Razumnoye 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:
It was still pretty dark when we got to the fifth tee:
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.
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.
After forty-five holes, we stopped for lunch—hot dogs and freezer-burned hamburgers from the kitchen fridge—and then went back out.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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: