I have never been adverse to playing golf as a single. . .until the last three times out. Normally, I enjoy meeting people and have actually made some lifelong friendships on the first tee, but as luck would have it, my regular golfing partners have been quitting the game or dropping out temporarily for health reasons. I’ve been relegated to playing as a single this season and the experience is driving me nuts.
It started three weeks ago on Easter Sunday. Who golfs on Easter? Nobody, right? I figured church in the morning and a tee time right after noon on a wide open course – perfect. I showed up for my 12:06 and there were ten foursomes right in front of me playing a self-organized tournament and putting everything out. The single I got paired with was nice company but it took nearly three hours to play the front nine. He dropped out after nine and I was hardly thrilled at the prospect of following this rolling roadblock, but fortunately a threesome zipped down to the 10th tee and joined me. These three guys were hitting it all over the lot, but they kept moving which suited me fine. Round one in the books but it gets more bizarre.
Two weeks ago, at a different track, Seargant Solo was out again with a noon time. The starter paired me up with a guy and a girl in a cart and as I rolled down to the tee I noticed they only had one set of clubs. I introduced myself and the guy tells me his girlfriend has never played and was just was riding along and would hit a few shots from time to time. Then he invited me to “go ahead of them because they just wanted to lay back, relax, and drink a few beers.” It was 80 degrees, the sun was shining, and the course was packed with foursomes. I’m thinking, “Dude, you just don’t get it,” but I didn’t say anything. Then two more fellows rolled down and joined making us a happy five-some. So we played two holes uneventfully and the guy even fist bumps me after I sink a putt on #2 green. I’m thinking, “Okay, this isn’t that bad.” Then on the par-5 third, the other two guys and I hit our tee shots but the thirsty couple just sat in their cart chatting. We took off up the fairway and hit our second shots and noticed these two were still on the lady’s tee fiddling around while the foursome behind them were standing on the regular tee. He wasn’t kidding about laying back. They must have yelled at them because they came rushing back up to join us. We finished the front with just the guy hitting shots.
After three holes on the back, this twosome just got in their cart and rode off while we were putting out. They didn’t say good bye and were never to be seen again. Turns out they had polished off a twelve pack and a fifth of whiskey in the 12 holes. I was left to wonder who was their designated driver, the last person standing? It gets worse.
Single-Seat Sombrero had a 12:33 time last Sunday and was pared up with a threesome. I showed up only to find out it was U.S. Kids tournament day at the course. There were kids already on the course and the nine-holers were scheduled to go off the back nine from 2-4 p.m. Before I even left the golf shop, the pro was offering me a rain check because I might get blocked out trying to make the turn. I’m wondering why they didn’t call me or post this on the website, and I asked if I could play the front twice and he said they’d try to fit me in. Well it was 12:05 and I was ready to go and they were not running with a starter for some inexplicable reason, so I just jumped on the tee, ripped a shot and headed off by myself on foot. Soon a single in a cart was pushing me from behind, but never got close enough to join me. I felt rushed and started to miss shots and get frustrated. On the par-4 fourth hole, I was in the fairway off the tee and couldn’t see the flag stick because the last kids group had forgot to replace it. I tried to hit a ball on the center of the green and pull hooked it badly. Now I was seething. On #7 I realized I was playing so fast that if I kept my pace, I could beat the first kids group off #10 at 2:00 p.m, and proceeded to do just that. On #15 I was still feeling rushed and blew a tee shot way right. At that point, I finally caught up to the last kids tournament group and the guy in the cart caught me and I asked him to join. Funny, but as soon as he joined, I slowed way down and didn’t miss a shot the rest of the way in. It’s weird how a nice measured pace will help your game, but I was very disheartened by the whole experience.
So what’s next? I realize this charade has to end. I need to get out and play with good players on a regular basis. No more solitary Sundays for me, I’m joining a club next weekend. The course is Blue Mash in Laytonsville, MD. More to come; stay tuned!