(Image courtesy glenoak.com. View from behind the 12th hole)
Update: This appears to have been my my last round for a while. I was actually a bit surprised they were initially open. I’m a bit disappointed with this recent decision, but since this is for the commonweal, I’m good with it. Then again, it’s currently (9:40 am, Friday) 35º with a windchill of 20º, so I’m not actually missing much.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, golf is pretty hard to come by these days. The dicey Spring weather (we had snow flurries this Thursday morning) in western New York doesn’t help, but the measures, notably social distancing to tampen down the Great Infection creates a challenge.
Last weekend I went online at the Glen Oak web site to book a tee-time for this past Tuesday. The course management did a great job of structuring for social distancing. For example, tee times were set at 15 minute intervals compared to the normal 10 minute intervals.
There was no equipment/accouterments on the course; no power carts, no pull carts, no ball washers, no wastebaskets, no benches, no flag sticks, etc. The cup liner was raised a few inches above the surface. Any ball (putt or chip) that hit the liner was deemed to have holed out. If you played, you either used your personal pull cart or carried. When your group had the tee, you could not tee off until the group in front of you cleared the green.
These are very stringent local rules, but they worked well. We made the turn in less than two hours and finished in less than four hours. Despite the wet Spring, the course was in really good shape. The fairways and greens were cut and maintained to a surprisingly high level.
My playing partners, Charlie and Bill, had a friendly chatty round. From a distance. We made use of the fairways as we meandered from hole to hole. I doubt if we got any closer than 10-12 feet from one another, because there was no need to get any closer. Our “outside” voices got quite the workout.
This was my first round of the season. Prior, I had been to indoor golf dome(s) only four times, so there was still a bit of rust to be shaken off, especially with the longer clubs. In terms of play, I was satisfied, despite having two double bogeys on the front nine. I also had two birdies and turned in 42. The back nine was a much cleaner, consistent 39. My driving and iron play improved dramatically through the round and my short game and putting was surprisingly good throughout the round.
By any measure, this was a fine day. I golfed on a sunny, 60 degree day and did a bit of distant socializing. I somewhat identified areas of my game that needed work and made the adjustments that I could. It also confirmed/reinforced techniques that seemed to be working well. Walked well over 5 miles pushing a 30 lb bag and worked in some golf, so it was a well needed stretch of physical and mental health.
I plan to get out again in the next week or so, weather permitting. Hopefully, sometime this summer, we can get back to full fledged golfing.