Well, yes – a golf post for a change (this blog is titled Life, Golf, Miniatures & Other Distractions after all)!
Please note that normally I would not just post a mundane golf story about myself. So, apologies in advance if I seem to be a bit self-focused here. I would not want to be too narcissistic, but some background for the reader may help.
I have been playing golf, mostly as a hacker, since I was 12. My late grandfather (who drove an M24 tank in WWII and was a hero of mine) got me started. He was absolutely terrible – he would be lucky to break 110 or even 120 for 18 holes. He did imbue me with a love of the greatest game – and I carry that with me to this day. I still have golf balls of his that I carry in my bag to honor his gift to me.
In the Army, I played when I could, and even joined clubs at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, at Ft. Belvoir, VA, and even the Canadian Forces course at Lahr in Germany. That Canadian course was fun as for one you had CF-18 fighters zooming overhead (quite low) and secondly it was the only place to be able to get Canadian beer like Labatts (the Germans would not allow it to be sold and the US had only American and German beer for sale at the Class VI store). I left the Army in 1992, and I did not play very often until 1998.
At that point I had moved to East Brookfield, MA, and was happy to discover that there was a golf course 0.3 miles away! The first tee was closer to my house than it was to the first green! That was Bay Path Golf Course – and I was a member there for 21 years. I was playing nearly 70 rounds a year (mostly at Bay Path), which is a lot when you consider that our Massachusetts weather is only good for golf from April to October for the most part. I kept a spreadsheet of all my scores, just to track progress and focus on improving. One goal eluded me, that being getting an eagle.
For those of you non-golfers, an eagle (not to be confused with my Eagle Warriors) is a score that is two shots under par. On a par three, it would be a hole-in-one. On a par 4, it would be a 2, etc. At Bay Path, it became a running joke that I had not gotten an eagle, even just from luck. I came close several times, only to be denied. I even hosted a pool for charity where members could bet whether I would get an eagle that year or not. Most all bet “not” by the way. Last year, Bay Path closed (sadly), forcing me to join a new club, Quail Hollow in Oakham, MA. It’s about a 15 minute drive from home. It’s a nice club, but a much more difficult course than Bay Path.
According to my spreadsheet, by last Tuesday, June 9th, 2020, I had taken 115,136 plus strokes since 1999 with never an eagle. That equates to 1,293 rounds – not including any scrambles by the way, So effectively, that’s about 5,172 hours of golf – or 215.5 days of golf! Many birdies, but no eagles!
Even more sadly, play was delayed here because of COVID-19. So while normally I would try to play in March or April, I did not get to play or even practice until late May. My game does not rely on any real talent – it’s based on hard work and practice. I also track my golf progress here for myself on the blog (see the main menu as well). So I had little expectations about early play and knocking off any rust.
There is a group that plays on Tuesdays at Quail that I joined up with called “Pit’s Crew” after the guy that runs it, Pit Caron. We play a 4-man scramble. On June 9th, we approached the 3rd hole, a par-4, 249 yard hole. I was the “B” player, and drove my ball right next to the green on the left fringe – maybe three feet off of it. For me this was a very good result as the fairway is quite narrow and the green is guarded by a deep bunker in the front. I then used my 56 degree wedge and chipped my second shot – it went up, up – it rolled – and plunk, it dropped in nicely!
I was happy that one of my teammates was a fellow former Bay Path golfer, Jim Kularski, who was our “A” man. It was gratifying that he got to see me accomplish something that he knew well that I had been trying to get for so very long. I also had on lucky golf gear from my West Point reunion last year. While it was a scramble, I played the same ball (a found Titleist Pro-V1 that I was using so as not to lose one of my preferred Titleist ProV1X’s), from the same position, so I am counting the eagle as having been my first. After all, at this pace, my next one will be in 2060 when I am 98…
Oh yeah, we also came in first place out of 18 teams.
So here’s some pics (thanks to Jim Kularski for the pictures – again, more to commemorate than to brag – but like I always say – it ain’t braggin’ if ya do it!
Thanks for indulging me by looking!