Monday, March 06, 2006

Number of States Golfed: 13

That's right; I now have my own "thirteen original colonies." Okay, golf states. Kansas? Check.

Warning: Extremely long post. You can always read some now and come back later for the rest.

Last week, my work took me to Kansas City and, having checked the weather report before leaving, I took my golf clubs. While I was working, the temperatures during the day were in the high 70’s. I think it even reached 80. The day I was leaving was just a “travel day” for me, so I booked an afternoon flight and planned on golfing in the morning before I left. The course I chose is called “Dub’s Dread Golf Club” and is, reportedly, a local favorite. Part of my reasoning was also its relatively close proximity to the airport. I booked the 3:54 p.m. flight but hoped to play early enough to catch the 12:52 on stand-by.

How "dread"ful is this?

I called them the afternoon before to make sure they didn’t have any tournaments planned and to make sure I’d be able to get out. After finding out they didn’t, the conversation went something like this:

“Do you make tee-times for singles or should I just come down and get on the list?”

“What time are you planning on getting here?”


“Well, there won’t be much for you to do since we don’t open until 8:15.”

(Hang on, the sun comes up at 7… what’s all this about business hours? Toto… I don’t think we’re in California anymore.)

“Oh… ha ha… so how does it look?”

“Oh, fine, just come down and I’ll get you out.”

(Wondering if that gives me time to make my flight) “What can I expect the pace of play to be?”

“However you set it. You’ll be the first one out – I don’t have a reservation until 8:45.”

Toto, I’m definitely not in California anymore.

Best Laid Plans

Now, even in my priority frequent flier check-in and security lines, I have to check a bag because of my golf clubs so I know I have to be there at least 45 minutes before my flight because of TSA regulations. My Google map route tells me it’ll take 31 minutes to get to the airport and I figured about 20 minutes to gas up my rental car, return it and get to the terminal. So to make a 12:52 flight I have to leave the golf course by 12:01 at the latest. This means I have to finish golfing by about 11:45 in order to re-pack my clubs in the travel bag, get organized and get out of there. And this is all as tight as I can possibly make it, which is why I wanted to get out at 7:00. No problem, right? Playing as a single with no one in front of me, even as bad as I’ve been playing lately, I’m figuring 3 hours TOPS. This scenario gives me 3 and a half. Perfect.

Getting there

I left my hotel a few minutes later than I planned, with an estimated arrival of 8:00. Google maps had the directions right, but they didn’t tell me the street wasn’t well marked and in fact didn’t even look like a street. I called after getting lost and the pro told me to look for a particular church on a corner and turn left after that (but be careful not to miss it, because it’s not well marked – no kidding). Well, I didn’t arrive until 8:30 and now I’m really pushing my time limit. I decided to ride in order to save time, and then he told me it was cart path only. It probably would have been quicker to just walk the whole course. Then I knew I would have to try not to play cart path golf when I’m going to be rushing anyway. It didn’t bode well for my early flight or my round.

Weather conditions

I packed my golf attire according to what weather.com told me it would be like on golf day. While it wasn’t supposed to be high 70’s like the previous days, it was supposed to be mid-to-low-60s. I play in weather like that here all the time. No big deal. I wore a long sleeve shirt under a regular golf shirt and long pants. Luckily, I had a light windbreaker in my bag as well, because it was high 40’s with a freezing wind! It was especially bad on the first and tenth tees where there’s no shield at all. No time to hit balls (I didn’t notice if they even had a range, but I’m assuming they did), I ran circles around my cart just to try to get a little warmer. I was shivering and shaking (what a California wuss).

First Impressions

So that's what they call “dormant” grass. I think Greg has mentioned it once or twice because some of the courses out here use it in certain areas, but other than that, I knew nothing about it. From what I can tell, it’s really just grass that is temporarily dead. Dead, nonetheless. Totally different feel than regular grass. If it's dead, say it's dead!

Instead of greens, they should call them "browns."

All things considered, I didn’t start off too badly, and took a bogey on the first hole, a par 5. It got worse on the next hole, where I took a 7 and my first 3-putt of the day. The next hole was even worse than that. I’m a bad judge of distance and my drive got lost in the mud on the other side of the lateral water (mud creek) hazard that bisects the fairway. I dropped and hit my third from a bad lie and my ball hit the muddy side of the hill and didn’t roll much after that. I hit again and it ended up down near the teebox at the next hole. I chipped up from there thinking it would be in a pretty good position on the green but the bunker I didn’t know was there had other plans. My next shot put it on the green, where I proceeded to 3-putt for a nine. A NINE… on a 320 yard hole!!! I’m laughing at myself and taking in all the unusual-for-me scenery and course conditions, but thinking I’ve got to settle down… I can still salvage this round. Somehow, I managed to get my ONLY par of the day on the very next hole with my ONLY green in regulation of the day on a silly 143 yard par-3. It was all carry over water, but still... only 143. The rest of the round was all bogeys and doubles and even one more triple. Sure I was cold and hurrying and marveling at the dried out duck poop and yellow grass while trying to figure out where the holes went, cursing the cart path only rule all the way, but this is just how I’ve been playing lately, excuses or not.

This is another par-3, the 150-yard 11th hole. It's more uphill than it looks in this picture. After putting one in the water, I landed the next about 15 feet above the hole and two-putted on a really steep green. No GIR and no par for my stats, but it felt good anyway. Tough hole.


I hit 9 out of 14 fairways but only one GIR. I came within feet (and even inches) of 10 of them, but this isn’t horseshoes or hand-grenades. I had:
Four one-putts. None of those were great accomplishments; they were made possible by close chips from just off the green. When I wasn’t that close to the pin, I had:
Eight 2-putts
Five 3-putts and
One 4-putt!

If I just looked at my total number (39) putts, it might not look so bad. But clearly, my current problems are the approach shots and putting.

I ended up with a 104 and had to adjust that 9 to a 7 for equitable stroke control to post an adjusted 102. I don't know who the original "Dub" was from Dub's Dread, but I dubbed myself "Dub" after this round. However, this was just one of a series of 100+ rounds I’ve put up lately in my current slump. When I was playing my best, I had been practicing a lot at my neighborhood 9-hole par three course and was really confident with most of my irons. Somehow, I don’t get the same results from hitting at the range, and I hate mats! Putting has always been a struggle for me, and I've already started a practice regimen for that. (I even got in my practice session in Kansas City, the evening before my round at a place called All Golf.) At least now I know what I need to do. It’s starting to stay lighter later so it’ll be a little easier to get that practice in, at least when I’m in town.


No, I didn’t make that earlier flight. By the time I finished, re-packed my clubs and drove away, it was noon. I had to wait at the airport for two and a half hours until I could board the plane for my scheduled flight. Why did I even try? I should have just relaxed and walked the round. It would have been warmer, too.

There were 3 or 4 of these signs on the road from the golf course out to the "highway." I guess the people who don't golf around there need the warning. The golfers surely know this already. I also counted 5 raccoons and 6 skunks along the road. Poor buggers can't read, I guess.
Next post.


Fred Hines said...

Just a couple of words about Dub's Dread. I grew up about 100 miles west of KC. Jug McSpaden was the original developer, I'm not sure whether he was the architect. He and Byron Nelson were known as the "Gold Dust Twins" back in the 30's and 40's. One of the highlights of my younger days was an exhibition at Dub's Dread which featured Jug and Byron against Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. I was about 18 and a reasonably good golfer at the time, but I had never seen a golf ball explode of the club like Jack's and Arnie's did. I can still remember the sound of the ball as it went by! However, that aside, Byron Nelson, who was probably in his late 50's impressed me the most. I have never seen a more fluid swing--think Sam Snead and Fred Couples and then think even smoother.
Anyway--thought you might be interested. Really enjoy your blog.

Greg said...

Yeah, hindsight... If there's possibility that you'll be cold, just walk.

My preferred method for finding my way has become maps.google.com using all of the map, hybrid, and satellite views.

I'm looking at getting a travel bag in the near future. Any recommendations? I've been looking at the golfgaurd hard case.

Sorry you've been having a streak of bad rounds. Sounds like you need to find a tournament to turn your game back on :)


NothingMan said...

I've played in 2 states, but only because I live near a border :-/

Other than that, still reading... :-P

Golfchick said...

All things considered, I did like the course and would love another crack at it when I'm playing better, and maybe in the summer when the grass is green. It definitely wins the award for "coolest named golf course" I've ever played.
Great story, thanks for posting it and for reading!

Google maps is the best. ("True that, double true!" - from an SNL short that's my favorite funny thing lately: http://www.devilducky.com/media/39845/ - I watch it about once a week and crack up.)

As for travel cases, I bought one of those hard cases that the top locks on and when it comes off it's a regular golf bag, but it's a little tight and I'm too lazy to switch out my clubs so often. I have borrowed Greg's about the last 10 times and it works fine. It's just a soft cover with padding that zips around your whole bag. I think it was only about $50 and it's easy to wheel around. I do worry that it won't be enough protection but so far, no problems. I've been thinking about getting a Club Glove like the pros use if I'm going to keep traveling so much.

I've got a tournament this weekend if it doesn't get rained out. Three weeks ago was my last one and that was my last sub-100 round (94). We'll see!

How about counting counties? :) Sorry to interrupt if you're still reading.


GolfNomad said...

Kristen, are you in the consulting business? Your travels remind me of one of my friends who worked at D&T.

Golfchick said...

Nope. Sales/training.

fransgolf said...

Sounds like you had a couple of problems at Dub's. Time limit and a new course. Since you had to be at the Airport by noon as soon as you got lost and arrived at the course late you had ruined your round. Hindsight you should have forgoten the 12:45 flight and then gone to the range to forget the trip to the course. In addition not knowing the course only added to your difficulties.

Golfchick said...

Going to the range AFTER would have been a great idea, and one I never thought of.
You are so right! Lesson learned (I hope)!



Dormant actually works great as a playing surface. The difference between dead and dormant is that dead wont grow at all, dormant is just usually just not overseeded with grass, but is otherwise perfectly alive, just reflecting the change in weather conditions by becoming a little thinner and drier. A good example is desert courses in Scottsdale in the winter...for example We-ko-pa and Talking Stick (North). Sawgrass also looks that way in January and is a joy to play then because it plays the way Dye originally wanted it...fast and firm...but also because noone is on the course and the price plummets below $160.

Dubsdread is also the name of both the course at Cog Hill where the Western Open is played and another course in scotland.

Give dormant a few more tries...out east in the spring perhaps. Its actually fun for injecting strategy into the game.

Golfchick said...

A walk in the park:

Thanks for the schooling. There's so much to learn in this game. Speaking of learning, I'm still struggling with trying to get the ball to go where I want it (aren't we all?). My point is, I might not be ready for dormant grass strategy. I'm sure I'll try it again, though, whether I like it or not. :)

Thanks for reading and posting!



Glad to hear you'll try it again. I had dormant conditions AND a snowstorm to deal with at Black Mesa yesterday...65 in the morning in New Mexico, 32 at days end. AT least now I can say I survived playing in snow.

Be glad to trade links w/ you.


Golfchick said...

Golf in snow? Did you use a colored ball?

Sure I'll trade links with you. Do you want the one I found when I clicked on your profile from this post? (http://jayflemma.blogspot.com/)



yes, that address is right. If you like, you can also put up www.golfobserver.com. That has shackelford and I and Frank Hannigan and Sal Johnson and Jeff Mingay, and co. Great site for articles and golf news.

The snow fell in flurries, but melted on impact. Snowed from holes 6-10, then the cold front moved in. BUt Kristen, you must get to New mexico and play paako ridge and black mesa...they are great designs. It would make a great golf vaca for you...two days each place and one more somewhere else for a change of pace.

Golfchick said...

Thanks Jay. They're both up now.

I have so many places on my golf vacation list, and I'll keep those in mind, too. So many places, so little time. If only I could make a living at it! :)



Your link is up...I have a cool little feature where if you put the cursor on your link, a hidden message appears...check out yours!

Honestly though Kristen...put these three at the TOP of your list, they are unforgettable...Colorado (do the Jim Engh courses), Paako Ridge and Black Mesa in New Mexico and Bandon Dunes in Oregon.

Hit any one of those and you'll ve starstruck.

Golfchick said...

Cute hidden message! I didn't even design that logo. Bogeyman did it for a post he wrote about me. I hope that's not the best part of my site for you! :)

Oh, Bandon Dunes is already near the top of my list and will probably be the next one I'll realistically get to!

Thanks for the recommendations.



Good job Bogeyman! You stick with him, he's a great guy. He's one of the old guard...been in the golf blog world since very early and always is classy and funny.