again after this?

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