By Stefan Gestwicki
Star Contributing Writer
Some bad luck struck this past week and I wasn’t able to golf. A shoulder injury left me virtually unable to use my right arm for a few days. If you’ve never golfed before, believe me, your arms are relatively important.
That said, I’ve still been thinking a lot about golf and figured it would be a good time to revisit those goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Off the top of my head, I feel like I fell short on nearly all of them, but here we go anyway.
GOAL: BIRDIE AT LEAST THREE PAR 3s
So while I didn’t actually birdie any par 3s this year, I feel like I greatly improved on them. I hit the green more often than not, for sure. Even when I missed the green off the tee, I can recall several great chips to set me up for par. My biggest issue is leaving birdie putts short, especially on par 3s, for whatever reason.
GOAL: GET AT LEAST ONE PERSON HOOKED
I was tempted to give myself an “inconclusive” on this one, but I deserve a fail. Midway through the season, my brother, my cousin and our uncle all went out for a round. It was the first time my uncle had played in many, many years. He enjoyed himself a ton and talked about wanting to play again. He recently retired and said he has friends in leagues. I thought for sure I had him hooked again. Then, for whatever reason, we didn’t get out again. Hopefully in the April he’ll remember what a good time golf is and we’ll play together often.
GOAL: PLAY MORE COURSES
It’s so easy to say, “We should go check out course X.” Nick and I even had a time to go play Green Meadows in North East, Pa. We talked about playing Shorewood and going back to TriCounty. None of those things happened. We had a great time playing Cassadaga Country Club, Hillview, Pinehurst, Rose Brook and Vineyards, but there’s no way I can say that I succeeded in this goal. In fact, I played fewer courses this year than last year.
GOAL: BREAK 40 AT LEAST TWICE
Finally, one I passed with flying colors. I broke 40 five times this season. I entered the season having done it just once. Not only that, but I broke 80 twice, too. I had a pair of 38’s for my best nine-hole score ever. I also had a trio of 39’s. One of those 39’s could have easily been a 36 without some horrible putting luck. Every year I enter the golf season telling myself, “This is the year I’m going to be good at this game.” This year, I feel like I finally made strides towards that.
GOAL: PLAY 18 HOLES MORE OFTEN
While this is technically a success, the bar wasn’t set terribly high. That said, I definitely found the time to get in a full round several times (I don’t have an exact count, unfortunately). A handful of those were at Rose Brook, which is a wonderfully affordable 18-hole course that just keeps improving. I see myself playing there a lot next year. Then there were five or six times that Nick and I simply played Hillview twice. They technically have blue tees for the “back nine” there, but we prefer to just play the whites twice. We only played Pinehurst twice this year, but we made it 18 both times and had a blast. As noted in my previous goal, I had some success playing 18, too. I broke 80 not once, but twice (Hillview the first time, Rose Brook the second).
GOAL: KEEP CALM
I’m embarrassed by this, but I definitely had a few curses escape my lips this season. There may have been a wedge or two tossed towards the cart in frustration. We’ve all been there, right? You have a great round going and then you botch a shot, ruining the hole and a chance at a personal best score. Or worse (and probably my calmness kryptonite), you look forward to a round for days and the weather is perfect. Then you flub your way to a double bogey on the very first hole. Just thinking about it is enough to warrant a full-fledged club throw.
You’ll notice that there are far more failures in this than successes, but I found it was a wonderfully enjoyable golf season regardless. I’m holding out hope that it’s not finished yet, but we’ll see.
Until then, golf is great. Go get some.