Via the Huffington Post (and the Des Monies Register, apparently) comes this item, “Rob Lowe visits Iowa, kills state bird.” Given that he did it with a golf ball and that the goldfinch is a pretty dinky bird, you kind of have to hand it to the guy. In a backhanded sort of way, I guess.
… but I don’t think my comparatively modest golf fund will allow for it. I speak of the Segway x2 Golf. From that web site:
The SegwayÂ® Personal Transporter (PT) x2 Golf is fun, easy to maneuver, and much smaller than a standard golf car. Special low-pressure tires barely disturb the turf and provide a smooth ride over a variety of terrain. Based upon the Segway x2, it features new LeanSteer technology, a wireless InfoKey controller, long-lasting SaphionÂ® lithium-ion batteries….
I appreciate that this is kind of an inside joke about Bill’s 91 in golf earlier this year (a round that was gifted to him by a unicorn), but I thought others might enjoy this super stupid video. Boing-boing described it as being like pepto for your eyes. Indeed.
Bill H-D., Steve B., and I had scheduled yesterday’s golf outting at the Eagle Crest Golf Course a couple of weeks ago, long before we knew about the current heat wave, “heat advisories,” and “cooling centers” opened in metro Detroit. I was a little concerned, Annette was very concerned, and Bill H-D. and Steve B. were not concerned at all. Bill said in an email something like “the day we can’t golf because it’s too hot is the day we’re too old.”
I’m officially too old.
Well, that’s not completely true. I felt okay after the first nine holes, though I was playing like shit and I do blame the heat for much of that. I also blame the course. The last time I played Eagle Crest (which was last year), they had these cool video things in the carts that were a GPS system (how far the cart was to the center of the green), a score keeping system, and a little narrative about each hole. Well, they got rid of those, and, besides the fact that you don’t have the gizmo to play with, you lose a lot of information about the course. For example, Steve B. hit it into water on his drive on #2, not realizing there was even a pond in play. (Of course, this does not explain the other two balls he subsequently put into the same pond). The yardage marking for #4 was off by at least 30 (maybe 40) yards, which I blame for my own problems of shooting it over the green by about 30 (maybe 40) yards, and which also lead to my call for a free mulligan and Bill H-D. accusing me of being a socialist.
But I digress.
Anyway, I don’t think I drank as much water as I should have on the front nine because by the time we got to the back, I was feeling it. I always thought that this “heat index” measure was kind of bullshit, but I got to say that by about #14 or so, it was 97 degrees and the heat index to me felt it was pegging at about 175. It was not pretty. I got to the water station and filled up my liter jug for the third time, and Bill H-D. said I looked a lot like Bugs Bunny in one of those desert cartoons: “waaa-ter… waaa-ter….”. Felt like it too.
But I got some more water into me and I bounced back, sorta. I even managed to bogey the very difficult “signature hole” of Eagle Crest, #16, and that was with a lost ball. Still, I had a 117 overall, sunburn, and a nasty heat-inspired head-ache.
So, note to self: no more golf during heat advisories. I’m still kind of feeling whipped from the whole thing this morning.
On a happier note, we did have a nice Indian food meal with the golfers and the golfer’s families at our place. The chicken was certainly a hit.
Also on a happier note: it’s supposed to be rainy with a high of 79 tomorrow, and mid-80s Friday and Saturday.
First off, my apologies to those folks– namely, Bill HD and Bradley– who had posted comments on previous posts that didn’t end up getting posted until now. They were being held up for moderation for some reason, along with all the other “I like your site!!!” spam messages. They are there now, I think.
Second, the heart of the matter here: I got a 9 today playing at Hickory Sticks Golf Course, just 2 behind Steve B. (who wasn’t playing that well today since he’s adjusting to new clubs). The best round of 18 on a “real golf course” I have probably ever had, frankly.
However, in the interest of coming clean and of not getting caught up in some sort of doping scandal, I will confess up-front to my “scoring alterations:”
- On the first tee, I hit one and had not a clue as to where it went, so I hit another. The general “friendly rule” in the group of folks I play with is you can always hit a second ball of the first tee if you want. So I did.
- I played a mulligan on number 9 and number 18. Again, in our group, this is a standard practice.
Now, I point these “alterations” out there in large part because my golf colleague, Steve B., who usually beats me by 10 or more strokes, and who today was trailing me by a stroke or two as late as the 14th hole, was grousing a bit about
our group’s my fluid standards for score keeping. Never mind Steve B.’s own mulligans, etc.
In any event, it was still a good round for me. Kind of a shame that I’m “peaking” this late in the golf season though….
To tell you the truth, I don’t have a whole lot of interesting things to add to my previous post on this family trip/reunion. But since I started with “part 1,” I figure I ought to have a “part 2.” So here’s what happened:
- Hung out Friday morning at the hotel, mostly recovering from the drive. The Stevens Point La Quinta Inn was pretty so-so. Their web site claims “La Quinta” is Spanish for high-speed Internet. Ha. More like “Spanish for spotty Internet,” or “Spanish for ‘next to Denny’s'” (that’s my sister Jill’s line) or “Spanish for ‘just kinda crappy hotel.'” But it was conveniently located, right next to the country club, even if people at the hotel didn’t know where the country club is.
- Went to the Stevens Point Country Club on that Friday afternoon, which was where many of the events were. I played golf that afternoon with my cousin/our host Scott, and my Uncle Paul, and my gimpy father rode along. Anyway, while we played on the course, Will played by the pool and Annette, still gimpy herself of course, sat and read. A good time seemed to have been had.
- The course was great– very well-kept, challenging but not crazy-hard, etc. I played like shit, hitting it into the woods on just about every hole, but, because the trees were all pine and they kept it pretty clean underneath those trees, I didn’t lose a ball all day. And I got good at the punch-out shot. I also bought a cool hat. Along with my Point beer, I now have two official SP memories. Sadly, no snow globes were available.
- Got up first thing Saturday morning, basically before anyone else, and decided to take a bit of a brief driving tour of Stevens Point. Now I understand why there aren’t a lot of other SP souvenirs. I did find out they have a Starbucks, and even one with a drive-thru.
- I actually spent a fair amount of time on Saturday morning grading, which helped me get a bit caught up from this week of events.
- I tried to play golf on Saturday afternoon with my uncle Paul again and some other far-flung relatives, but we ended up behind the slowest foursome in the history of the universe and then we got poured on about the 6th hole. Oh well… Anyway, while I was trying to golf, Annette and Will were once again by the pool.
- I’d write more about the various family events, but, well, those are probably even less interesting to anyone who wasn’t there than what I’ve written already. It was a good time, but it was fairly typical reunion stuff– talk, food, drink, etc. I like all of these folks, but of course, even though my cousins are technically my “family,” I don’t really know them that well. By the way, what’s the spouse of a cousin to me? What about my cousins’ kids– are those second cousins? And what’s the relationship between my kid and my cousins’ kids? It’s all very confusing.
- Annette and I high-tailed it out of there at 6 am Sunday morning, leaving Will with the grandparents. This week is “Krause kid camp,” where my Ps take their grandkids (the ones out of diapers, at least) for a few days. I’m sure I’ll have a post or so on that next week.
- And now the “and then some” part: We were home for all of 30 minutes when we went out to pick up Laura (who Annette has known for like 20 years now) from (of all things!) a Scrabble tournament in Hazel Park, MI. The whole Scrabble thing is its own long and (to me, at least) strange story I won’t tell now, but basically, she was here from Viriginia for it, and we had a pleasant, less than 24 hour visit with her: hanging about, dinner last night, and breakfast this morning. Here’s the picture of these two I threatened at breakfast to put on my blog:
Greetings from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where we’re at right now for a smallish family reunion type event– on my mom’s side. Why Stevens Point, you ask? Because this was one of my cousin’s ideas in the first place, he lives in Stevens Point, he’s the manager of a country club (the site of many of the events), and it’s a good location for most of the family, most of whom are from Wisconsin.
We had the trip from hell yesterday getting her in the first place. A late start, getting stuck for an hour before we even left town, rush hour traffic in Chicago, construction, accidents, etc., etc., turned an 8 hour trip into an 11 hour one. Given that Annette rode in the back of a rented mini-van with her leg propped up the whole way, you can imagine how thrilled she is with it all.
The hotel is fine, though my wireless access is sketchy. Got up this morning for a little grocery and wine/beer shopping, and I was struck by two things. First, even out here, in the relative middle of nowhere, you can pretty much get anything you want in terms of food items, decent coffee, decent wine, etc. You might be saying “well, duh,” but I can remember a time in Iowa and Wisconsin where that wasn’t the case.
Second, I was reminded of the local beverage, Point Beer. It’s good but nothing remarkable– kind of like Leinenkugel, but I’ve never seen it for sale anywhere outside of Wisconsin. I remember when a friend of mine way way back when collected beer cans, the Point “blue bullet” was a sought-after item. Point appears to have gone a bit more up-scale. Pictured above are examples from the “sampler pack” of beer I bought, along with one of the root beers I bought.
Anyway, things with this reunion (as is the case with all things with this side of the family) are pretty casual. Played golf with my cousin and one of my uncles while my injured father rode along and my injured wife sat by the pool watching Will as he played in the water for about three hours. So far, so good.
Now it’s time to enjoy a Point!
Today it was about 65 or so degrees out, and in this neck of the woods and at this time of the year, that’s usually time to run around outside half-naked and rejoice at the end of winter. Of course, we’ve had a pretty mild winter this year. Oh, and also of course, what inevitably happens when we have a “warm snap” like this is it snows about a week or two later.
Anyway, besides watching the Hawks win the Big Ten tourney and making my NCAA picks (I’ve got Connecticut winning it all, but just for the hell of it, I picked Iowa to go to the final four), I went out and hit a bucket of golf balls at the newly remodeled Miles of Golf. Not that there is really a whole lot of “remodeling” that needs to be done to the driving range part of the operation.
It felt pretty good swinging a club after not doing so for around four or five months. I was hitting them about as well (or as poorly) as I was in the fall. Two thoughts occurred to me. First, not this summer (because I’m once again going to be out of town for too much of it and because of other things coming up) but some summer, I’m going to take some golf lessons. Second, my goal this year is not to worry so much about the “long game,” mainly because without something in the way of lessons, I don’t really see myself hitting the ball a whole lot further than I do right now. Rather, I need to concentrate on the short game: approaches, chips, putts. Unfortunately, that’s kind of hard to practice at a range.
Anyway, after things settle down in April, I’ll be back out. Unless it snows.
Steve B. and I played golf yesterday at Hickory Sticks, one of the usual places we play around here. Besides being a fun and challenging course, it also runs great coupon specials. We played Friday for $25 apiece for “all the golf you can play.” We actually started by playing the back 9 first, but the highlight was the round of 18 after this “warm up” 9. Steve B. had an 89 (only his second or third time under 90, I believe) and I had a 99, the first time I have ever broke 100 for 18 holes. As you can see in this picture, I started the 10th hole with a 9 (yipee for me), but then I rallied with three pars in a row and with no more screw-ups on any other hole. So, 47 for the back 9 plus 52 for the front 9 equals 99.
*Well, okay, a few qualifications of all this. Neither Steve B. nor I were exactly playing by official PGA rules at all times. We follow the “1 mulligan per 9 holes” rule (for non-golfers: this means you can take one “do-over” on a messed-up drive). We also follow the “that’s a gimmie” rule, wherein if the person putting is informed by the other player(s) that said putt is a “gimmie,” it doesn’t really matter if the putter makes the putt or not. On the last hole, I missed my putt after Steve B. called “gimmie,” but because gimmie was called, I stand by my 99. And truth be told, we played about as honest as we ever do. Or let me put it this way: we didn’t follow the sort of “non-rules” Jim K. and I used to observe when we were really bad a few years ago and we’d just keep taking “do-overs” until we were reasonably happy with the results. And we’d still end up with 120s.
Will and I went out and played what was his first round of golf on a real golf course. Sort of.
Will said he was interested in playing golf, so I bought a kiddie-sized nine iron a couple weeks ago for $3 at a Play-it-again Sam’s Sports store. I figured that before I went out and spent $50 on a set of kiddie clubs, I’d make sure that he was actually interested in playing. We went out to the driving range once and out shagging balls another time. He liked it, but he wanted to play on a real golf course.
Well, there’s this play around here called Pine View and I found out that they’re running a deal that kids play for $1 on the “Little Pines,” which is their par 3 course. I elected to get a cart (to avoid the possibility of Will pooping out and to give him the added thrill of riding), but even with that, it was only $15 for the two of us. Even better, the course has kids in mind. It has men’s tees, women’s tees, and junior tees, which are way the heck up close to the hole.
I can honestly say we both had a great time. The Little Pines is pretty good for a little par 3 course. It’s short obviously, but there some very narrow fairways, some water hazzards (two of which I hit into and one which Will actually hit over), and some difficult hills, so I had fun playing a “not super easy” course. Will had a blast and he got some good hits when he took his time and kept his head down, my only real pieces of golf coaching. I don’t think I’ve got a Tiger Woods on my hands, but he had fun– I think we might play on Monday, too– and with some lessons and such, I’m sure he’ll get better and be able to beat me in no time.