Summer Begins: Longest-Day Marathon and Other Golf News

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The longest day of 2013 fell on a Friday—not a good day of the week to try to commandeer a golf course. The day before, my club had a senior outing—also not good. And the day before that was Ladies’ Day—ditto. So my friends and I conducted our second annual Summer Solstice Marathon three days early, on Tuesday, June 18. The idea was to play “from can to can’t”—from when you can see until you can’t. I set my alarm for 3:30, and six of us teed off a little before 5:00, when the first hole looked like this:

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It was still pretty dark when we got to the fifth tee:

P1070446On the sixth green, we ran into Gary, who had just cut a new hole for us, in a diabolical location:

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After eighteen holes, we went to the little cafe on our town’s green for breakfast burritos, apple fritters, and coffee, just like we did last year. I forgot to take my camera, so the picture below is from last year. The participants were pretty much the same, though, except that Bob G. didn’t show up until after lunch, David W. had broken a rib, Addison was playing in the state amateur, and we didn’t run into Mike A.’s mother. I think Mike was wearing the same shirt, though—for continuity.

That's Mike A. on the right and Mike A's mother on the left. She just happened to be there.

That’s Mike A. on the right and Mike A’s mother on the left. She doesn’t follow him around. She just happened to be there.

When we got back to the course, I hit what felt like a pretty good fairway wood, but the ball tailed off, and instead of going into the hole it went into Steve’s mower cart. Steve said I could play it from the cart, but I elected to take relief.

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After forty-five holes, we stopped for lunch—hot dogs and freezer-burned hamburgers from the kitchen fridge—and then went back out.

Young Nick, Kevin, Bob G.

Young Nick, Kevin, Bob G., post-lunch.

The weather forecast the night before had been decent, but when we got to our fiftieth hole we thought we heard thunder, and when we got to our fifty-second hole we were sure we did. The lightning horn in the golf shop blew, and we all humped back to the clubhouse. The rain and hail started a few minutes later, and pretty soon the first fairway and practice green looked like water hazards:

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I had left some socks and a pair of golf shoes on the roof of my car. Should I risk my life by running across the parking lot to get them? I decided I should. Then we all hung around on the clubhouse porch for half an hour or so, watching the gutters overflow:

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The rain came down so hard that Mike U. couldn’t get from the golf shop to the clubhouse. Here he is, stranded in the doorway:

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We ended up playing just half as many holes as we played last year. That was disappointing, but a few days later twenty-six guys showed up for Sunday Morning Group—very possibly a record. We choose teams by drawing numbered poker chips from a hat, and because we have only twenty-four chips we thought for a while that we might have to send two guys home. But then Hacker (real name) came up with a workaround. Here’s the group:

Sunday Morning Group, June 25, 2013.

Sunday Morning Group, June 25, 2013.

If you count the heads in the photo above, you’ll notice that there are twenty-seven, not twenty-six. The extra guy is Harry, who used to play with us all the time but now lives in another state, on account of his wife. He had played with Hacker the day before, but he broke his elbow a couple of years ago and can’t really swing anymore. On Sunday, he dropped by just to say so long before heading home. You can see the scar on his arm where they tried to put his elbow back together:

P1070494He has finally stopped smoking, though. So give him credit for that.

5 thoughts on “Summer Begins: Longest-Day Marathon and Other Golf News

  1. Played my own mini-marathon on Friday (none of my so-called “golf buddies” had the gumption). 18 holes at 5:00AM at Newton Commonwealth, my home course, 18 more at 9:30 at Butternut, my favorite course in Stow, MA and then a final 18 in Franklin Park in Boston. Even with two riding rounds, with 85 degree temperatures and 100% sunshine, I was beat. I don’t know how you can walk 100 holes in a day, even with the super comfy (I have two pairs, so I know) shoes.

  2. Your photos are getting better, and that was a lovely summer solstice post.

    I went out and played my first charity tournament this weekend, at Sharp Park in Pacifica, California and was completely amused by the experience. We were told it was going to be best ball using handicaps and instead they changed the format at the last minute to a scramble no handicaps, which meant we were truly and genuinely screwed. Sandy Tatum, of all people, at age 94, won the event with three young ringers from god knows where, shooting a 59. I wanted to yell “cheater” at Mr. Tatum when he won the first place award but it would not have been appropriate.

  3. Love this site.

    Me and 29 other guys played 6 rounds (108 holes) from 6:15 a.m. until about 8:15 p.m. in San Diego also on Tuesday. Everybody had their own cart, which we had to switch out a few times, and we averaged 2 hour and 15 minute rounds. Interestingly, most played at least as well as usual and quite a few played better at the faster clip.

    My best guess is once is enough on that for everyone, though I bet many would enjoy savoring a leisurely 54 next year…

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