Thursday, December 06, 2007

Desert Golf… an essay.

If you ever have the chance to play golf in a desert and/or a desert-like mountainous region, I highly suggest doing so if for nothing more than a learning experience of playing a different type of golf; one that’s different than the customary wooded Country Club or that wide-open hacker track where every par-4 is less than 300 yards. No, this is different.

The desert has plenty of natural beauty as much as golf in the desert has natural pitfalls, so a few reminders for those who wish to go to Palm Springs or Scottsdale for their golf trip… and have never done so before.

Gravity, especially near a mountain range, is a force of nature to be reckoned with. Thus, any shot going away from the mountains is downhill and vice versa (towards the mountains is uphill). But a downhill putt towards the mountains is at the very most, level, if not uphill. Does this help any?

The desert is a hazard and can be hazardous. If you’re unlucky (and believe me, you are) your ball will spray left and right and end up in the brush. So when you find your $7.00 Titleist Pro-V 1 ball near the Prickly Pear cactus, use a club or a ball retriever to avoid thorns in your hands.

If you see a Bobcat crouching down near a tree, don’t bother telling the nearby Jack Rabbit that it’s about to be eaten.

Avoid walking or carrying your clubs in the desert, your ancestors probably walked through the desert enough. Besides, any desert course worth its salt won’t allow you to do so. If you want to walk, simply go for a hike and leave your clubs at home. You’ll lose fewer balls that way.

Speaking of balls, you will lose plenty, so buy ‘em cheap and in bulk if you can. There’s nothing worse than the schmuck who paid more money for his dozen golf balls than the round, and ended up losing all of them.

Don’t worry about hitting nearby homes with an errant shot. Chances are, the owners are snowbirds and aren’t home anyway.

Courses in resort towns (Palm Springs, Scottsdale, etc…) change their price according to the season. The ‘High’ season is usually from December 15 to May 15 and greens fees usually double during this period. So be sure to check all rate schedules for desert courses.

If you find this aggravating, you can always take up macramé.

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