Foggy Straits

I, for one, was not surprised that the PGA Championship was delayed more than three hours by fog on Thursday. I once played a round in such heavy fog at Whistling Straits that you could not see more than 50 yards ahead of you. And it lasted the entire round.

That’s right, we did not see a single full shot land all day. The only way we were able to play was having caddies who could tell us where to aim and help us find the ball.

They can’t do that at the PGA Championship because of spectators, and also because there could be several hundred thousand dollars riding on the difference of a single shot so it’s nice to let the players see where they’re going.

Some might say that Whistling Straits is so visually intimidating that it’s a blessing not to see all of those thousand or so bunkers on the Pete Dye creation. But let me tell you, it’s more intimidating to not be able to see where you are hitting to, especially on a course you’ve never played, and one with a reputation for difficulty, at that. It’s also frustrating to play a course with such spectacular views, and not be able to see Lake Michigan at all.

Surprisingly few balls were lost that day, and scoring was close to normal. The only real incident was when the group behind us hit to the green on a par three when we were still putting. Fortunately, we survived to tell the tale.

A pretty good tale is all we got out of it. We didn’t get the views, and it was hard to get a feel for how the course played without seeing where you were going.

The occasion was a Golf Magazine editorial conference, and editor-in-chief George Peper had the best line about the experience. Noting that the magazine’s ballot for the Top 100 Courses had a box you could check off if you had seen a course but not played it, he said, “This is the first course I’ve played, but not seen.”

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