Yesterday the temperature ranged near 90, but there was a nice breeze, and I was able to break free of my work and worries: What better to do than play golf?
We decided to play Como Golf Course, a rather constricted track in St. Paul, Minn. (Par 70, plays 5,581 yards from the middle tees, rating of 67.5 and a slope of 122.) To compound matters, we decided to walk it. (One onlooker was mystified why we wouldn't rent a driver cart. Hey, walking is healthy exercise.)
Now, Como is not flat. In fact, in winter they use (or used) it for skiing. (Wirth Golf Course, a Minneapolis parks course, does the same.) I have to admit, though, there were a couple of holes so steep I was pulling my cart uphill on my tiptoes to get to the next tee. You get a good calf muscle stretch on those.
To get an entire 18 onto the limited area of a city park, the designers had to do a little creative architecture. Tuck a dogleg in here, nip a fairway in a little there. If there's a steep hill on one side, flatten a little at the bottom: maybe someone will land there. Otherwise, let them hit with their feet above the ball.
How steep are they? My shoes were wellworn enough that when I plunked one high up on the hillside I decided to just drop another and let the first one evaporate, because I was afraid I'd slip and fall. (One wet morning a few years back, I spun a driving cart totally around and sailed down one of these slopes backwards, to the accompaniment of a lot of hollering!)
Overall, though, it's a nice course. Water on a few holes, trees edging alongside on others.
A few of the beginning holes run alongside the Como Park Zoo. The lion house overlooks the third green, and I pointed out that zoogoers could gaze at lions on one side and we old goats on the other. Every so often there'd be a roar, and not from any crowds.
Although I had started out only wanting to play nine holes, by the time we were partway through it I was anxious to go the whole way. A nice breeze cooled us down, and hitting the ball well heated us up. It cost us seniors $27 for the full boat. And a good time was had by all.
There is a plethora of elevated tees, and a few elevated greens as well.
If you're ever in St. Paul, take in the Como Zoo, the Arboretum, and Como Golf Course. It's just a few blocks from the state fairgrounds.