Monday, June 11, 2012

Golf with your friends!

My view, for most of the afternoon
"Golf is a good walk spoiled" - Somebody, a long time ago (but probably not Mark Twain)

There are a lot of good things about the game of golf. There's fresh air and exercise. There's camaraderie. You get to hit something smaller than you. My friend Marc, who is riotously funny, has been wanting to get together and play golf for some time, so yesterday that's what we did. Kind of.
I left my house at noon to meet him and his two sons at a golf course in Lutz, which is north of Tampa a ways, at one. That's PM, as in the middle of the day. In Florida, In June. Have you ever felt heat radiating up from the earth that's as intense as what's coming down at you from an enormous midday sun, as though the ground you're walking on is saturated with heat and overflowing with it? I felt that just walking from my apartment to my truck. That was my first indication of what I was in for.
I got out to the Lutz Executive Golf Center, which is not nearly as high falutin' as the name makes it sound. It's a lovely little nine hole, par three course with lots of hills and plenty of small ponds. The neighborhood around it is another story. The winding road that leads from the main drag to the course is dotted with mansions surrounded by high, wrought iron fences with gates that open and close via call box. The message they're sending is "Look at my house. Look at it!! Gaze upon the opulence...from out there, though, you schlub." Apparently rich people live in Lutz. I couldn't help laughing out loud when I passed a gated sub-community called Wellington Manor. There's no possible way to live in a place called Wellington Manor and be a completely insufferable assface of a snob. If you're not one when you move in, you'll morph into one soon after. Such is the power of a name like Wellington Manor. But the course is very nice, as is the man who was working at the pro shop. I asked him how much cart rental was and he said, "we don't have riding carts; it's only about 1,000 yards."
Settle down; golf course guy is not impressed.

Marc and his boys got there shortly after I did and we warmed up by hitting some balls on the driving range. Actually, we were more than warmed by simply standing outside. Because it was so hot, you see (I feel like I can't make that too clear). I hadn't played golf in at least eight years but after a few practice shots, I thought I felt good enough. We headed to the first tee and I suddenly thought I should stop at the pro shop and get some water to take with me. "No problem, I got it", Marc said and handed me a bottle. I put it in one of my bag's pockets and off we went.
First hole, I carded a five. All things considered, not bad. Second hole, my score was a H. Uh-oh...that can't be right. I was feeling dizzy and disoriented. Did I mention it was hot out there? Because it really, really was. I went to drink some water but the pocket was empty. It had fallen off somewhere along the first two holes. Double uh-oh. Marc gave me another one and I drank half and carried the bottle in my hand. I said, "I think I'm going to skip this hole. I'll walk with you but I'm not going to play." When they finished the third hole, I said, "Dude, I think I'm done. I am gassed." Marc, who is of the Jewish faith said, "dude, don't say 'gassed'". I finished the water but I realized I wasn't sweating. When it's hot outside (which it was, in case you haven't been paying attention), what's worse than being a completely disgusting, smelly, horrible sweaty mess is not sweating. That's overheating and a possible early indication of heatstroke and it's also something I've tried to convince some of you ladies of in non-golf related situations. Recognizing this, Marc directed me to a seat in the shade at the seventh hole tee box, where I waited for them as they played on. I was hoping a girl driving a snack cart would come by with some ice cold refreshment but a course that small doesn't have such a thing. At my heat-induced delirium worst, I think two girls did come along and ask if I wanted to play with them though...
The spot where I rested was nice and shady and between a soft breeze and occasional cloud cover, was actually very pleasant. I cooled off and relaxed and waited for Marc and the Boys, hoping they didn't get there TOO soon. When they showed up, Marc mentioned that I had made a wise choice as there was absolutely no shady rest areas on holes four through six. I walked with them to finish the round and we agreed to get together and do it again. I added the qualifier, "in January".
No doubt there are people with whom I grew up in the midwest who would say I've gotten soft. Of course, they're right. I've certainly lived down here long enough to be used to the heat by now. But in my defense, I hadn't been on a golf course since 2004 at least and it's entirely possible (likely) that I did not hydrate with the correct type of fluids the night before (if you know what I mean). Plus, if you don't live here, you don't know HOT!!

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