Living in the northeastern part of the United States,November is a month that brings home the reality that golf season in the area is nearing an end. I realize that some golfers here will make frequent trips to warm weather states to keep playing in the winter months or even live the "snowbird" life and stay in the warm weather until spring arrives.
Because I don't have these options, I will keep playing here as long as possible. One course stays open until the first snowflakes fall and that is great when it is a warm winter. One year, I played nine holes on New Years Day! That was quite fun.
However, why I wanted to write this particular essay about this particular topic is that the golfer who plays in cool fall weather is a special breed. I played nine holes yesterday on a course tucked inside the campus of a local college. It is a nice little course with no par 5 holes, wide fairways and rough that isn't so rough. This doesn't mean there are not challenges, however - and golf in November comes with plenty.
One of these is when the wind picks up, like it did yesterday, the greens will have plenty of leaves present. For the serious golfer, this will mean having to clear all the leaves that have blown onto the green so a clear path is made to the cup. For a weekend hacker like me, that is too much work Just knock the ball, let it roll over the leaves, and hope for the best! That actually worked on the fifth hole yesterday By slowing down a putt I hit too hard, the leaves helped the ball calm down enough to drop in the cup to save me from a double bogey.
While this may sound bad, this is actually the time of the year I love playing the game even more often. The course is not crowded except for exceptionally warm days. Since that wasn't the case yesterday (cloudy, windy, temperature around 50) and I almost had the course to myself - didn't see a soul ahead of me until I caught up to a foursome on the eighth tee. As a golfer who likes playing solo, this was a wonderful time.
I also find that I shoot my best rounds late in the season. Maybe it's because I had the previous six to seven months to warm up for November, maybe because I am more relaxed or maybe it is just dumb luck. Or there could be another reason - the same reason why no matter what course I am playing, the best holes I usually have every round are eight and/or nine (I play nine hole rounds). Those last good shots are what are stuck in my memory and make me come back for more. The same goes for these good rounds in November. Whether it is because of a good score, a great shot that lands in the precise spot I pictured, or just having a good time outdoors instead of staying inside watching football, I treasure each time I can break out the sticks in November.