Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Yesterday afternoon, as we drove into the city limits of Spring Lake on our return from Tanglewood Park and golf competition in the North Carolina Senior Games (aka “Senior Olympics”),  it was heartening to see the “Tammy Stephens for Alderman” campaign signs greeting us.

It would be a great thing,  I believe, for Spring Lake if Tammy is elected by its citizens.  She is campaigning out of a genuine desire to make her home community better.  She will serve all of Spring Lakes’s citizens well.  My Blog Compadres,  I am quite certain, are proud of Tammy and support her enthusiastically.

So here we are back at the ranch,  ready maybe to dehorn some steers,  brand some calves,  and poke some  cows.  Or maybe not.

The first day,  Monday,  of play at the “Champions Course” of Tanglewood Park was more challenging than usual.  Quite cool and then becoming rainy and even cooler meant that some of the players retired for the day and thus for the two-day event.  I convinced my fellow-competitors to strive on for the last two holes, as we needed to complete these if we were to qualify to play the next day.  And, in spite of one of our players’ having to take oxygen for the last few holes, we did so.  And all of us,  save for Glenn,  a representative of the Cherokee Nation, did turn out to play on Tuesday,  when the rain had ceased, the temperature had moderated, and the sun eventually emerged about halfway through our round.

I regret to say that I played miserably on Monday.  A good many of my lapses I attributed to a severe allergy attack on Sunday night (curse that accursed seafood dinner),  which got me up perhaps five times.   So I was not at the peak of my potential.  In fact, it is my considered judgment that I played the worst round of golf in my adult life. . . .  I think I three-putted at least five times and lost at least as many balls.  But I had a better score than the majority of the men’s 75-79 field that day.  We played the “Middle Tees” (about 6100 yards)  of a course with a multitude of bunkers (one of my Tuesday foursome reported that he had played  on ten holes, he was in11 bunkers).   A number of miscellaneous other hazards also intrude.   This is a course that for a number of years had hosted the “Vantage Championship.”

It was no country for old men.  A fellow from Lexington, with whom I played on Monday, informed me as we were getting ready to depart on Tuesday,  “This is my first time playing in these games.  And it is also my last.”  If you ever do qualify to play and sign up,  you must be prepared for around a five-and-a-half-hour round.  There are no “gimmes,” there are no “treeline-to-treeline” fairways,  and there are no mulligans or “do overs.”  It is, therefore,  what is sometimes described as “real golf.”  The only exception from USGA rules granted is allowing players to improve their lies in the fairways one club length no nearer the hole.  Given the course conditions on Tuesday morning,  this was a good thing.

So what about Tuesday?  Still feeling my oats from that miserable Monday adventure,  I came out of the chute on # 16 with a triple bogey seven.  I steadied down quite a bit after that but still a bit spasmodically.  A 15′ birdie on the par three umpteenth helped.  Nonetheless, after reaching the green in regulation on 10, 11,  and 12,  I still managed to  three-putt each of them.  I did have a better score than my three fellow-competitors and improved by 13 strokes but to little avail re getting a medal.

What was the story of the tournament was the play of my friend and Cypress Lakes neighbor Howard Youmans.  He played on Monday the equivalent of somebody on the PGA Tour setting a course record or perhaps a golfer with a legitimate ten handicap shooting an even par round on a challenging course.

More about Howard and his great round will appear in next Wednesday’s column in “The Sandspur.”

Hope that all of you are having a good week.  The weather forecast is not good for outdoor activities for the next several days.



One Response to “Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch”

  1. Tammy Stephens Says:

    Wow, thank you Raymond! You are a sweetheart! I’m temporary out of commission, until I can shake this bronchitis. The rain has brought me some much needed rest.
    So sorry to hear about your game on Monday. Sometimes the event itself is quite the adventure.
    Thanks for all you do!

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