Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Okla... Homa.... Okla... Homa...

Brand new state, gonna treat you great!
Gonna give you barley, carrots and potayters,

Pasture fer the cattle,
Spinach and tomayters!

What can I say, I’ve always enjoyed that musical.

Well I added another state to my list. Sort of. I only finished 15 holes before the sun was replaced by the bugs. However, since that’s enough to post a round, I guess I can count it, too. It’s the first time I’ve had to “par plus” out a round in order to get a postable score. It’s fun to always be experiencing new firsts. So to add one to the list at Eat Golf: the good thing about golf is there will always be another first. Whether it’s first ace, first one night stand with a caddie or cart girl, or first ricochet off the tree and into the cart bag, there’s always something new to experience in golf. But back to where the waving wheat can sure smell sweet

The folks at the hotel gave me directions to a city course that was recommended to me. It was so cute – I asked how long the drive would take and the woman said “Oh, if you leave right now it’ll be about 10 minutes, but if you wait much longer, traffic will start piling up and it’ll be closer to 15 minutes!” I think she took the stunned look on my face as agreement that 15 minutes would be a horror, because she nodded at me as if to say “I know.” I thanked her and headed up to my room to change, taking the big risk of the 5 minute traffic delay.

I played the North course at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City. The lake is a lot bigger than I imagined, and the course really is right by it, which offers some nice views. I paired up with a guy who gave me the opportunity to be the patient one in the twosome. He was a shipbuilder from Memphis in town working on a project with a friend. He was trying to play as much golf as possible to improve his game for when he played with his girlfriend the next time, who has been mopping up the courses with him. Or should that be mowing? He had only been playing for about 9 months, but he was already tired of embarrassing himself. I remember when I was a fresh, wide-eyed beginner like that … about four months ago. It’s a funny cycle, though: the further I get from being a beginner, the fewer embarrassing moments I have, but the more embarrassing those moments are since I’m further from being a beginner. In fact, I no longer even feel compelled to mention how long I've been golfing. When I hack, I just hack.

So, over 15 holes I shot a 79 and when I par-plus out the round using my handicap on the last three holes, I ended up with a 95, which plays exactly to my handicap for this course. How do they do that?!?! Sometimes math creeps me out.

Lake Hefner North Course #9

Here’s a shot from the 492 yard par 5 #9 tee box (I played the white tees). I played a great drive chopping off a little of the corner around the dogleg to the right. My playing partner tried the same thing after seeing my result and ended up in the water to the right and over the trees. He really struggled here – must have been in the double digits – and ended his round after nine. I took a par and thought I might actually get in all 18 playing on my own the rest of the round. A single on #10 let me play through and I really thought I was on my way. My roll was over when I caught up to a relaxed twosome (threesome if you count their friend Jack Daniels) that insisted I join up with them at #12. I played four loooonnnnnng holes with them as the sun completely disappeared and I lost my chance to complete my round.

**Side note: Guys, if this happens to you, if you’re going to offer to have someone join you, PLEASE also give them the option of playing through. Especially if it’s late, there’s no one in front of you and you are playing by your own rules anyway. If she wants your company, she’ll join up. Also, don’t add insult to insult by acting rejected if she misses a putt after you tell her you’ll buy her a steak dinner if she makes it. This suggests that she missed on purpose - as if!!! Unless she’s Ado Annie, she’s probably just better at rejecting someone directly than she is at putting.**

Anyway, these guys went on to play #16 in the dark, heading further away from the clubhouse and civilization and I politely declined to continue on with them. Many a new day will dawn, many a red sun will set, many a blue moon will shine before I do.

I intended to try to play the back nine or a different course the following evening, but the wind was steady at about 40 mph with gusts of 50-60. No thanks. Then I was going to sneak in an early morning round before my flight the next day and again the weather didn’t cooperate. I’m glad I got in the 15 holes when I did. I hadn’t planned on being able to play that day at all!

I'm told there are a lot of pro golfers from Oklahoma and that golf is really big in the state. So I guess I just scratched the surface of what OK has to offer by visiting the closest municipal course. Maybe I'll make it back and try out another segment.Overall, I'd say my golf experience there, like Oklahoma itself, was OK!

Oklahoma City National Memorial

The last time I was in Oklahoma, a couple months back, I chose to visit the bombing memorial instead of playing golf. The federal building had been right downtown, and the memorial encompasses the entire area where it used to stand. The city is so quiet. I was able to drive right up to it without any confusing downtown-like chaos and easily found a parking place on the street right in front of it. The design is well thought out and executed. I didn't get a chance to see the museum exhibits because it was closed by the time I got there.

Below are some photos I took of the outdoor symbolic memorial. There are two gates - one that says "9:01" which represents the time of innocence, and one that says "9:03" which was the minute after the bombing. They are at opposite ends of where the building used to be, and in between is the reflecting pool, flanked by the "field of empty chairs" on one side and the survivor tree, rescuers' orchard and children's area on the other. In the field of empty chairs, there is one chair for each person who died in the blast, organized by where they were in or outside of the building when it happened. At night, the whole place is lit beautifully including the translucent chair bases. Unfortunately, my nighttime photos didn't turn out so great.

For more information on the memorial, visit http://www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/index.htm.

Next post.


Dave said...

A fitting memorial to those who fell. I hope NYC can do half as well.

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to visit that memorial.
Now, I want to make that trip a lot sooner and I will try to spend some extra time to remember all of those that are no longer here. Thanks for the wonderful photos.