Did My Friends See a Gray Wolf on Our Golf Course?

P1100847A lot happened at home while I was in Ireland. For one thing, it snowed, and—as you can see in the photo above, which I took in a shady spot in front of the first tee—not all the snow had melted by the time we played on Thursday afternoon. Luckily, the forecast for the weekend is more Irish-sounding: no precipitation to speak of, and highs in the upper fifties.

Wolf food, fourth hole, November 14, 2013.

Wolf appetizers, fourth hole, November 14, 2013.

A second thing that happened while I was out of the country is that several of the guys saw a wolf on our golf course. Hacker (real name) saw it first, and Corey, Gary, Chic, and a couple of other guys saw it, too, They watched it walk from the ninth tee to the far side of the first fairway, and a little later they heard it howl in the woods. We have lots of coyotes around here, and everyone knows what they look and sound like, so they’re positive it wasn’t one of those. We also have lots of dogs (ditto). Wolves have been making their way into New England from Canada in recent years, attracted primarily by our burgeoning population of Lyme-disease-bearing white-tailed deer. The wolves are welcome to all the deer, as far as I’m concerned, although I hope they will continue to spare the almost entirely white piebald fawn that my wife and I have been watching in our yard since mid-summer:

IMG_2040On the golf course, my friends and I have also seen foxes and bears, and I once watched a bobcat circling a flock of nervously gobbling wild turkeys in the middle of the driving range. Nature red in tooth and claw, etc. Talking about the wolf this afternoon made someone suggest that we play a game we often talk about playing but can never quite remember the rules of: Wolf. But we couldn’t quite remember the rules, and we had six guys, so we played 30-Ball instead.

Austin an Corey, fifteenth hole.

Austin and Corey, fifteenth hole.

We played kind of slowly, even considering that there were six of us—almost three and a half hours—and it was getting genuinely dark by the time we finished. In just six more weeks, though, the days will begin getting longer again, and once that happens spring will be practically around the corner.

4:30 p.m. EDT. Bummer.

4:30 p.m. EDT. Bummer.

6 thoughts on “Did My Friends See a Gray Wolf on Our Golf Course?

  1. You’d have to reconsider the rules of Wolf with 6 guys. Here’s how we play it at Ballston Spa CC: You select a rota for teeing off by flicking a tee. This sequence will remain the same throughout the round, except the first to tee off changes, so the 1st hole tee sequence is ABCD, second tee is BCDA, third is CDAB, etc. The last player to tee off is the “Wolf”. He can do one of three things.

    1. He can declare, before anyone tees off, that he is playing as a Lone Wolf, meaning he plays against the other three on that hole. If he beats everyone, he gets 6 points. If he ties or loses to anyone, the other 3 guys get 6 points each.

    2. He can watch each tee shot of his fellow players and after any shot, declare that person as his partner for the hole. If they win, they get one point, if they lose, the other two guys get a point. No points are involved with a tie. He must declare who his partner is before the next person tees off.

    3. After watching three terrible tee shots, or if he’s desperate for points, he can declare himself Lone Wolf. The rewards/penalties for this version of the Lone Wolf are like #1, but only 3 points.

    It’s a good game for ball busting and often someone can come from behind on the last hole by snagging 6 points. It sounds complicated, but after reading about some of the games you guys play, maybe not so much.

    • Thank you very much for this. I’m going to tattoo it on the back of my hand–especially important now that we have an actual wolf of our own, assuming that we do. Incidentally, one thing that has struck me on all my trips overseas is how FEW games other people play. In Ireland and the UK it seems to be almost entirely Stableford or ordinary best-ball, although on the second course at Royal County Down we played the Six Point Game. I taught the two guys I played with at Royal Belfast how to play Mrs. Murphy, the three-player game my father taught me. You could also play Wolf with three: Mini-Wolf.

  2. Six weeks to go before the days get longer … hum that is a very comforting tought. I’m up in Canada and will certainly play this weekend too as the weather will be around 50. Could be my last outing before March/April tough. My biggest challenge is to find a golf course that is actually still open at this time of the year.

  3. Interesting blog, I’m glad I found it. I love the “Perfect Skins Game” and plan on giving it a try on my round tomorrow!

    FYI Our version of “Wolf” is called “Pig”. Each player tees off and the two balls farthest left are partners and the two balls farthest right are partners (drawn from the tee). This speeds up play because you dont have to tee off in any order. There are two “dots” (we call them something different) available, one for low score and one for team total. If after 4 people tee off you think you have a good chance of beating the other 3 (or your partner is in really bad shape and you want to play without him) you can go “PIG” (must declare from the tee box). If you BEAT the other 3 you get six dots, if you tie or loose, each player gets 2 dots each. This works out to 3-1 odds at the end if you go PIG, which we feel is fair since you are going against 3 guys AND you have to beat them. Needless to say the aggressive players are calling PIG more often, especially at the end if they are down. Dots are assigned a dollar value and at the end you pay out to everyone with more dots than you.

    • We’ll try Pig tomorrow if we have enough guys and I have anything to say about it. Incidentally, “low ball” and “team total” are sometimes called Minnie and Aggie (minimum and aggregate). Tony and I sometimes play a game in which we play for points whose value is not determined until the end of the round, when we roll a “money cube”–a die with a different amount on each face. We set a “maximum loss” before the round to keep things from getting out of hand.

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