Monday, July 27, 2009

Hiawatha Golf Club – Minneapolis, MN

TheDoctor, Smallz, and I have been golfing fairly regularly this summer. Sadly, Smallz is the only one showing improvement to his game. Bastard. I should have been studying for a midterm exam in statistics which is scheduled for this week, but golf seemed like a fair distraction. In fact, I had mentioned to TheDoctor the previous day how I hoped it would rain, so I could study for this test. TheDoctor is a bad influence on me, I think. TheDoctor invited another guy to complete our foursome, who I’m sure had no idea what he was getting into. Kook showed up and towered over Smallz and I. Apparently, the only people TheDoctor knows under the 7 foot mark are Smallz and I. When Kook started the smack-talk on the first hole, I knew he’d fit right in.

The Hiawatha course is decent for a public course. There’s some grass burnout in spots, the ponds are scummier and overgrown than the private courses, and the greens are just in OK shape. And oddly, this is the first time I’ve ever noticed this, the ground is painfully non-smooth while driving over it in a golf cart. Most courses, you can drive on the grass, even in the rough, and have a pretty smooth ride. Not so at this course. We were being thrown all over the place and in some spots, you couldn’t even drive at top speed (which is about 5 mph in a golf cart). You couldn’t even take a sip of whatever liquor you snuck onto the course because it would be impossible to actually get the drink anywhere near your mouth.

The course is pretty flat, with a couple of slight elevation changes, but I was really impressed with the dog-legs on the course (I’m sure that will send off all kinds of alarms at PETA central headquarters). There were some serious placement shots required on this course. If you went too far, you were in the crap or in the water. If you played too short, you couldn’t make the bend and had to take an extra shot. Good shot selection was pretty crucial. Thankfully, I can’t hit very far, so I didn’t require THAT much laying up.

The thing that sucks about not being able to hit very far is that this course has a high number of par 5 holes. Par 5 holes tend to be lengthy and cater to the big hitters – which I am not. At one point, Smallz actually said, “ANOTHER par 5? Seriously?”

I started out strong on the front nine. Actually played well (for my usual game). Then on the back nine, I fell apart. Not just regular fell apart, but Space Shuttle Challenger fell apart (I know, it’s inappropriate, but that’s the mental picture you really need to have to come close to what happened). I added TWENTY strokes to my game on the back nine. Not one extra stroke per hole worse. Not even two extra strokes per hole. And some of those were way more than that. In fact, I lost 13 balls on the back nine, one of which was over a public road about 100 yards to the left of my fairway. So you know, I haven’t hit a ball that went left (unless you count the trees I’ve hit that ricocheted the ball left) in 20 years.

I kept mostly level headed, but only in the way that mean’s I didn’t turn green, shred my shirt, start stabbing innocent bystanders in the throat with plastic butterknives, and leave my golf bag in flames in the parking lot. So scale that back a little, and you’ll get a couple of thrown clubs, a LOT of loud cursing, and eventually finishing the last few holes using only one club since it didn’t matter at that point.

So, the course is decent and not terribly difficult (but does have its challenge factor), and apparently, I need to only golf 9 holes the rest of my golf career, which seems like THAT might get shorter and shorter every time I shoot in the 60s. I seriously loathe this game sometimes. Unfortunately, I play with really awesome and fun people who keep me coming back (I think it helps THEIR esteem). Grumble grumble… stupid awesome friends and their funfulness…grumble grumble.

Top 5 things about Hiawatha Golf Club
1. Decent course design, especially dog-legs
2. It’s pretty cheap to golf here
3. Some of the holes seem short for par 4s and par 5s. Makes you feel like a crusher… Then you 5-putt and want to see how many pieces you can break your putter into
4. The weather was beautiful - I know it has nothing to do with the course, but I had to put in something nice as I was reliving my awful back 9
5. Very nice tree-lined fairways make for beautiful views from the tee

Bottom 5 things
1. I’ve got to be in the bottom 3 percentile of golfers in the world – sadly if I wasn’t going to fail my statistics midterm because of golfing, you could trust that statistic.
2. Am I REALLY that old that I can only handle 9 holes of golf?
3. The course was amazingly bumpy to drive over – like Moon Patrol
4. Enough par 5s to cause alarm
5. Greens and ponds could have been in better condition

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