Ty! What’d you shoot today?
Oh, I don’t keep score, Judge.
Oh well, how do you measure yourself with other golfers?
By height.

Yep, first round of golf in something like 11 years, and only second round in 15 years.

It went about as you would expect. I picked my ball up on three holes, so I did not finish with an official score. It would have been well above 100 had I completed my scorecard, though. Hell, it was above 100 anyway.

I was the tallest member of our foursome, though.

We played at the Montclair Golf Club in Montclair, NJ. They have four nine-hole loops you can choose from, based on how busy each one is. Our host, K, is a member and he hooked us up with caddies and a fourth that he plays with often. K and the fourth are both really solid players and spent much of their rounds well away from me.

I was busy blasting it from side-to-side, duck hooking on one hole, power slicing on the next. Or taking four shots to chip onto the green from about 25 feet.[1] I was playing with loaner clubs,[2] but let’s be honest: they could have put me in thousands of dollars worth of gear and it would not have mattered.

I did have a few highlights. My caddy was kind of a dud, but the guy who was doubling up on K and the 4th’s bags was a green-reading savant. He had a lilting Caribbean accent and braids halfway down his back. He was also about 5’7” so looked kind of silly with bags slung over both arms. But he knew those greens. As each player lined up a putt, he’d grab the flag, point at a spot to aim at, and give you a speed. On the fourth hole I had a 35-foot putt that had a big left-to-right break in it. He pointed at a dead spot well away from the line I would have chosen and told me to hit it firm. Moments later the longest putt I’ve ever hit rolled into the cup. I pumped my fist, my playing partners cheered me, and then pointed at the caddy. “Nice read!” He threw his arms up in the air and said, “THAT’S WHAT I DO!!!”

Good times.

I also hit a 25’ putt and left three putts that were between 20–40 feet less than two inches from the hole. All credit to the caddy, although I was rolling it ok.

The rest of my clubs though…yeeeesh. I did go to a local driving range twice last week to hit real balls instead of the practice balls L and I had been hitting in the yard. Thursday I felt really good about my swing. But, of course, as a high handicapper who hadn’t played in over a decade, there’s a big difference between hitting ball after ball from a mat and getting into a rhythm vs. going out to a nice course that has lots of rough, elevation changes, etc.

Back when I played a fair amount of golf, I was notorious for hitting an absolutely terrible shot and then hitting a nice recovery shot. There were elements of that Sunday, although it often took 2–3 terrible shots before I could find the good shot.

My best hole was the fifth, a long par four that doglegs to the right. Instead of hitting a severe slice off the tee, I absolutely crushed a slight fade that went right at 300 yards and landed dead center in the fairway. It was on this hole that I rolled in my 25’ putt. However, in between my best drive of the day and that putt were four terrible shots.

Oh well.

I lost six or seven balls – I kind of lost track – most in an brutal stretch around the turn. My final lost ball of the was a big, majestic slice that easily cleared a stand of trees that protected a parkway that ran by the course. We all strained our ears and clearly heard my ball bouncing off pavement in the midst of traffic. Always drive quickly and carefully near golf courses, folks.

It was a gorgeous course, not terribly long but with lots of changes in elevation to challenge players on a normal day. Throw in ground that was completely saturated from all the recent rain in that area and the course was even more challenging. It was also a bitch to walk. My calves are still sore because each step meant your feet sank an inch or two into the soft turf. It was by far the nicest course I’ve ever played. Although that’s not really saying much as I specialized in crappy muni courses back when I used to play.

Regardless of the results, to was fun to get out and play again. I’m going to continue to hit balls for awhile and try to get my swing together, and then see if I can round up a friend or two to get out and play again before the fall season ends.

  1. In me defense from deep rough on a steep incline.  ↩
  2. Mid-range Callaways.  ↩