For some dozen years now, my Tuesday nights in the warm months have been reserved for nine holes of golf with good friends.
Weather was beautiful at Northern Pines for week two of our informal little formal golf league.
In the beginning, four foursomes of workers at The Post-Standard newspaper hustled to arrive for tee times that started at 5 p.m. to get nine holes of golf in before the sun set.
Now two foursomes of golfers are involved. One golfer still works at the media group that came from the big daily. The rest of us are used-to’s, a mom and a friend.
The grounds have changed as well.
The little, homey quarters where golfers from two leagues — both nines uses at once, you see — used to cram inside afterward to drink a beer or eat a burger have been shuttered this season. Instead, everybody is welcomed to spacious new quarters, where a machine spits out free popcorn, and everybody can still partake in their favorites. This also is now a year-round operation. Come winter, four computer golf stations are set up inside the building, and leagues play.
The course itself seems to have improved greatly with new oversight this season, too.
The greens are running very true, and faster than ever. The fairways are thick, and the rough is pretty rough. I wish that reminders were given to regular players to fix their ballmarks on the greens, though. Already in week two, untended ball-holes were disgracing the smooth surfaces. All it takes is a little tool, a bend, a twist into the turf, and tap of the putter, to get nature fixing the problem herself.
We started at the 10th hole last night. It’s a short par-four, but the fairway is extremely narrow. I think it’s a frightening start to the round, with trees beckoning your ball to the left and the right.
The first two weeks, I’ve played with Bird, DJ and Morelli. It’s a co-ed league, and we’re bound to mix and match in other weeks. All four of us walk with a push cart, and the other four golfers prefer to ride in a cart, so this is how it’s shaken out so far. Scores are written down after each hole … if volunteered by the golfer. No records are kept.
Morelli is a steady player. She is consistently long and straight with her drives. She’s working to better her iron play. I’ve always enjoyed playing in the same foursome as Morelli. This is the first season that her father-in-law, Dave, has decided to skip the league, because of an increasingly ailing knee. We will miss Dave. He is a good man and a fun golf partner.
In seasons past, Commish had a connection to somebody who worked in the beverage business. He would donate prizes to the league, which would be distributed in a blind drawing. I came away with some pretty cool glasses. That hasn’t happened in a few seasons, though.
DJ and Bird are both very good players, and loads of fun to play golf with. DJ, in fact, is the best golfer in the league, although he will never boast or gloat about it. Once in a while, Bird will give him a run for best round. He will boast about those those days just a little bit, deservedly so. On opening week, Bird brought his Bluetooth speaker, attached it to his cart and hooked it to his phone, and played his music as we golfed. It was the first time I ever I notched pars to a soundtrack. Last night, he forgot the speaker.
Our little league stretches through August. It is a comforting feeling to know that no matter what, I will get nine holes of golf in every week of the summer. Unless it rains too hard, and the course or the Commish cancel. Then a week is added to the end, and we get some fall golf, too. We can’t go too far into September, though, or it will get too dark to finish nine holes.