We Have a Winner; Plus, Good Shoes for Winter Golf

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On New Year’s Eve, I challenged readers to identify a golf course and an intriguing locker-room accessory, based on a photo similar to the one above. There were several pretty good guesses regarding the locker-room accessory, but only one (by email) that nailed the golf course, too. That golf course is D. Fairchild Wheeler, known to regulars as the Wheel, a muny owned by the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut (although it’s actually next door, in the town of Fairfield).

P1110513The winner was Dave Malloy, a reader in Trumbull (another neighboring town). He wrote: “That’s the locker room at the Wheel. Red Course is open all year. Black Course is a diamond in the rough. Oh, function. Drinks, baby! Ashtrays, too, at one point, I was told. Always loved that locker room.”

P1110371-001There are other uses, too, as the photo above shows. And according to Stephen P. Roach, the head pro, regulars also treat the things as stand-up card tables—a great idea. I asked Malloy to tell me about himself and his golf. He wrote:

I am an 18-handicap hack who can lose balls impressively deep in the woods, both hooking and slicing. Fifty-two years old. Most of my golf is nine holes late Saturday or Sunday afternoon at Tashua Knolls, in Trumbull. Three kids and a full sports schedule kill golf until late June, then sports start up again in September. Grew up in Stamford playing Hubbard Heights and Sterling Farms. Occasionally enjoy away rounds at Smith-Richardson, Longshore, Oxford Greens. Play Highlands and Pines in Dennis, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. Took one lesson, and at the end of it the pro gave me a free can of tennis balls. 

As promised, a disappointing prize is on its way to him, Winter Storm Hercules be damned. Meanwhile, my friends and I have played three rounds at the Wheel in the past week, including our final round of 2013 (on New Year’s Eve) and our first round of 2014 (on New Year’s Day).

The Sunday Morning Group visits the Black Course at the Wheel, January 1, 2014.

The Sunday Morning Group plays the Black Course at the Wheel. First tee, January 1, 2014.

When we teed off on New Year’s Day, at 9:30 or so, our cars were still the only ones in the parking lot. Where was everybody else? Home fretting over their New Year’s resolutions, maybe.

IMG_0027Playing golf in bad weather is easier if you have the right equipment. Remarkably, my friend Hacker (real name) and I both received winter golf shoes for Christmas. How did our wives know? It’s like a short story by O. Henry. My new shoes are Nike Lunar Bandon IIs:

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They look a little like ski boots, but my winter golf clothes increasingly look like ski clothes, so I shouldn’t complain. They’re not as slipper-like or as comfortable as my beloved True Linkswear shoes, but they seal up tight, and, so far, I have nothing bad to say about them. I also like to wear them when I walk the dog in the snow.

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Santa brought Hacker’s new shoes all the way from England. They’re made by a company called Stuburt, and they also look like boots:

stubur bootHacker loves them, but when he got home on Saturday, the first day he’d worn them, he discovered that seven of the cleats had fallen out while we were playing.

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Cliff Dews.

Cliff Dews.

He emailed the company to complain, and, a couple of days later, heard back from Cliff Dews, a representative of the distributor. “From your description,” Dews wrote, “I can only assume that you did not notice the label on the sole unit which explains that the studs are only hand tight during the manufacturing process and that they should be fully tightened before use.” I love England, but the only other country I can think of where they do things this way is Canada. If you’re willing to go to the trouble of printing up labels and sticking them to the soles of shoes, why not spend another ten seconds and screw the things all the way in?

stuburt boot spikesBesides, as Hacker pointed out, there had been no such labels on the bottoms of his shoes or, indeed, anywhere in the box, which had contained just “the shoes and bubble pack.” At any rate, Dews did the decent thing, “despite our instruction label not being actioned,” and promised to send Hacker a new set of studs. And that’s the end of it—or so I hope.

8 thoughts on “We Have a Winner; Plus, Good Shoes for Winter Golf

  1. I prefer cleats only being hand tightened during manufacture…….maybe it’s an English thing (although I’ve never had Stuburt before). First thing I do when I get a new pair of shoes is take the cleats out, put a small bit of grease on the thread and then tighten them up normally. I’ve never had them fall out when playing and it makes them a lot easier to get out when they’re due for a change. On that note I’ll wish you a Happy New Year 🙂

  2. It is a good thing that they distinguished the course as the “D.” Fairchild Wheeler muni. Should eliminate confusion with the plain old Fairchild Wheeler layout shoudl it exist.

    • Early-twentieth-century philanthropists in Fairfield County apparently didn’t care for their first names. There’s an H. Smith Richardson golf course just a couple of miles away. The “D” stands for Daniel. I don’t know what the “H” stands for.

  3. I grew up playing the Wheel as a kid and even had a locker for one summer. Your photographs didn’t jog my memory at all. I feel like such a loser. What condition is the course in? I haven’t played it since the 80s.

    • Both courses were in great shape, and not just considering the time of year. And I liked both layouts, especially the Black. And the clubhouse is terrific. A very acceptable winter home for seasonal orphans.

  4. Hey Buddy, I was researching for some honest reviews about Nike Lunar Bandon shoes and I found your site. Sorry to heard about the problems with fallen cleats.

    I am a golf lover and I wanted some good quality shoes while playing. But when I researched about these shoes on the sites, I found no such cleats attached to the shoes. Can you explain a bit from where you have ordered these shoes? Is it your local store or an online site?

    Regards

    Vishal M

    • Read carefully. The missing cleats were on some English shoes, from a company called Stuburt. They were worn by someone else. I love my Nike Lunar Bandon shoes for golf in the winter–or possibly for golf on an extremely wet day at another time of the year.

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