A standard poodle scampered loose on one fairway while at the tee box, a guy took snapshots of the Golden Gate with his Droid. He was a nice young man and we were glad no one hit him.
On yet another tee box, a golden retriever played fetch. And a trio of tourists in heels strolled languidly across a green on yet another hole. Take all that in and you have an unexaggerated panorama of golf at San Francisco’s Lincoln Park Golf Club this past weekend.
If any golf course deserves the crude abbreviation, “WTF?,” it’s this one. The views of the Golden Gate Bridge notwithstanding, they hardly compensate for navigating around the course in fear of slicing an errant shot off a clueless pedestrian or caroming a ball off a happy-go-lucky pooch. A guy walking his off-leash Pomeranian audaciously glowered at us on the back nine, as though he was the one entitled to use the cart path not ignorant greens-fee-paying golfers.
The joys of golf.
The joys of playing golf, especially when you’re a legitimate hacker, include discovering new golf courses with their attendant topography, vistas and views.
Indeed, many courses are downright beautiful, evoking in some instances the kind of tranquil rural life that stirred Thomas Hardy to write Far from the Madding Crowd, inspired as he was by Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,
“Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.”
So besides temporarily escaping 100+ temperatures in Phoenix, there was anticipation in playing in San Francisco this past weekend. Beautiful city and golf ocean views were expected.
Unquestionably, golf is fun. But the last time I had a similar acronym-inducing moment was a couple of years ago in Arizona. The first mistake was choosing to play at a local course on a holiday weekend. The second mistake was picking the course we did.
We quit after a par-3 No. 8 hole when we discovered the reason for the abysmally slow play that day. We drove up to the tee box to find 6 people on the green! We’d caught up to a rule-breaking–sixsome. Not to cast needless aspersions, especially as a son of East L.A., but I was aghast that the slow play was attributable to a local version of “Barrio Golf.” The homies and their girlfriends were putting away oblivious to local course rules, golf protocol or course etiquette.
While there are courses, such as Southern California’s Los Verdes Golf Course, which are so popular that fivesomes are permitted, they’re usually frowned on because they cause slow-play. Ideally, a round of golf should take no more than 4 1/2 hours to complete. I’ve been told rounds at Los Verdes can take 6 to 8 hours!
So unless it’s stroke play or the pro shop has pre-approved the grouping, fivesomes are verboten. And as for sixsomes and eightsomes, I can only invoke Johnny Carson who once said, “May the fleas of a thousand camels nest in your shorts.”
Still In spite of the madding crowd at Lincoln Park, the round was fun. The ocean views were fantastic. And the abounding absurdities were laugh-inducing. And fortunately, neither man nor beast was hurt.
Credits: “SSPX3152.JPG” Lincoln Park Golf Course, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, byluxomedia via Creative Commons-licensed content for noncommercial use requiring attribution and share alike distribution at Flickr;”IMG_0479″ dog with iron by erkillian5 via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution and share alike distribution at Flickr; “Stumpy Lake Golf Course,” bymr.throk via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution and share alike distribution at Flickr.