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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's Spring! That Means Tourneys, Tourneys, and More Tourneys!

The Links at Stoney Point, Greenwood, SC
Signs of spring: Two weeks ago the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association held it's season-opening Spring Fling Tournament.  Lexi Thompson has taken the traditional winner's leap into Poppy's Pond and Michelle Wie has danced the victorious hula at Ko Olina.  Last week it was the first Interclub Tournament of the year at Greenwood Country Club.  This week is was the first Sandlapper's Tournament of the year at the Links at Stoney Point.  And in less than three weeks the Symetra Tour will be in town.  We girls are swinging our sticks with renewed vigor at every level of the game.  I'm positively awash in golf pleasure!

No more winter outfits for
a few months!
It's been a long, cold, dreary winter but the days of digging out my smart wool and Under Armour, of stuffing a Hot Hands in my pants pocket, of enduring frost delays and surviving rounds of winter golf are ended.  The grass is coming out of its dormant winter sleep and my trusty flop shot has a proper launching pad again.  We've put away our cold weather golfing outfits.

I'm playing in shorts.  I'm getting a little bit sweaty.  Golf is simply glorious right now.  I know I'l be mopping my brow and drying off my grips in a couple of months, but April and May are perfect for golfing, even though my golf game is far from perfect, or even where I believe it can be.

I'm still struggling with my shoulder or, more accurately, with how my fears about my shoulder are impacting my game.  My memory of the excruciating pain that accompanied every golf swing lingers and even though that stabbing pain has been eclipsed by the dull ache of healing muscles, I'm finding it difficult to replace old (bad) habits with new (good) follow through.  Maintaining the momentum of my swing is requiring conscious effort.

And I'm still adjusting to the reality of less strength.  While I rehab I simply need more club to get where I want to go.  When I remember that and pull out my 7-iron instead of my 8-iron, I'm on the green in three and playing bogey golf.  When I forget . . . well, the numbers on my scorecard get bigger.

All that aside, I finished my round satisfied that I'd wielded my sticks properly.  I stayed in the short grass off the tee, navigated the water hazards successfully, extricated my ball from the sand, and executed some approach shots that left me with fairly easy up and downs and left me smiling as I walked off the green.  And to top off my day, I thoroughly enjoyed the company of my foursome, sharing a few hours with three women I'd not known when we teed off but whom I came to know and like as we played our way through 18 holes of golf.

Shirley and I found each other at the leaderboard yesterday after lunch, comparing our games to others' and generally chatting about the condition of the course.  We agreed that Stoney Point is looking like a golf course that's going to host a pro event in a couple of weeks -- the grounds are lovely, the fairways are greening up, the rough is getting properly rougher.  But then, what about all those negative numbers on the board?  (Unlike stroke play, when negative numbers are good, when tournament scores are based on the Stableford system, negative numbers are bad.  This arcane scoring variation's probably interesting only to golfers.)

Stoney Point's a challenging venue, to be sure, but Shirley and I agreed that everyone in our foursomes had trouble with the greens.  They were lumpy and bumpy.  There were bare spots and rough spots.  How in the world, we wondered, are they going to get those greens ready for the SRH Foundation Women's Health Classic?  They will, of course, be ready because golf course superintendents are miracle workers who have the capacity to make their grasses behave.

Perhaps I'll be able to lure Andrew Macke out for a round at Stoney Point next week, just to check out the progress on those greens!