I received a call from a business acquaintance last December. Over the years we had played golf together numerous times even with his living in Iowa and me in Michigan. Despite our age difference (I the elder by close to 30 years) and golf ability gap (his index around 1.0 and mine hovering near 10.0), our shared passion for golf made our friendship natural.
He wanted to know if I was interested in joining him and his father on a golf trip to Reunion Resort near Orlando, FL. They had a group of seven Iowans and I would make it eight. We would stay at his father’s home on the Nicklaus course at Reunion. The group would prepare all meals in the home, and the cost would be 1/8 of the home’s cleaning fee and food purchases plus golf. “Yes!” I was in.
A round trip Detroit/Orlando flight was purchased with accumulated “miles” and I waited for the big day to arrive. In early February I began to receive more information. Bring $200 as the gambling buy-in, fives and tens, please. Check! There was a hot tub so bring a bathing suit. Check! They had a car service that would bring me to the resort. Check!
I figured the home would be a 4-bedroom house and each of us would share a room. Once I had the address to give to the car service I decided to “Google” the home’s location. Hmmm … I guess I had the wrong impression about where we would be staying. The house has 9 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms. Everyone would have their own bedroom with private bathroom. Check!!!
Then I received the last item of information. We would be paying 36 holes of golf each day for 6 days. 216 holes of golf! What did I get myself into? The last time I had played 36 holes in a day dated back to 2017. We played two Newport Cup matches a day for two days followed by a singles match. Back then I thought that was a lot of golf. Now, almost three years later, I was going to play three Newport Cup’s in the course of 6 days. Bottle of Advil. Check!!!!
The big day arrived and travel to Reunion went smoothly. The group ranged in age from 29 to 73 and handicaps were 18 to 0. The competition was divided into two 3-day segments with foursomes in the morning (gross alternate shot) and net stroke play in the afternoon.
Having played or practiced very little since November, I was extremely rusty and put up some horrendous scores the first three days. My partner saved me in the alternate stroke round robin matches but little else was going right. The sole positive was one’s handicap was set by the handicap we brought down (9-10 for me) combined with our first three days of scores. My poor play got me a nice fat “14” for the second 3-day competition.
Fast forwarding to Saturday, the last day, found us on the Nicklaus course at Reunion. It is the toughest of the three courses and conditions were difficult with a 17-mph wind, gusting to 25. The course apparently likes to make their front and back hole locations very close to the edge, giving us at most 6 feet of leeway. My front nine was okay with no doubles and a handful of pars. Then a I seemed to pull things together down the stretch. I found myself on #18 green with a 15-foot putt for birdie, 4 points (quota game) and the win. Sigh. I missed it right by an inch or so finished 2nd.
How did I survive the 218 holes? First and foremost, Advil. Two in the morning and two at noon. Next, the foursomes/alternate shot format in the morning did not require the same effort as 18 holes of stroke play. It served as a bit of a break. Finally, we actually did not play 218 holes. We were partially rained out on Wednesday and only played 11 holes in the afternoon. Also, some of the matches only went to the 17th hole and one ended on #15. I only played 205 holes in six days, not 218. I managed to win back $190 of my $200 contribution to the pot and made some nice friendships.
If I get a call next December, what will I do? I will let you know once I complete my physical therapy.😉