My friend George has a good mind. He wouldn’t let this entire golf season go by without us getting out there for a round. The bridge between summer and fall turned out to be perfect, he with the boys back to school and me with a mid-week morning I could free up from freelance and blogging duties.
Olde Oak, a sturdy layout tucked away only a few miles from Green Lakes State Park’s much more storied 18 holes, had a 9:12 a.m. tee time for two and a great with-cart fee of $22.
George had never been to this family-owned course in Kirkville that for many decades had gone by the name Town Isle until the Grygiel’s decided a change was in order, but his GPS got him there a moment or two before me.
Hover over any gallery photo for a description. Click on the bottom right photo in any gallery for an enlarged slide show.
There was a foursome ahead of us on the first tee, but no matter, what with the sky a vivid blue and the air warming from the overnight 50s F.
This George — not to be confused with my darling daughter Elisabeth’s terrific boyfriend George Three nor his father George Two, both of whom I’ve introduced to you here before in golfing posts and other blog tales — was a former colleague of mine at the big daily. We’ve hit the links previously with KP and Tater, but this was our first solo venture.
This gave us plenty of cart time to catch up. His sons are doing well, not exactly following in his footsteps in avidness in following the Yankees and Packers, but enjoying trips to live events. I was touched by how the American Hockey League franchise up the road, the Utica Comets, responded to an emergency surgery needed by George’s niece, a fan of that team along with her father, George’s brother. In fact, George and his sons still like our Syracuse Crunch games here, but have their hearts with the Utica squad as well because of their affection and goodwill toward their relatives up the Thruway. George’s job at SMG, where he works with my dear wife Karen, has taken an interesting twist. He goes in to work newsroom editing chores at 3 p.m. At dinner time, he goes home, and then his bosses allow him to finish his shift from his computer at home. Nice!
George hit some of his putts with a vintage, hickory-shafter putter he’d salvaged from the golf bag of a favorite uncle. After his uncle had passed, relatives were donating the clubs to charity. George asked if he could have this one in memory, and he still uses it in tribute.
It has a 7-degree loft to the blade, so he likes it for longer putts, especially from the fringe.
It was a satisfying round. As we came up the ninth fairway, the guy from behind the counter scooted toward us on a cart. He apologized for letting the foursome in front ahead of us without a tee time, and said they would allow us to play through on the 10th tee because the entire back nine was empty in front of them.
Indeed, it was.
Funny thing, though. After I’d scored lower than George by a handful of shots on the first nine holes, he beat me by some on the second nine. He must play better at a faster pace than I do. Or, he wore me down, youngster that he is. George turned 50 this year. Happy Birthday, my friend.
In any case, I’m ready for October golf. The leaves have yet to turn and begin to fall, odd for this time of year in Central New York. November, anybody? December! Ah, how fanciful. Frost on the greens could be any time now.
Have you ever hit a golf ball with a hickory-shafted club, and if so, what did it feel like? Do you play sports better slow or fast? Which is your favorite photo, and why?