Utica The Links at Union Vale was open today, but the manager said there was still snow on the second nine, so Hacker (real name) and I drove to the Bronx and played Split Rock. Hacker paid nineteen dollars and change (senior rate) and I paid thirty-eight. It was 55 degrees and sunny, and the grass was growing. The course-maintenance crew was back at work. They weren’t mowing, but they were blowing sweet-gum seed pods off the cart paths and changing the hole locations. The first time my friends and I played Split Rock this year, back in January, the fairways and greens were frozen hard and we couldn’t get the flags out of some of the cups. But this morning the guy with the hole-cutter didn’t even have to lean hard to get it into the ground. By the time Hacker and I were ready to drive back to Connecticut–after cheeseburgers in the Pelham clubhouse–the course and the parking lot were full.
Sometimes, when we’re traveling with a big group and trying to save time, the first foursome to finish will order lunch for everyone. “Sixteen bacon cheeseburgers, medium, American, fries.” Or, if there’s a vegetarian playing that day, maybe hold the bacon on one of them.