New England has been very charming, and very welcoming thus far. The title of this entry refers only to the inferno like temperatures I’ve been struggling against. At one point during my round yesterday afternoon, it reached an incredible 96 degrees in Keene, New Hampshire. I expected heat on the trip, after all I am traveling through the southern states during July and August. However, I didn’t expect this type of heat wave this early in the trip. If anything, I will sweat off some pounds? Hope so. Haven’t seen a scale since day 1, but I have to be down 4 – 5 pounds already. That’s a good thing! Anyhow, I’m hoping it cools off in the next few days here, but the forecast looks bleak for that request. Oh well – soldier on and drink tons of water. Tons. Like thousands of pounds of water. That’s the plan.
My round yesterday afternoon was played on the south course of Bretwood Golf Course, in Keene, New Hampshire. While the rate was a little higher than I was aiming, at $52, the course was located on my path East, and was wide open for the afternoon. I played my first solo round of the trip, and was able to finish in a blistering 2 and a half hours. En Route to Bretwood, which has 36 holes itself, I made the conscious decision to play the easier of the two courses, and to not kill myself with the choice of tees I would be playing from. Don’t hate on these decisions – after 18 holes played in the 90+ degree heat and running around taking care of some other trip related business, I wanted a nice, relaxing, thought free round. No need to frustrate myself with an overly challenging experience – I will have plenty of those to come.
My round yesterday convinced me to take it easy with the 2nd round on my two round days. I had a nice peaceful round, and played from the pedestrian white tees, which measured just 5700 yards. The course rating was 67.7, the slope was 117. Take all that into account when you reflect on my score of 82. Certainly a nice score, but not quite as impressive as an 82 at some other courses. Still, after my 90 in the AM, it was encouraging to play some better golf in the afternoon. I also picked up my first two birdies of the trip, and both were putts of less than a foot!
In addition to playing a little better, I had my first test of integrity on the trip. Hole 2 was a 512 yard par 5, with a creek running across the fairway. I didn’t know how far it was from the tee, but looking at the card made it seem like 300+. Now I had never played there before, and couldn’t even see the creek from the tee, so I gripped and ripped. The problems were threefold: the wind was at my back, I got a great bounce, and I absolutely smashed the drive. As it turned out, the creek was about 315 yards from the tee, and I had found it. How easy would it have been to use the old “never played here before, killed it, not taking a penalty stroke” approach? Pretty easy. I didn’t, and proceeded to play the remainder of the hole as you would for a par: hit an iron to 50 yards, pitched a wedge up there to 15 feet and two putted for my bogey. Golf polices itself, and I’m an okay constable. While I have been known to take a 2 foot gimme, cutting strokes right out of the score is weak.
After my round, I made it across the state to Manchester to visit with my Uncle Bob, the patriarch of the Feeman Golf Dynasty. The man is a poster child for the wonders of golf. Born in 1923 (Yes, he is my Uncle… my Father was born very late in my Grandparents’ lives), he enlisted in the Army and served in the Pacific theater in World War 2 before returning to the states and taking up employment as a shoemaker. He worked in various shoe mills for decades, and enjoyed all that 20th century middle class American life afforded. What a time it was. He was the 1966 Intervale CC (Manchester, NH) Flight B Champion – and he passed the massive trophy on to me last summer during a visit I made to his place on the banks of “The Mighty Coe” en route to Fenway. His wit is quick as ever, and it was great catching up with him. As he was the first born Feeman son, he was always known as the “#1 son” in the Feeman family. After half an hour of talk, he decided that if and when I complete the trip, I’ll be the #1 Feeman. Uncle Bob, I’d be honored to take the torch and run with it. I love ya.
Alright – back on the road it is. I made a couple calls to some courses down in the Haverhill, Mass area, and am going to have to haul some serious ass to get down there to beat the leagues. Hoping for a quick round at Biddeford Saco Country Club, then a nice unobstructed ride down 95 to Haverhill.
Here are a few pics from my round yesterday in Vermont:
Myself with Tom Bedell. TomBedell.com
Tom’s friends Jim and Prentiss with me on the first tee.