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Courses

The secret to playing bogey golf is getting rid of those doubles and triples. Here's some advice on staying out of trouble on your local course.

Featured Course:

Wood Forest Golf Club

Montgomery, Texas
Semi-private
Par: 72/71
Phone: (936) 588-8800
website

Front-Back
Tees Yards Rating Slope
Championship 6834 72.1 129
Tournament 6516 68.7 118
Members 6197 67.7 114
Ladies 5293 68.2 116


Back-West
Tees Yards Rating Slope
Championship 6953 73.1 130
Tournament 6632 69.5 121
Members 6308 68.4 119
Ladies 5249 69.1 120


West-Front
Tees Yards Rating Slope
Championship 6685 71.6 124
Tournament 6388 68.4 117
Members 6085 67.4 114
Ladies 5078 68.1 116

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Columns

This site is aimed at bogey golfers, which, face it, is most of us. It's not about instruction; rather it's about commiseration, philosophy, and getting by, with maybe a bit of humor thrown in for good measure.

Today's Featured Column:

Golfing during the time of the Coronavirus


The Covid-19 variety, anyway


I’ve never felt better.  Social distancing works!  Since the Covid-19 lockdown went into place, I haven’t had so much as a sniffle.   During the normal course of events, I might reasonably expect to suffer through any number of mild respiratory ailments, lasting from a day or two to a week or two.  But not this time around!  I imagine all the hand-washing and not touching my face helped too.

I wouldn’t expect to catch anything at the golf course anyway, since, well it’s a non-contact sport to begin with.  Yeah, I guess you could catch something in the clubhouse, but usually when people feel crappy they don’t want to play golf anyway.  Be that as it may, our golf courses, like many (most?) across the country were closed for a month.  When they re-opened, it was with most of the precautions they had started to put into place already, such as plugs in the holes so you don’t have to reach in to retrieve your ball, warnings not to pull the flag when putting, no rakes in the sand traps, only one rider per cart, yada, yada.

They’ve done away with tournaments with shotgun starts, so people aren’t clustering around the clubhouse at the start and end of the tournament.  For awhile, they had the clubhouse completely locked up, and  you had to check in via telephone.  They’ve also spaced start times by 12 minutes instead of the customary 8 (I guess to space foursomes out by 300 yards instead of just 200?).  This last part puzzles me because that hurts their revenue by a third.  They finally have started to run the refreshment cart again.

Golf on TV is either a) boring because no tour has been operating until now, or 2) thrilling because they’ve only been showing the most exciting rounds over the last 50 years.  You pick…  Did any of you watch the exhibition match with Tiger and Peyton Manning versus Phil and Tom Brady?  Good fun.  Peyton and Tom are actually pretty good (they got three a side from Tiger and Phil), and everybody talked trash.

As an old fat man, I realize that I’m in the targeted demographic for this disease.  83% of the fatalities from Covid 19 happen to people over 65.  And it’s male:female by about 60:40.  So I do want to be on the record as being grateful for everything the country has done to keep me alive.  In retrospect, giving everybody involved credit for having good intentions, I think the shutdown was the wrong thing to do.  More importantly, when the next “wave” of cases and fatalities comes around in the fall (which, while not inevitable, is certainly probable), we should NOT shut down again.  We know a lot more about this particular disease than we did when it first hit, and we can certainly apply those lessons to improve safety without shutting off all economic activity.  In particular:

1)      Schools should stay open.  Fatalities among children are pretty low, probably not much worse than ordinary flu.

2)      Old people are especially susceptible, so nursing homes are ground zero for fatalities, and extra care needs to be taken there (perhaps even lockdowns).

3)      Old people like me who are in our own homes can self isolate to our heart’s content, based on our overall health and disposition.

4)      Certain work environments have proven to be dangerous (like meat packing plants), where crowding drives contagion.  Whatever steps they’ve already taken there need to be continued, and improved upon if possible.

5)      Gatherings of large numbers of people indoors are problematic – go at your own risk!  Restaurants and bars are going to be more dangerous than golf courses, at least for people my age.  On the other hand, I don’t think it’s necessary to tell young healthy people to stay away, nor do I think it’s right to deny the various people in the hospitality industry the right to earn a living.

6)      Airlines and cruise ships have long been sources of conventional infections.  It would be nice if they can find more ways to improve hygiene.   But again, let the market decide.  Maybe us old folks don’t want to travel as much…

7)      Outdoor activities seem to be largely immune – especially where direct sunlight is involved.  I’m not sure I want to be in a football stadium with 80,000 people, but maybe that’s just me.  Certainly there’s no need to label your backyard family patio parties as a “protest” to pacify the local authorities.

8)      While “work at home” seems to be rapidly becoming a new normal, we need to remember that it’s only feasible for 50-60% of the workforce.  Lots and lots of jobs need to be done in person.

9)      Golf courses should (obviously) stay open!

Meanwhile, they’re still trying to total up all the damage that’s been done by the lockdown.  Not just the stock market, but lost jobs, adverse health outcomes from the medical profession being shut down from elective procedures, domestic violence, homelessness, depression/despair, lost businesses, civil liberties violations, … the list goes on.

Can’t everything go back to normal once a vaccine is developed?  Maybe.  “Corona virus” is a generic term for a class of virus that’s been around forever.  Think “common cold”.  We haven’t found a cure for that yet.  But, who knows?  The world is spending a gazillion dollars on research, and maybe we’ll be successful.  Looking back, the Spanish Flu from 1918 lasted ten years.  Polio was around for a long time before a vaccine was developed.  They were successful at finding a vaccine for the Hong Kong flu in 1968.  Unfortunately, it was released despite some adverse neurological effects in field trials which showed up in the general population.  So maybe…  And remember:  It’s really hard to make a million of anything.  And there’s north of 300 million people just in this country.  It might take a while.

In the meantime, life needs to go on.   Those of us who are perhaps more susceptible need to take more precautions.  But I’ve come to the sad realization that I can’t ask the whole country to shut down just to keep me alive.

 

Background photo: The par three twelfth, at Cherry Hills, Englewood, CO

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