- Layout: 9
- Conditions: 10
- Staff: 6
- Value: 8
— Not counted in TCS™, but just as important (imo):
- Pace of Play: I HAVE NO IDEA, I was alone out there, well, mostly.
On May 14th 2014 I redeemed the raincheck I had received from my first attempted round (see review from Aug 2013 below). Here is the scorecard from my full round: LINK and pictures from the day:
“Round” and Review from 13 Aug. 2013
Before I begin here is a link to my scorecard, when you look at it and have questions read on below: LINK
Okay, so, sigh…how do I start this post?!
Since booking my trip to the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association I have been looking forward to a visit to the Empire State. I have been to NYC on six separate occasions, over several days each time. For instance, I spent 8 days in the big apple for my honeymoon. This time around my hotel was right in Times Square, literally on 42nd and 8th. However, I don’t think any of that crossed my mind until I got there and thought, “Oh, yeah, this city is pretty cool.” It’s not that I don’t like the bright lights and big city, I do! My wife, not so much. This time around my mind was preoccupied with other things related to the trip (job hunting being one major element of preoccupation).
So, Bethpage Black, it was on my mind. I read up on all of the strategies to get on, including spending the night in your car to get one of the open tee times in the morning. I also read up on the reservation system that the course uses. The course requires you to fax in a copy of your drivers license. They use this to create a user number for you. I sent my fax, confirmed my ID was good, and commenced waiting for the 48-hour window prior to the date of play they allow non-NY residents to book. For the first two days of my visit to NYC I walked around with a number 7 emblazoned in dark black sharpie on my left hand. A reminder to call at the stroke of 7 when the window for a tee time first opens.
The weather. All week the weather in and around the city had been great. NYC can be a dank mess (don’t even get me started on the smells that come out of the sweltering subway when the mug-o-meter gets high). However, it was pleasantly around 80-degrees. While eating lunch in a little deli I even heard a local weatherman commenting on the “fall like weather” with “unseasonably cool conditions for mid August.” However, in the same report the weatherman noted that there was a call for rain on Monday and Tuesday (Tuesday being Black-Day). Monday came and went with a few sprinkles and a rise in the humidity, but not much precipitation.
7PM, the call. I got in to the system fairly quickly with no problems. I requested a tee-time around 10AM and GOT ONE BOOKED for 9:24! A little earlier than my ideal since 9AM meant I would have to drive through some rush hour to get to Bethpage from Manhattan. I had a car booked from the day before up through my flight home just in case I couldn’t get in the system and had to sleep in the car. Well, now I wouldn’t need to sleep in the car! Woot! Despite the ability to sleep on a mattress as opposed to a car seat I could hardly sleep. Tossing and turning in my excited anticipation to play (I should also mention I was pretty wired after getting in to see a taping of the Colbert Report earlier that same day). I said some silent prayers that the weather would just hold long enough to get my round in.
Tuesday August 13th. I woke to a steady sprinkle of rain, nothing major yet, but steady. I said another silent prayer that it would pass and we’d get some sun, and soon. My prayers, well, must have been trumped by more pressing needs than good weather for the sake of golf. During my hour drive from Manhattan to Bethpage State Park the rain increased. Despite this I kept my hopes going, undeterrable. I went in, paid for my tee time, and went out. There was a group of two guys (accompanied by their caddie right in front of me), behind me there was no one. Ever. I had my gore-tex rain gear (the guys in front of me, shorts and polos, dude, really?!).
I gave the two guys in front of me 15-minutes to allow for some space. The rain continued. I teed off from the whites. I normally average about 270-yards with my driver. Today I was lucky to hit it over 200. I was afraid to swing too hard for fear of losing a club in my rain soaked grip. Plus I was wearing about 20 pounds of rain soaked gear, yes, even my gore-tex got wet with all of the rain! However, my “easy” swing helped me put it in the fairway. In fact, my slow careful swing helped me shoot a 40 (legitimately) on the front 9. So, why all of the drama with my writing here? That is a great score for the Black course! I know. I knew I was playing some good golf while it was happening. The problem is, I wasn’t having much fun. Even though I was hitting fairways (the size of which I think are very generous for such a reportedly difficult course). From the fairway I must have found no less than 6 green side bunkers. I had no shot control with my mid-irons, I was so afraid to lose the club during my down swing and release. Playing out of rain packed green side bunkers, well, sucks! I got out okay, but with no control or position to try and 1 putt.
When I say no one was behind me, ever, there wasn’t. I played the par three #8 twice just cause I could. I parred it the first time and wanted to see if I could birdie it. I took my club back up the hill with me (nearly slipping in the mud twice), and when I swung I nearly lost the club due to the wet grip. I however did not lose the ball, or a single ball all day for that matter.
My fears about losing a club during my swing came true on No. 11. I swung the 8-iron, hit the ball, and then as if the green I was aiming at had the force and just used it to yank the club from my hands the club was gone, hurtling toward the green. Now, if you will note the length of the club I mentioned you will not be surprised that it got no where near the green, but neither did my ball. At that point I was about done. On 12 I caught up to a 4-some of chinese folks (I heard some of the Mandarin they were speaking) and said to myself “enough is enough.” I was completely soaked by that point. Every shot was a struggle. The idea of waiting for a slow group was too much! On the way back I lost my putter headcover because I had been keeping my bag cover over the clubs which made club retrieval awkward and clumsy.
There was so much rain and water, every time I grabbed the shoulder strap by the padded part to sling it over my shoulder what I imagine had to be close to a cup of water would squeeze out between my fingers.
I started the long walk from No. 13 tee box back to the club house. During my walk back I was psyching myself up to go in to the clubhouse and beg for a raincheck. I say “beg” because when I started they told me if I only get through 5 and they close the course I can get a raincheck. Well, I had gotten through 12, badly, and wasn’t sure about a closure. I did hear a horn blast, between thunder rumblings, when I was on 11 but had not seen a marshall. Why would they come out it was a monsoon out there?!
It turned out they had closed the course, at 11AM. I begged, and even got a bit belligerent with the woman who was struggling to understand me while doing nothing more than restate to me the policy. I did not tell them I got through 12. I told them I was thinking about making the turn and decided to head back well in advance of that. I fibbed, I know, but the round of misery had cost me $130. That is a lot of money on my grad student budget! The woman I was arguing with was not native to the english language and was quick to cut me short with her policy recitation and after my battle with mother nature I am sad to say I let some of my good nature (that I think I am well known for) slipped a bit.
When I went out to get my receipt from my bag she went and got her boss, one of the head folks running the show by the look of him. I was able to talk my way into a raincheck. Not being from anywhere remotely nearby I was concerned about the rainchecks expiration. I asked, “When does it expire?” The man replied, “They don’t expire.” So, I figured I would want to return, fine. It wasn’t a refund, but it wasn’t a loss either. Later that day when I turned the raincheck over and read through the policy printed on the back I found the following “this certificate expires one year from the date it was issues.” Shiza! * While shaking my fist in the air and yelling like Capt. Kirk or George Costanza * B-e-th-p-a-g-e. Customer service, boo! But, I did get the certificate, calm, be calm…
And thus ends my battle with Bethpage Black. Will I return? That is the question…I know I will, but my excitement, not present at the moment at all.
I realize, that if you have read my About Me page I just broke our argle-bargle deal, sorry. Needed to get that out of my system.