By Bruce Meadows
Happy to be back . . .
It’s been a while since I sat down at my aging – but still functional – computer and produced a copy of GOLF 707.
Personally, I suffered a ruptured gallbladder in late January – which because of an infection was more serious than I thought, according to my doctor — and after a week in the hospital, surgery was scheduled for early April.
But with the emergence and surge of Covid-19, surgery, initially deemed elective, was put off. My doctor argued that because of the possible medical implications, taking out my gallbladder was not really “elective” and I finally had the little guy removed July 6.
I agreed . . . this was potentially life-threatening, not cosmetic surgery!!!
Over time, I lost almost 20 pounds because of a variety of factors, but have finally regained my appetite and am looking forward to eating and drinking my way back to 160 pounds, a weight I have comfortably carried for the past 20 years.
This is, as so many people realize, not a normal time for us, and nobody can really figure out what the “new normal” is or will be.
Personally, I think, as do many others, we rushed to get things “open” too soon, although there were many factors, including the need of so many people to get back to work or get back to living the kind of lifestyle to which they had become accustomed.
Closure presented a great number of hardships for so many. Not everyone was as prepared for this as others.
There was early discussion and debate about what was “essential” in our community and beyond. I think Gov. Gavin Newsom did what he felt was right, but at the same time probably caved in a bit to business demands as well as the perceived needs of the people.
Did some businesses open too soon??? I think so . . . here and around the country. I mean, are tattoo parlors, nail salons and gun shops really essential? Still, I know re-opening those types of businesses meant a lot to some people, giving temporary relief to many, but it would appear we are now paying a price, here and elsewhere.
Some states – Florida, Georgia, etc. – appear to be the biggest culprits and those residents are suffering in a big way The governor of Georgia actually sued the Atlanta mayor for enforcing what I feel are necessary, life-saving restrictions.
When you look around the world, you see countries that were hit extremely hard by the pandemic, but took what to many appeared to be relatively drastic measures to protect their citizens and have apparently slowed the virus dramatically.
The United States??? Not so much. The U.S. is No. 1 but for a lot of the wrong reasons.
The fact we had very little national and federal guidance, I think, has played a major role. Dumping responsibility on governors, mayors, etc. did not present a united front and most of us have been hurt as a result. It cost us time . . . and lives.
The failure to provide health care workers around the country with the necessary gowns, masks, gloves, etc. is, I think, unforgivable.
Testing has been, for the most part, a cruel joke. You might get tested, but with results taking days, sometimes weeks, the process of “contact tracing” – which is a vital part of containing the virus — is meaningless.
When I had surgery, I was tested at Kaiser on a Thursday afternoon and received my negative result on Friday.
A select number of people – pro athletes, celebrities, politicians, etc. – seem to be able to get quick results. Does that seem fair? No.
Fairgrounds Golf Course
I work in the pro shop at Fairgrounds Golf Course. We were closed for a few weeks but we able to re-open May 4. Some courses around the state never really closed, seemingly flaunting the rules. Others massaged the rules and didn’t conform in a way they should have done.
We had strict requirements at first, like no cash, nobody in the pro shop, no rental clubs, one person to a cart, etc. although many of those rules have gradually been relaxed.
The requirement for “face covering” – still in effect — when entering the pro shop has produced some interesting results.
Most golfers have been great about wearing a face mask, although a small number feel a T-shirt pulled over the face is adequate. It’s not as far as I’m concerned.
Some have simply refused to comply, noting “you know there are other golf courses in town.” To which I reply: “Fine, see what they have to say.”
One of the most disturbing and unsettling incidents I’ve experienced at Fairgrounds occurred a few weeks ago.
A guy came in without a mask, but when I told him that was not allowed, he was very cordial and headed outside to, I thought, retrieve a mask from his golf bag.
I was stunned to watch this guy walk up to his friend and take his friend’s mask and put it on!!!
When he came back in the shop, I was honest with him, telling him I thought that was a dangerous thing to do. It was a stupid thing to do.
His response: “Whatever, you said I needed a mask.”
When I asked if he actually owned a mask, thinking that it might be in his car or somewhere, he explained that he couldn’t really see the purpose of covering hia nose and mouth.
There are too many people who feel that way, for whatever reason, and that, in my opinion and that of much more qualified medical experts, is a big problem and one of the reasons we are where we are.
Wear the damn mask . . . how does that hurt, challenge your manhood, or your political status or whatever your excuse may be. I wear a mask to protect you, and you need to wear a mask to protect me and others.
You can argue the effectiveness of face covering, but I believe it has been proven that it definitely helps, as does social distancing, washing your hands, etc. It all seems to me to be common sense.
We did not get in the situation we’re in by being overly cautious.
If you have your own thoughts on this, I would love to hear them.
Golf in our area . . .
Most if not all golf facilities in our community have experienced an increase in play on the course and on the driving range.
A number of people tell me they don’t know how long this current status of courses will last and they want to play while they can.
It is, to be sure, a day-to-day situation. Depending on whether we as a community can slow this thing will determine whether golf courses and other business stay open.
I believe that most officials are really trying to do the right thing, but many seem to struggle with what that is. Many businesses have lost employees and lost income and a number of businesses have suffered to the point they may not be able to re-open.
This primarily affects small business, many of them “mom and pop” operations that have been a part of their particular community for years.
Catching up with a friend . . .
Jessica Reese Quayle has at least temporarily found a new home for her golf teaching at Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club.
Here’s what she had to say about the move:
“As many of you know, I have been teaching golf at Oakmont/Valley of the Moon for six years. Working there has felt like my home and so many of my wonderful students live in the community.
“This year has been a challenging time with the course being closed the beginning months, COVID-19, and changes in management companies. As a teaching professional it has been extremely hard to maintain my business through the ups and downs.
“That being said, I have decided to move my lessons exclusively to Santa Rosa Country Club for the duration of the season beginning August 1.
“This decision has been a very hard one to make. I am desperately in need of stability and support from the course that I teach at. Santa Rosa Country Club has been gracious in allowing me to bring in any clients regardless if they are a member or not, and the teaching facility is wonderful.
“I hope my Oakmont and Sonoma students will come see me there for lessons — the drive is just 25 minutes from Oakmont. If you need to cancel your lesson due to the venue change, I completely understand and please let me know as soon as possible.”
In a personal note, Jessica went on to say:
“Professionally. I have gone three months without a place to teach during the biggest income months of the year. Both women’s golf schools were cancelled as well as junior camps. No clinics either.
“Everything came to a grinding halt. I love what I do and love my students, so it has been hard on all of us. The ones affected the most have been my juniors that are competing at a high level.
“When you have a tournament to work towards, it keeps you motivated, excited, and driven. Take away high school golf season, AJGAs, and all other forms of competition it leaves the juniors lost.
“Golf is a passion for many of them and while no play was in effect, during phone calls the juniors sounded depressed and melancholy. Lots of phone conversations was the only thing we could do.
“Promising seasons were cut short, and it will have lasting effects on those that are trying to earn college scholarships and need the scores to prove themselves and be recruited. I could go on and on about what has happened and the impact.
“Personally: With having two young boys, I have enjoyed the time spent with them and my husband. This year my garden and dahlia garden is amazing. I grow 61 different varieties of dahlias, it’s my hobby and passion.
“I started new hobbies as well, such as mountain biking and fishing with my 10 year old. From a relationship standpoint, it has been wonderful to sit back and watch my boys grow and develop while being able to play with them a lot. “
Jessica didn’t go into detail about the situation at Oakmont, which was confusing to a lot of people and very a very drawn-out situation. New ownership resulted in another friend, Greg Anderson, losing his position as head pro and general manager.
Jessica’s note is genuine, although no doubt diplomatic. Same for my conversations with Greg. In life, or golf instruction, you never know when you might need to find a new home, or to find a new home at an old home.
Regardless, we wish her and Greg, who may be doing some teaching at a nearby course in the not-too-distant future, the best of luck.
I recall first hearing about and seeing Jessica as a long-hitting – longer than the guys !!! – golfer at Montgomery High.
She moved on to University of Texas where she did well, and played professionally for a while.
I’ve always felt that Jessica is an excellent instructor . . . for men, women, kids, whatever.
Best of luck to her and Greg as they endeavor to make the most of the current situation.
Handicapping for dummies . . .
I came across this information recently. Most of you understand the handicapping process in golf, but I am often surprised to hear from some – especially those new to the game – that their knowledge about handicapping is a little bit misguided.
So, check this out:
A golf handicap is a number assigned to a golfer that accurately reflects that golfer’s skill level, reflecting the approximate number of strokes a golfer is able to shoot in relation to even par. The lower the handicap, the better the golfer, and vice versa.
The term “scratch golfer” is used to designate a golfer with a handicap of 0, meaning these golfers can expect to shoot even par on a USGA-approved course. A “bogey golfer,” meanwhile, will carry a handicap of 18, meaning his score indicates averaging a bogey on each of the course’s 18 holes, hence 18 over par and a handicap of 18.
The highest handicaps the USGA recognizes for men is 36, while women increase a bit to a maximum handicap of 40. A handicap of 20 or above is generally considered to be a high handicap.
Handicap is best used to serve two purposes–evening the field in scramble or tournament play and providing a baseline by which golfers can measure progress. For the former, an 18-handicap golfer may have 18 strokes docked from his final score at the end of a round, while a 4-handicap golfer may only drop four strokes, in order to even the playing field. For the latter, meanwhile, handicap allows golfers to accurately gauge their progress, as would be the case on a golfer going from a 22 handicap to a 12, thereby shedding 10 strokes off her average round.
Course and Slope Rating
Course and slope rating also factor into a golfer’s handicap. A course rating tells scratch golfers how difficult they can expect the course to be. For instance, a course rating of 72 is what a scratch golfer can expect to shoot in a given round. Meanwhile, a slope rating tells bogey golfers what they can expect to shoot in a given round.
What do you think???
A lot of golfers – from the pros to the high-handicap hackers, have been affected by the current pandemic.
I would like to hear from you as far as how you have dealt with various parts of your life, including your golf game.
Email me at [email protected] and share your thoughts. I know there are fellow golfers who would like to read what you have to say.
Let’s hear from you . . .
Thanks for your comments, questions and suggestions. I appreciate getting them and would like to get as many as possible. If you have information about anything golf-related, including upcoming clinics, activities, tournaments or sales, let me know. And if you have questions, complaints or compliments about golf in our area, I want to hear them.
If you have a golfer – pro or amateur — you know who you think would make an interesting story, tell me about it and I will take it from there. Having trouble with your game? Let me know what it is and I’ll try to get an answer for you from a local pro.
We would be proud to include you as one of our sponsors – thanks to Bill Carson at Wine Country Golf for his continued support – so if you care to get some details about being a sponsor of GOLF 707, email me at [email protected]