|From Out of the Rough
by Trent Modglin
Battling the elements and rust
On the 13th of April something didnt feel right. Check that, a lot of things didnt feel right. First of all, I wasnt used to playing the first round of the year in the middle of April. Part of that was my fault and part of it belonged to Mother Nature. But after spending the last five years in college in the Sunshine State, the idea of a four- or five-month layoff seemed foreign to me. And it didnt take me long to realize I didnt like it.
Its a difficult task, getting back in the swing of things. Literally.
Those first few rounds after the winter layoff can feel awfully awkward, and the season opener feels even worse.
Ever seen a new colt after its born? The poor thing is all gangly-looking and staggering around on its legs for the first time, wobbling like a sailor on leave. Well thats what my game looked like that day. Muscles I havent used since November were wondering what I was thinking, and my head wasnt far behind. But much like that colt, I knew that eventually Id be running like the wind. It just takes time, effort and patience. But I couldnt help but wonder just how long it would it be until I felt comfortable again.
I found myself hitting 5-irons short and 6-irons long. I ended last fall with a slight fade on certain shots but began this season with a bit of a draw.
I almost forgot what stingers felt like, but as the pleasant afternoon by the lake turned chilly with the sun fading behind the skyline, stingers became part of the norm late in the round. And I didnt miss them one bit.
Even though it was the beginning of the year, course courtesy was in mid-season form. One of the guys I was playing with leaned over to mark his ball, which sat about three feet from the cup. I told him not to bother and to go ahead and putt out. It didnt really matter if he stepped in my line. Courses are beginning to slowly round into shape by mid-April, but they can still be a bit rough in places. As if my game, which sat under four-plus months of winter dust with most of the rest of yours, needs courses to be a month or more away from prime shape. But thats what you get with the two seasons we have in Chicago. And I figured I had enough kinks to work out during my season opener that spike marks were the least of my concerns.
At times early in the new golf season, with the weather as questionable as my short game, the task of getting back in a groove seems insurmountable. We all know its not, but its just a like a plane ride next to a screaming youngster or a guy who took his shoes off for the first time in days. We have to go through it in order to appreciate the final destination that much more when we get there.
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