Just what the doctor ordered

Golfer's Diary

My life has changed a lot over the past three years. I went from zero kids to three after my twins were born in March. I was laid off from a job I truly loved. I started a job with the United States Postal Service that, while only part-time, is also a pretty good gig. None of these factors have equaled more golf, in case you’re curious.

Very little could have prepared me for last week, however. I became the full-time stay-at-home dad to my two-year old son and six-month old twins. My wife went back to her job as an elementary school teacher. Her insurance is just too critical with our three youngsters. It’s sad that we live in a country where the mom has to work because of insurance, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Yes, it’s only been a week, but those are some long days filled with a plethora of poopy diapers, puffs and repeated Toy Story viewings. I needed some golf in my life.

Thankfully, I was able to meet up with my best friend Matt at Rose Brook Golf Club in Silver Creek on Sunday. We timed it so that the course would be just about empty as people tuned into the Bills game. It definitely worked as we were able to play 18 holes in under four hours.

Embarrassingly enough, this was the first time this year that I’ve gotten to play all 18 holes at Rose Brook (see above for the reasons why). Matt and I met once early in the season, but we only had time for nine, which was a tough pill to swallow. Driving away from that awesome hole No. 10? That was painful.

This time I was even treated to a wonderful greeting from owners Gary and Myra. Honestly, catching up with some of the amazing course owners we have in this area is perhaps the best part of jumping around from course to course throughout the year. I can’t think of a single course at which I don’t hope to bump into the owners. Gary and Myra are absolutely no exception. What great people.

Gary mentioned that he and his team had spent over 10 hours the day before working on the greens. Yes, it was aeration time. Sometimes this means the greens are going to be borderline unplayable for a few days. Rose Brook, however used the small tines instead of pulling plugs (he explained the whole process, but some of it probably wouldn’t make sense without seeing it). Yes, there was a little bit of sand on the greens, but I was super impressed by how this new way of aerating kept the greens in extremely playable shape.

The round didn’t exactly get off to a promising start. A sure-fire birdie putt hit the back of the cup and jumped right out. I don’t believe I’ve ever started a round off with a birdie so I was pretty bummed. I actually had another birdie lip out later in the round on No. 13. That one might have been even more painful because it was a long, beautiful putt that I was already fist-pumping about because I was so sure it was falling.

Weirdly, the best part of my game by far was my long irons. Those are clubs that rarely come out of the bag. If I’m 200 yards out, I usually go with my 3-hybrid, but I’ve been hitting that club so poorly for so long that I decided to change things up. On three or four occasions, I saved myself with an absolute bomb with my 5-iron. On No. 15 it led to a tap-in birdie.

Matt had an unprecedented change in his game. When we played together two weeks ago, he was smashing the ball off the tee, but his score suffered mightily with rocky play on and around the green. I’m not sure if he watched a putting video or something, but he started using the logo on the ball to line up his putts and the results were nothing short of astounding. Two weeks ago, I would have called Matt a poor putter at best. During this round, he was lights out. I can only hope for his sake that it’s a change that will stick and not just a fluke. I was happy for him though because sinking mid-range putts feels awfully good.

The final tally was pretty good as I ended up shooting a 41-41-82. The issue is that I definitely used a couple more mulligans than I usually allow myself. I usually allot myself one on the front nine and one on the back. I probably should have had a few strokes in penalties that I didn’t take, but honestly that would have taken away from some of the fun that Matt and I were having. Like I always say, if you’re not having fun on the golf course, you’re doing something wrong. So I don’t even feel bad about the extra leeway.

The few hours with my best friend playing the sport I love on a course I adore was exactly what I needed after a long week. What will I do when golfing season ends? Ehh… we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Until next week, golf is great. Go get some.

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