A rather strange day on the links today. Played in the Mass Senior Games, a rather low-key event, only about 35 participants in the golf, but at a very nice course, so I figured why not. Got to the course, find out the playing partner I'm sharing a (required) cart with has just arrived, but no hurry, he's had a fall.
Yup, a fall, and this isn't even out on the course, just in the parking lot. Must have tripped on a curb, tore his pants, a scrape on his forehead. But's he's good to go, except he also seems a little spacy. And we chat going over to the range and at some point he lets on he had a heart attack of some sort a week ago, and I think a stent put in. And the doctor said golf was OK.
So we hit some balls to warm up, and then we're heading back the 30 yards to the cart and he stops because he says he's feeling light-headed. And I ask him for the first of many times, Are you sure you should be playing?
No problem, he says, just have to be a little careful. And about then he discovers he left his putter at home. And then he asks me if I have one of those little eyeglass repair kits, because he banged his glasses when he fell and they aren't staying on right. Can't help him there, though he does borrow a putter from the pro shop.
Off we go along with two other OFs. My partner manages pretty well, but things are still strange. On maybe the fourth hole he says he got a 6, and then adds that he's never had a 6 before -- this being so implausible I assume it's not a lie but a reflection on his current mental health. And when I correct him and say he actually got a 7, he says, well, he's definitely never had a 7 before.
And he is slowly but steadily doing worse. Walking very slowly. Complaining of terrible thirst (and when we get to a cooler, he polishes off a bottle very quickly). Not seeing very well or judging distance well, he can't tell on the green who is away. And I suggest more than once that it might be a good idea to go in. Because I'm afraid he's going to croak right in front of me.
On the 7th he buries a ball deep in the woods. Never lost a ball before, he says. Huh?
On the 8th and 9th I suggest several times that it's probably a good idea to just play 9, and gradually he seems to be coming around to the idea, especially as his golf is getting worse and worse, and he has stopped more than once what he was doing to complain about being light-headed.
The 9th can't come soon enough. A couple of passable shots and then he has a carry of 100 yards over a marsh, and in two tries he doesn't come close, and then he just says that's enough. And I drive him back to the pro shop and get someone to help him, and hopefully check him out before he goes to drive home.
Strange. And actually quite a nice fellow too. Under most circumstances I would have felt very put upon to have to deal with him, but I guess I was concerned enough about his well-being (and really not wanting him to die right then and there), that it kept me rather mellow. And after 9 holes my own score was in fact even par.
But that reflects strange item #2. Because they were putting a bunch of OFs on a rather hard course, and because this was a qualifier for making the National Senior Games next year in Cleveland and there was a fixed score for each age group for making it, well, the way they figured out to make this course the appropriate difficulty was to have us play from the forward tees, what used to be called the ladies tees. And the course was really short. I think just under 5,000 yards, with the front 9 the short half. So even par was good, but not unreasonable.
I dropped my partner off and then went back to start the back 9, and I had an ominous feeling that my partner had in fact been my good luck charm, but now I was on my own. But my good fortune/play continued but for a three-putt double bogey at the 11th and a while later I was standing in the middle of the 14th fairway, one over for the day, 75 yards to the green, and then it all fell apart. Laced a low hard one over the green into the tall weeds, and by the time we were done an hour later I had gone 36-47, the cut-off for Cleveland being 81. I hadn't wanted to go to Cleveland, but....
I guess some people orienteer like that, good, good, good, good, disasters. I guess I should be thankful it generally only happens to me in golf, and not in O' too. And I guess it must be hard-wired. I will never be any good at golf, not that I will stop trying because the moments of fun are so much fun, just as some people will never be any good at O', not that they will stop trying either. And at least in golf, so far, and in contrast to my running ability in O' which has gone to hell, the ball still goes just as far as ever, though that will come to a stop before long. Best enjoy it while I can.