Birdies - For me, a golf round never seems very satisfying unless it includes a birdie. My 8-10 handicap certainly attests to the fact that I am no birdie machine but somewhere around 2/3’s of my rounds have an under-par hole. When I am headed to a mediocre score, a birdie at least gives me one hole where I can say I managed to get things right. When I pitch a shutout, it hurts a little.
Birds - Speaking of birds, parrots and parakeets often escape from their owners. In Florida, they actually stand a decent chance of surviving. A lone tree on the left of the 3rd hole of the TPC Prestancia (Sarasota, FL) became a haven for many a pet bird on the lam. It became known as the “Parrot Tree.” Any time I played that hole, the racket created by all the birds was amazing. I never heard any English spoken but there was one parrot with a pretty good Spanish vocabulary. I have no idea what it was saying; perhaps that is a good thing. It is surprising that the birds didn’t learn to cuss, what with all the bad examples playing golf nearby. And while we are on the subject of birds, I still don’t really know how to tell an anhinga apart from a cormorant. Both birds are commonly found around golf course water hazards and to my untrained eye, they look remarkably similar.
Wind - Ever had a round where it seems like every hole was into the wind? We recently played in Texas and while I am sure there were a few holes where the wind was helping, everyone agreed that well more than half the holes had the wind in our face or quartering into us. I think courses designed for carts are more prone to this. A walking course must allow a certain amount of “out and back.” When everyone is in carts, it is possible to have three holes going east to west and then include a west to east cart ride back to around the starting point. I am sure course designers work to prevent this but there are always days where every long par 4 seemingly is against the wind.
Tournament Handicap Index – Our club is going to institute a “Tournament Handicap Index” this year for club tournaments. Our software vendor can extract all “T” scores posted by our members over the past 2 years. In most instances, all the “T” scores will be from our own events as few members play outside tournaments. We know the “T” differentials reported for our events are correct because we post the scores for the members. Our handicap committee will no longer need to badger members to post outside rounds or harp on “ESC”. Our sole concern will be to monitor non-club “T” scores and develop fair temporary indexes for new members. It will be interesting to see how this change affects the results.