What a week

Golfer's Diary

After becoming a father last year, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to play as much golf as I had in years past, yet it’s still come as a bit of a shock. The wife starts teaching again this week, which will cut my available golfing time down even further.

That said, I made the most of the past week with a pair of supremely enjoyable rounds.

First, I took my nephew Damien out again. His round last week was the first time he’s ever played and I honestly couldn’t quite get a sense of whether he enjoyed it or not. But when I saw him a few days later, the first thing he said was, “When are we golfing again?” Needless to say, that made me unthinkably happy.

We went back to Vineyards Golf Course, as it’s a course that I find is ideal for new golfers while still challenging me. His improvement was noticeable right away. He looked more comfortable swinging the clubs. He rarely asked for advice on what club to use, instead choosing to figure it out for himself. As far as I remember, he didn’t even blast any putts past the hole, though it still took him some time to find that touch with the putter.

The best part of the round definitely came on the ride home, when he was desperately trying to find one more day that we could golf together before school starts. Unfortunately, it probably isn’t going to happen, but he’s obviously excited about the sport, so I need to make time on a weekend before the weather turns. As any golfer around here knows, golf in September and October is just the best.

Again, I had a goal of getting at least one person hooked on golf and it certainly looks like Damien got the bug.

Several days later, I got to golf with two of my best friends, Matt and Bryan. I hadn’t played with Bryan in over two years, so it was an exciting round, for sure. All three of us have reached the point in our lives where golf is a needed escape from “real life” for a few hours.

We played 18 at Vineyards and it was one of the more difficult rounds to analyze that I’ve ever played. I was hitting the ball extremely well except for on No. 4 both times through. On the “front nine” I was a mere three-over par on eight of the holes, but I shot a ludicrously bad seven on No. 4. The second time through, I started the round with par, par, par before shooting yet another seven on No. 4. I simply couldn’t get the ball to the green.

It was one of those situations where you couldn’t help but laugh, too. I hit a beautiful 8-iron over some trees, but it hit the absolute top of the tree, made a wonderful “clunk” sound and landed virtually at my feet. It was just that kind of hole both times through. To make matters worse, Bryan and Matt both completely botched that one hole, too.

Bryan is famous for his once-in-a-lifetime shots. He once skipped a ball off a tiny electrical box to clear a pond at Pinehurst in Westfield. Another time he sliced a ball deep into a field only to have it hit a random telephone pole and ricochet back into the middle of the fairway. In this round, though, he topped both of those in the craziness department.

It was on No. 2 the second time through. His drive was nothing to write home about, just a little right and maybe 140 yards from the green. His ensuing shot, however, was one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen. The head of his club came flying off the shaft as he made contact with the ball. Both ball and club head went skipping down the fairway in unison. The ball, which never actually made it off the ground, somehow rolled perfectly straight all the way onto the green. Yes, he gave himself a look at birdie despite his club literally coming apart in his hands.

As a side note, you don’t realize how often you use each club until you can’t anymore. Several times over the final seven holes, Bryan would be an 8-iron away from the green but obviously couldn’t use it.

We also got to see some amazing wildlife during the round. We saw two very large snapping turtles fighting each other in the pond by No. 9. Those things are vicious. Then we saw a beautiful great blue heron stalking frogs in the pond by No. 1.

All in all, it was an amazing week for golf. I still have hopes of getting both my father and my brother-in-law out this year. Stay tuned for that.

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.