The trip has begun, and what a start it was! I departed from Buffalo just slightly after the sun made it’s daily appearance in the eastern skies, and I followed our celestial giver of life to the East. Kudos also to my friends Marty, Paul and Tim, all of whom arose at the hour I did or earlier to make it to my first round; such actions are those of dedicated friends, and these three dudes are all the definition of that. Love ’em all.
Made it to LeRoy CC in time for our 7:30 tee time, and after learning that Marty had paid for my round (seriously – what a guy), and shaking the hand of “Old Man LeRoy,” we were off!
Paul demanded that the ceremonial flipping of the tee to determine hitting order on 1 would be foregone, and that I would lead things off. Teeing up from the white tees, which measure just over 6100 yards at LeRoy, I smashed the first drive of the trip 300 yards right down the middle! I parred 1. Then I parred 2. Then 3 and 4 were parred as well! What sort of start did we have here? A pretty good one indeed. Don’t be fooled though – I was driving the ball well, but was really struggling with longer putts. My new strategy of forgetting all about strategy on those 3 footers and just putting the ball in the hole was working flawlessly though, and anything was possible for the round. I bogeyed 5, but saw this pleasant omen just beyond the green:
In case that’s hard to read, it says “Let It Happen Here” on the LeRoy CC billboard. It is mere coincidence that I subtitled my goals entry Let It Happen? Well, yes it is mere coincidence. But it was a very well timed one. Hole 5 of round 1, and the sign is there. Let. It. Happen. Let it happen, Alex.
As it turned out, I made the turn at 39, a blistering start to my trip, and well on pace for my best round ever at LeRoy. As I mentioned in Two Days Away, it wasn’t the front 9 I was concerned with, but the back. Not only had my last two front nines each preceded miserable back nines, but I have historically not played the back well at LeRoy. Imagine the great sense of relief as I tapped in my two foot bogey putt on 18 for a 79! A 39/40 split for the first round was exactly the type of round I needed to get the trip off to a smashing start. A very tight round, I hit 9 greens in regulation, making 11 pars and 7 bogeys during the day. No doubles! What a glorious round!
Not only did I play well, but I got to play the round with my 3 most reliable golfing buddies of the past few years. We’re four dudes who weigh in at a total of over half a ton, and on good days, our group total is below 400. All that being said, we have four complementary personalities and playing styles. Paul is even keel and very laid back. Dude didn’t even keep score today. Tim is the eternal beginner of the group, having picked up the game three years ago at the age of 32. What he lacks in golfing skill he more than makes up for with his dirty sense of humor and quick wit. Marty is the guy in the group that I always thought deserves to be a better player. He is an ambassador of the game, and breathes golf. He just isn’t that good. I swear I’m going to buy him a few lessons for Christmas this year. His love for the game deserves a nice drive, and I’m going to make that happen for him. He is unwaveringly encouraging on the course, and I’ve lost count of the times that he has done his best to calm me down after a few doubles or a triple. Love playing with these guys, and I hope that, contrary to their sentiment after 18, they all at least duff the ball around a few times while I’m gone. Please guys, PLAY THE GAME!
The golf and friendship were top notch, but the weather left a little to be desired. It was hot, and it was humid. We had driven beyond the benevolent protection of Lake Erie, and were deep within the continental humidity that plagues the Eastern United States during summer. Of course, I’m sure today’s 92 degrees would feel comfortable to me in a few weeks as I trek further south. Heat is inevitable, and I welcome it. The sun sustains our lives, and if a little heat is the price, I’m agreeable.
None of the outlets in this particular McDonald’s work, and my computer is now beeping at me, enraged that it will soon run out of battery power. Quickly then, I must finish this entry.
I did want to get off the interstates during the trip, and today it was by necessity rather than choice. An accident, spill or some other malady closed both lanes of I-90 just East of Utica, and several warning signs were posted as far west as Syracuse. Route 5 it has been since then. I was half-tempted to take Route 5 across the entirety of the state, but I must eventually get to Brattleboro, and so I’m hopping back on the interstate shortly.
State routes are just great though. I stopped at a lovely little park just off of Rt 5 in Oneida Castle, NY for lunch. Trees gave shade while a glorious white gazebo, adorned in red, white and blue flags, awaited picnickers. A young couple showed up, as did two young women and one of their sons, brothers or other young male relatives. It was about as American a scene as I could’ve imagined. There were, however, no hot dogs or apple pie.
This isn’t how I’d prefer to end this, but the computer is going. More later…