Gulf Revisited – 2011
Score of ‘59’ beats golfer’s age mark
May 10 – 19, 2011
- Updated June 9, 2011
Several photos of the
interior of our condo at
By LEWIS NOLAN
May 16, 2011 – Monday – The year’s first golf score that “beats” my age of 68
It being my birthday, I slept in a bit and didn’t arise until 8 a.m. to a glorious breakfast of ham and eggs cooked in our condo’s tiny kitchen by Betty. We then drove a few miles to the State Park Golf Course, where I had a solo tee time of 10:08 a.m. I planned to play only 9 holes because it’s been so long since I’ve played any serious golf. Betty accompanied me and would drive the golf cart and keep up with the scorecard so I could put my entire focus on the game and long-dormant swing.
I somehow managed to score a fairly respectable “59” despite the layoff of 4 or more years. Even better, I lost no golf balls on the fairly long course. But neither did I score any pars or birdies on the 9 holes I played. On the positive side, there were no “pick-ups” of the ball in the face of truly awful progress on individual holes. There were admittedly 7 holes where I scored worse than bogey (1 over par), but I took only 19 putts on the greens of 9 holes.
To real golfers, that’s not too terribly bad when my age of 68 and the many months of non-play for medical reasons is taken into consideration. To put it into a perspective that most golfers of average ability can understand, I still look back with pride quite a few years to the best score of my life of 79 for 18 holes on the same course.
The State Park course where I played my best-ever round about 20 years ago was looking a little ratty because of the recent drought. Much of the fairway grass was light-colored brown because of the lack of rainfall. There were patches of bare dirt and the water levels in the small lakes and ponds seemed low.
I teed off just before 10 a.m. Thankfully, the groups behind me never pushed me into hurried shots. I only had to wait a very few minutes for a group I caught up to on the ninth hole to clear the green. Fortunately, I happened to hit a decent drive off the tee on that hole, flying over the small pond just in front of the tee box by a comfortable margin.
Happy with my two-putting the 9th green for a score of 6 on the hardest handicap hole on the front side of the course, I concluded my round. Betty and I parked the golf cart and repaired to the snack bar, where we enjoyed really good BLT sandwiches cooked by manager Deborah. Betty enjoyed a sample of Duck and Rice Soup brought from home by longtime snack bar employee “Sunshine,” a Korean “war bride.”
On the drive from the golf course back to our condo, we stopped at a nearby Wal-Mart to exchange several hot oven pans and to purchase some fresh-caught shrimp.
All in all, it was a delightful morning, made so by a better-than-expected round of golf on a wide-open course, Betty’s supportive company and a nice lunch. Back at the condo, I took a short nap while Betty ventured out to the nearby Tanger Mall since her favorite local dress shop, “Smart & Sassy” had closed early for the day.
Later in the day, we stopped by the public library to check our email (finding that I had more than 100 pending messages backed up). But at least my mid-day check of the day’s action in the stock market was reasonably positive. With a portion of my retirement riding on the performance of several Blue Chip stocks and other conservative investments, that’s always good news.
We had a great dinner that evening of fresh boiled shrimp and watched an excellent documentary on PBS about the Freedom Riders, the interracial group that braved the dangers and outright hostility of the Deep South in the early 1960s to those mainly young people who tried to ride Greyhound and Trailways buses across the South in violation of state and local racial separation laws.
I was amazed and downright astounded to learn from the TV
show how very little knowledge I had at the time of the Freedom Ridges when I
was a student at the University of Mississippi in the early and mid-1960s. Of
course I was familiar with what was called “the movement,” but I knew very
little about the actual hardships the brave bus riders and their supporters
went through. Seeing the televised history brought back some old memories of
when I would carefully drive through small towns in
In reality, while I did my best to “fit in” with new
acquaintances and friends from the
One of the odd memories I have of my time during that period was being offered several dollars by a middle-aged man in a bar to get a haircut (I had slightly longer-than-normal hair inspired by the British singing group, The Beatles, of the day).
Thanking the roadside bar patron, I took the offered money and spent it on beer. In reality, the favored topics of conversation in the Ole Miss fraternity house and dormitories in which I lived in the early and middle 1960s were the campus beauties, nearby bootlegger’s drive-in liquor shop called “Johnny’s” and college and high school football teams.
It wasn’t until much later that I went through an epiphany of sorts and came to understand that no matter my presumed “coolness” in my early twenties I was at heart little more than a “frat boy” in those formative years.
It wasn’t until I had flunked out of Ole Miss and fell short
of officer candidate training camp fitness standards that I “came of age” and finally
started doing my best to “measure up” as I aged into my mid-twenties. While in
the Marine Corps I worked hard as a budding journalist and became editor of the
Now, I can look back with pride at a fairly long record of hard work, loyalty to my employers and sufficient intellect and skills to take advantage of some wonderful opportunities and good friendships – which combined with my marriage to a wonderful woman of high intelligence, made for a success far beyond what my earlier years had indicated.
Like a “peacetime patriot,” I somehow underwent some of the real-life lessons of the Apostle Paul two millennia ago; my outlook on human and political matters “changed with the times” in terms of my social life and work experiences.
Now that we are in the 21st Century, I sometimes
recall the unpleasant history of
Just this week – and for the first time I can remember in
the more than two decades we’ve owned a condo on the
I’m glad to see that times have changed – for the better, to be sure.