Thursday, August 18, 2005

Big Bertha Rocks
And socks. I finally got back on the course again, after months of trying to recover from this Ramsay Hunt syndrome that locked the left side of my face into paralysis. It was only the second time this year I've been out.

My pals and I went out for some twilight play at the newly refurbished Highland National golf course in St. Paul. They totally changed the look of the elderly course, and eliminated a lot of the standing water that used to swamp players' shoes; in their place are nine ponds that affect play on 10 holes.

We got to play 14 holes before it became too dark, so we failed to see the new Snoopy-shaped sandtrap on 15, in honor of St. Paul's own Charles Schultz (of Peanuts fame). I'm just as glad: since I can't blink my left eye, the thought of getting sand in it terrifies me. As it was, I naturally collected a gnat in the offending orb as I drove the cart, forcing my artist pal to fish it out with a grimy finger.

One of the course's big problems is slow play. Perhaps it's because the patrons are so busy oohing and aahing over the changes. Compounding that, there were no rangers out shepherding people along.

At any rate, I drew the BB456 out of the bag to try on a real course, and I love it. I'm not a good golfer, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I often say that if I ever shoot my age, I'll live to 130. But BB was very forgiving, and long. I consistently outdrove my friend, and this was a first for me.

Even with so little practice this year, I never strayed that far off the fairway. I have a real swaying problem, often ending up with my weight on my heels, so a pro suggested I put all my weight on my left foot and just touch the tip of my right foot down. So when I swing, I've got one good eye to keep on the ball and one good leg to stand on. I resemble a heron out frogging.

The course itself was in wonderful shape. The clubhouse hasn't been touched; it has the same aroma it had before all the renovation. There's a new, swanky driving range, with an area for sand work and a huge putting greens. Not to mention the putting green near the first tee.

Overall, it was wonderful to get out again. I'm looking forward to doing it again soon.

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