I’ve grown fond of our short February trips to Fort Myers in part because (a) we force nicer weather upon ourselves and (b) we get to play a little golf in February – something that wouldn’t happen in Cleveland, Ohio, regardless of any possible miraculous weather system moving in on the shores of Lake Erie because all the golf courses are closed until the spring. There’s a lot more to the trips down south but those two reasons are easy and relevant ones to point to, here. However, today’s golf outing would test the limits of those statements in every way. (Signal whiny Floridian to come to the microphone!)
Golfing at a pre-scheduled afternoon tee time of 4:00 PM, the concern weeks in advance was whether or not it would be too hot to play comfortably and what clothes to bring. Today, after a week where the weather struggled to stay in the ‘mild’ ranges, our concern took a 180 and was more pointed towards what to wear golfing that would keep us warm enough. The sun was out and it was making for a pretty day – warm in the sun, cool in the shade. Then the cold front came… bringing with it steady 20-25 mph winds, clouds and a significant drop in temperature.
We wanted to hit some balls at the driving range to see what would happen with the wind. With it blowing right at our faces we quickly found out that it wasn’t about hitting anything long or well but more about hitting it square and straight into the teeth of the wind. I did okay on the driving range. As it turned out, that’s pretty much where I should have stopped.
I lost two balls … in the pond just in front of and to the left of the first tee box. For some reason I changed my swing to something more of a punch stroke to get the ball low and straight into the wind. That turned out to be a disaster and it was to get no better from there. I carded a 10 on the first hole, followed by a bogey 6 on a par 5 that would prove to be the highlight of the day. After a disastrous 7 on a par 3 at number 3, which included another lost ball, it was clear that the wind had taken its toll on my mentally as I just wasn’t swinging the club right at all. If we needed any more proof the 9 on the par 4 at number 4 sealed the deal. From then on, scoring was optional and I was reduced to just finding any reason to keep swinging the club. By this point, the sun was blocked by the clouds and the temp had dropped to a level where we started trying to figure out what the wind chill would be because we were all so cold.
We know Natalie finished with a 50 – that’s the only score we completed for the round. I know I had 50 – but I didn’t have a score for a par 5 and a par 4 along the way. So I’m sure I would have ended up with at least 64 and that would have equaled the worst round I’ve ever turned in. I lost 9 balls in total, today, and I hit a house – the ROOF of a house – while blading a shot with a PITCHING WEDGE… that’s nothing short of ridiculous. And I didn’t even get to light up the cigar.
If it weren’t for the fact that there are palm trees on the courses at Heritage Palms, I would have sworn we were playing golf in October back home in Cleveland. It was cold enough at the end to lose feeling in your hands and feet. Our noses were running, eyes tearing up from the wind, hands/wrists were stinging at any mis-hit… it was pretty bad.
But HEY! We were golfing in February in Florida! Right? Good times.