Golfer’s Diary: The USPS Open

You’ve heard of the U.S. Open, Players Championship, The Masters and the British Open, but there’s a new event on the scene — the USPS Open. Yes, that’s the United States Postal Service Open.

Three current USPS employees and one recent retiree were set to head down to Cable Hollow Golf Course in Russell, Pa. The retiree was replaced at the last minute by a non-USPSer, but that doesn’t change the fact that I got to, A) golf in a legitimate foursome for the first time in ages, B) play with some great guys whose company I thoroughly enjoyed, and C) tee it up at a course I’ve never played before. It was a special round, no doubt.

I had played with Steve a few weeks back. Keith and I talk golf almost every morning in the office. Frank (the lone “outsider”), I’ve known most of my life dating back to my days of Little League Baseball. What a great group of guys. Good golfers, too.

Again, I had never played Cable Hollow before. It had been recommended to me on several occasions and now I see why. It’s fantastic. There aren’t enough positive adjectives for me to use to describe how much I enjoyed playing this course. Yes, it’s nearly an hour away from the Dunkirk area, but it’s well worth the drive and I’ll absolutely be going again.

It started off…rough. I hit a nice drive and got just behind the green on my second shot, but I was not prepared for the speed of the green. I hit what I thought was a nice little chip on, but it nearly rolled off the front of the green. It took me three putts to get it back up and into the hole for a double-bogey.

No. 2 is a par 3 down a hill. All four of us hit beautiful tee shots all around the green. Some were on and some were spitting distance from being on. It was fun to see nice shot after nice shot. I tend to play with a lot of beginners and/or hackers, so a flurry of pretty looking tee shots isn’t something I get to witness often. Plus I made par, so that made me happy as well.

A string of bogeys in the middle of the front nine wasn’t all that unexpected. I was hitting the ball pretty well, but I felt like the speed of the green was adding a stroke between my chips going long or my putting being just a little bit off. Still, I’m about a bogey golfer, so I felt like I was playing okay.

Easily my best shot of the day came on No. 9. It’s a 515-yard par 5 with a decent sized pond on (maybe even in) the left side of the fairway. I believe it said 240 yards or so to clear the pond in the air. None of the other guys flirted with the pond on their drives, but my tee shot was headed right in that direction. Thankfully I absolutely blistered the ball, it cleared the pond by plenty, hit the fairway and rolled almost exactly to the 200-yard marker. Let’s do some simple math. I started 515 yards away. I ended up 200 yards away. Holy smokes! That’s a 315-yard drive! Not only that, but I didn’t waste it. My second shot was just off the green. Unfortunately a weak chip meant I needed two putts and only recorded par, but pars were hard to come by this round, so I was pretty happy.

We broke for lunch at that point. Cable Hollow has a mind-boggling meal deal. For an extra three dollars when you’re signing in for golf, you get a meal ticket for the turn. You get a burger, a chicken salad or two hot dogs with fries and a drink. All of that for just three dollars. The course has a beautiful dining area, too. I’d be willing to bet the regular menu features some great food.

After the break, I simply couldn’t get my drive back. The rest of my game wasn’t terrible, but I was hitting all of my drives to the right and simply couldn’t stop. In retrospect, I know what was going wrong. I was dropping my right shoulder. That’s such an easy fix, too. Drat.

Still, I was fairly pleased with a 94 considering my struggles to adjust to the green and my late driving troubles. Keith won the day with a 90. Frank was right behind me with a 95, though he played better than me all day and just blew up the final hole with an OB shot. Steve improved greatly after Frank gave him a pointer that he was standing too close to the ball with his irons. Sure enough, he started hitting far better and more consistent shots after that.

If you can’t tell, I loved Cable Hollow Golf Course. If you’ve never played there before, go. And take me with you.

Until then, golf is great. Go get some.

Stefan Gestwicki is an OBSERVER contributing writer. Comments on this article can be sent to golfersdiary@gmail.com.

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