Monday, May 18, 2015

Driving the green

Happy Monday to all....hope everyone had a good weekend.

I report this morning on the long-anticipated golf trip that I took with a couple of buddies over the weekend.  As I had mentioned in this space previously, we had planned to do this about a month ago, but the prediction of inclement weather made us change our plans (and, as it turned out, for naught, as the forecast for that weekend and location was not accurate).

One of us lives in the Owensboro, Kentucky area, and I and the other traveling companion are in Lexington, so we agreed to meet at Covered Bridge Golf Club in Sellersburg, Indiana for our initial round of golf at 1:00 PM.  We chose courses in the southern half of Indiana to facilitate another mutual interest, minor league baseball.  Our plan was to travel to Indianapolis on Saturday night for a game at Victory Field, home of the AAA Indianapolis Indians.  More on that later.

Weather in Lexington Friday morning was clear with a few clouds and some breeze, so we really didn't have a lot of concerns about the weather.  Picked up my local friend, loaded up his stuff to add to mine and off we went.  Since we were passing through Louisville, we decided to stop in at a favorite barbecue haunt, Mark's Feed Store. We worked together at a company's Louisville location some years ago and used to frequent this place.  It was as good as we remembered.

We proceeded through the maze that is currently downtown Louisville (lots of major road construction there) and then merged onto I-65 North into Indiana and then to Covered Bridge, which is owned and was developed by Masters and Senior PGA champ Fuzzy Zoeller, a native of the area.  My other friend and I had played there numerous times, but had not found ourselves in that part of the world in recent years.  The course did not disappoint, we were able to play steadily and quickly, and I was able to card a good score on our first day, despite significant wind that picked up about the time we arrived.

We traveled north to Seymour, Indiana, where I had found a good rate on a hotel for two rooms.  If you're not familiar with that area, Seymour is about midway between Louisville and Indianapolis and is the hometown of singer John Mellencamp.  We thought this was a good spot for base camp, since we were playing a course north of there on Sunday and were planning to go to Indy for baseball on Saturday evening.  Had dinner at a Chili's, since there were not a great number of alternatives.  We knew that going in, of course, since we all know Mellencamp's song "Small Town!"

Saturday morning arrived and we noted that there had been some rain overnight and about a 50% chance of more for the second course in our menu, Fuzzy Zoeller's Champions Pointe, in Henryville.  We made our way there and immediately noticed that it's also a very nice course, which didn't really surprise us.  Great layout, good conditions and homes that were not extremely close to the course itself, which is always a plus for golfers prone to errant shots!  We had some drizzle here and there early in the round, which was an uneven affair for all three of us, as we all encountered some challenges (some self-inflicted, some caused by the difficulty of the course and others by the slow pace of play in front of us) along the way.

The heavens opened in earnest as we were finishing the 12th hole (it finished me, in terms of being able to post a decent score for the round, as I really had my problems there), and we slogged through the 13th in a driving rain.  Quickly agreeing that we should head for the clubhouse after finishing that hole, I noted that my feet were initially dry but as my socks (garish wool-blend neon green argyle crew socks, selected just for the occasion) accumulated water around my ankles, that water found its way into my shoes.  So we made the mad dash for the clubhouse, where we parked in the barn that the course uses to store and charge the golf carts.  A very nice attendant asked if he could throw anything into the dryer for us, and I gave up the socks and one towel.  Just to show how long we were off the course due to the weather, the sock and towel had time to complete the drying cycle with about twenty minutes to spare!

We spotted our opportunity and went back out, and none of us played well from that point, owing to the standing water and otherwise poor conditions.  It's a great golf course and we all agreed we'll go back, but hopefully we'll get to play all 18 holes on a dry day!

So we all sat in our wet clothes for the trip back to the hotel, During our drive we reviewed the weather forecast for Indianapolis, and when we saw that rain was somewhat likely, we agreed that we should change our plans for the evening.  Hot showers and a dry change of clothes improved our outlook considerably.  We found a Buffalo Wild Wings where we had food, drink and watched the Preakness, identifying readily with the foul weather that struck Baltimore just as the race was about to start.

Sunday came, and, again, we saw that it had rained quite a bit overnight.  By the way, our hotel, like many others in the Seymour area, was the temporary home for numerous Little Leaguers and their families.  Made for a noisy place to stay, with kids running the halls and crowding the breakfast room, but we managed to stay out of their way.

We proceeded north to Timbergate, which was designed by Fuzzy Zoeller (are you seeing a trend?) and another golf architect.  My Owensboro friend and I had played there some years ago but only got to play the front nine twice due to maintenance on the other nine holes.  So we were interested to see the rest of the course and noticed immediately that it was not up to the same standards as our sites on Friday and Saturday.

When we played there several years ago, we could not help but notice how prominent the wind was, and it was the same yesterday.  It essentially ran from south to north, right along the highway, which was right next to the course.  This made for some challenging shots, as you'd imagine, and none of us shot what I would call a good score.  So we all felt some frustrations at times, and made quite a few unforced errors to go along with the shots that the wind affected.

Lunch at a Ruby Tuesday's along the path south was our last stop before heading for our respective homes.  While I won't share a lot of details of the conversations that we had during golf, travel and dinner, suffice it to say that we all laughed a lot at ourselves and each other (and at some of the absurd situations our shots put us into, as well).

Would we do it again?  Absolutely.  Would we go to the same places?  Probably two of the three; yesterday's course was in a lesser condition than several years ago.  That opportunity will come sometime down the road, but, for now, we're all back to work and back to reality today!

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