Expecting no sympathy from my Michigan golf cronies, let me still say there are a few minor downsides to playing 36 holes in a day as a Golf Road Warrior. One, you have to play early and usually without the benefit of a warm-up. Yes, it’s a crying shame. But second, you have to endure the chagrin of doing stupid things to start off the day. Case in point occurred at McDowell Mountain Ranch Golf Club where our foursome hurried to the first hole (our fault) for a 7:15 a.m. tee time.
A quick double bogey out of box was accepted with mild resignation. “There’s always the next hole,” whispered my inner child. Yeah, the next hole. The second hole at McDowell is a downhill short par-four that’s rated as the easiest on the course. And it is easy so long as you identify and play your own ball. In a comedy of errors worthy of Laurel and Hardy, two different players hit the wrong ball on this hole. To be fair, part of this was due to us playing the same brand of ball, the new Callaway Tour i(z) which offers a “2nd Generation Dual Core Inertia Technology that delivers improved spin separation.” But most of it was due to a 4th Generation of Moore Family Idiocy. Miscommunication and carelessness were also to blame. “Stuff happens and you have to move on,” snickered the inner child.
Well, I moved on and posted a fat 44 on the front side, never recovering from the ugly start. Yet I made two nice pars to start the back nine and my game was seemingly coming around until I played my second shot on the short par-four 13th hole. Maybe I was distracted by the fetching and friendly cart girl lurking quietly nearby. Maybe I was distracted by gorgeous scenery of the majestic McDowell Mountains. But maybe what I really needed was one of those coaches who assist physically impaired and blind golfers. Because I hit the wrong ball again! As my fellow Road Warrior Peter Kessler politely inquired in his unmistakable voice, “When’s the last time you hit the wrong ball twice in the same round?”
“Never,” I muttered slumping back into the cart.
“But did you hear the one about the blind guy who went sky-diving?” I asked.
“Scared the living crap out of his dog.”
By the way, McDowell Mountain Ranch is a recommended daily fee public layout that’s easy on the eyes and on the wallet. The course was formerly the Sanctuary Golf Club at Westworld. It re-opened only this fall after a $1.2 million renovation which brought needed playability into the design by increasing the course turf acreage, eliminating bunkers while adding waste bunkers and rock walls to defend against errant balls heading toward the desert. Phil Mickelson is involved with the project along with co-owner Steve Loy, Lefty’s former coach at Arizona State. It was especially refreshing to see golfers walking the course with their pull carts and powered caddies. All in all, this course has the makings of a great turnaround story.