When the best pros in the world are swinging their sticks in Augusta, Ga., for the Masters, KP, Tater and I always have the itch to be playing golf in Syracuse.
Not this year. Not on any of our courses. Yes, the snow has melted, finally, after our 118 1/2 inches for the season. But with a lot of rain here since they teed it off Thursday down there at Augusta National to go along with the big melt, well, we’re left with muck.
KP had the week off from the big daily nonetheless, so he suggested a trip 25 miles across the New York State Thruway to the domed range at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona.
We each paid for a half hour of range time under their air-supported bubble. That $9 (seniors rate) buys you as many balls as you can hit in 30 minuters. KP and Tater were given adjacent slots with artificial turf and rubber tees, while I was three down to the right.
There’s no doubt that Tater was pleased to be swinging the club, even indoors.
KP and I were happy to be swinging for the first time since Veterans Day, sure, but not quite as radiant as Tater.
We all decided that loosening up was great, but not enough. We’d work on our mechanics, yes, in preparation for that first time outside on a real course.
KP said he’s going to attack the ball with more speed and power this year. Tater said … well, I don’t remember what he said he’s going to work on. I said I’m going to work on my ball positioning. Now I see that those two appear way more balanced in their swing than I do, so I’m going to focus on less over-swinging.
After the range work, we had a putting contest on the surprisingly realistic and grainy artificial grass green. Then the pro, Marty Nowicki, brought a class of 10 or so to that little spot, and we lost our space. Tater was up by three strokes after six holes because he jarred three long putts that rammed into the flagstick and dropped in rather than bouncing out into the flock of putting students.
We were done with the dome, but not with golf. Across the road from Turning Stone, we turned into the Recovery Lounge, trying out the Sports Pub with the catchy name. It was filled with televisions on which we enjoyed watching ESPN’s coverage of the first round of the Masters as we talked of life and shared a large order of nachos and 15 chicken wings with medium Buffalo blue sauce.
One thing we agreed upon: This Thursday, if the long-range forecast of 68º F and sunny holds, we’ll try for outdoor round No. 1, using the free coupon for Kanon Valley we each picked up at the Golf Show at the end of February.
Have you played golf or done anything equivalent outdoors yet this spring, and if so, how was the grounds? When do you usually plan your first big outdoor event of the season, and what is it? Who do you want to win the Master tournament, and why?