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).
Itápolis The 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.”
There 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).
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.
Playing 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:
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.
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:
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?
Besides, 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.