Mahina's Journey - Practice Round with Michael
Golf is golf. You hit the ball, you go find it. Then you hit it again. ~Lon Hinkle
March 9, 2012 - My first day in Northern California I woke up leisurely, drifting in and out of sleep
In my nights of “Golf Shopping” I have found some great bargains and have been stepping up my golf attire. Some of my new outfits are just fabulous! Seriously, I love my Addidas’s/Ping long sleeve zip full neck, that I got at PGA National Palm Beach Florida. Pretty sweet! I have been sporting a pair of golf pants with the slim cut, black & grey plaid from the Greg Norman Collection. Combined with the Calloway Hyperbolic Dri-Tech shoes, I looking pretty sharp! I do still rely on my ChefWear for the more “fun” look!
Before heading out to Shadow Lakes, I needed to get some motor oil for SAVORY. She always runs hot and on long trips guzzles a quart or two. I filled the Volvo up with the clean new oil. She was very happy to be lubed up properly, even knowing that when we returned to Portland, she would be going in for an oil change and 105K diagnostic scan.
Onward, to the golf course. My tee time was booked for 11:30, so I hit a bucket of balls and did my usual warm up routine. I spoke with the starter at the first tee box and said I was here for a practice round, since I would be playing in the weekend Tournament for the Diablo Valley Amateur Event. He asked me where I was from. I told him, “Portland Oregon, my friend! I drove 750 miles yesterday, to be here today.” He laughed and wished me “good luck” in the Tournament. We chatted a while longer so I could get some of his insight on the course and how it was playing.
I was putting on the practice green with an older gentlemen and there was a young man standing with his bag waiting to be called up to the tee. I figured that we were going to be playing together. The starter informed me that the young man, Michael would be playing with me and the other gentleman and his partners were teeing off in front of us.
Michael was a long lanky tall teenager of 17. Michael had the day off from school (Friday.) He told me he was home schooled and that every day but Mondays was a day off. Really? No, Michael was kidding. In fact, quite the opposite! He was self-learning via on-line programs during the morning hours, and then working for his Dad’s HAVAC business in the afternoons. It just so happened that his Dad gave him the afternoon off, so he decided to get some golf in. I enjoyed Michael’s honesty and self-awareness of what direction he was going. I asked if he was going on to college. No, his response was. I am going to a trade school in Phoenix Arizona to become a trained and licensed Heating and Cooling specialist. That way he would return to the family business and eventually take over for his father. Right On, little brother!
We hit it off and enjoyed hacking our way through the undulating, sloopy, rolling dog legs left, right, up, down and all around. Good thing I had a power cart. I would have been huffing and puffing after the first few holes. I offered Michael a ride any time he felt the need for a rest. The day was beautiful nothing but sunshine and blue skies.
I tried to map out the course, as best I could, taking down notes on the slope direction and hazards to be avoided and other little nuances of the course. I was struggling with the “reads” of the greens, in relation to what the slopes presented. Normal breaks will fall towards the “valley” floor and Mt. Diablo is the upslope reference. I found that, in most cases, this was not always accurate. It depends more on which area of the “tiered” green surface your approach shot lands. There seemed to be an average of about 3 different tiers and collection areas per green.
I did my best staying focused, but the views from the course were stunning, especially near dusk, Mt Diablo just lights up, brilliant, deep red to purple hues. By the time we rounded the 8th hole, Michael had slowly been making progress in his game. He saw his Dad a few holes in back of us. He laughed and said, “No wonder he gave me the afternoon off, he wanted to golf too!” Like father, like son, they say.
It was a refreshing experiencing playing with Michael. He has inspired me to stay focused to what matters most and don’t waste time with all the other bullshit. Did he say that? Or was it me? Either way, it makes good sense, darn good sense. Michael left me at the 9th hole and thanked me for hanging out talking with him. I thanked him and wished him the greatest of success in his travels.
I continued on alone from there. Now I was able to play several balls and get some practice shots. I worked my way through the challenging, elevated back 9. I was determined to play well, this weekend. If only get I could some sleep. I knew I needed to rest to be able to play well on these types of courses. Enough of these excuses. Get ‘r done!
I finished up the round about 4:30 pm. Since I really didn’t keep score, I figured I shot somewhere in the mid 80’s. I would have to do better than that to win. I went into the club house and ordered a beer and started to relaxed. It seemed as if it had been a long day, or was I just really tired from not getting any quality sleep. Go away excuses! Leave me alone!
Since I had some time before dinner, I drove over to the Deer Valley Country Club to have a look around. My start time was set for 7:49 am and I wanted to buy a yardage book inside the pro shop. $7 later, I took off for the Hampton Inn. When I arrived, I checked the Jacuzzi temperature and it was perfect. I took my things inside, got on my shorts, filled my water jug up and sunk into the water. Boy, do I love a good Jacuzzi. Did I ever mention that? I just love Jacuzzis. I did some stretching exercises and massaged my aching back and hands. I lounged around for a good ½ hour and then took a couple of plunges into the swimming pool. That felt quite refreshing. I was starting to think about food. I was going to diner at the Bergez home in Walnut Creek and they were expecting me around 5:30 pm.
The drive over to see Chris and his wife, Renee took only about 30-minutes. I took a quick shower, dressed and headed out. I used the GPS to navigate to their house. It worked like a charm getting there. I brought along a nice bottle of wine and Kristen had sent along some of her famous berry jam and Macadamia pancake mix.
The front door was open and I just walked in. Renee was in the kitchen cooking. Chris was out back in the yard. They have the coolest old house, with lots of charm. I know that they have filled their home with the Love of Christ. The rooms were very cozy and warm. Chris and I sat down first. I filled him in on the Prostate Cancer Tour 2012 and why I was in his neck of the woods.
Since I had an early start time of 7:48 am I would need to leave at a reasonable time. We ate dinner and shared a glass of wine. Renee made a beautiful full salad, brown rice, sautéed Swiss chard, and roasted chicken. Everything was just delightful. We shared our stories of Faith, God, Christ and life. We covered a lot of ground in just a few hours.
My relationship with Chris and Renee goes way back. I was one of three high school friends who was invited to Chris and Rene’s wedding, over 31 years ago. Here is proof that God exists and blesses us personally. Their wedding took place on a Saturday with a church service, followed by an off-site reception. The three of us, Brad, Dave and myself were about 20 years old at the time and didn’t really know anybody else there. The weather was overcast, with light drizzles of rain and fog mixture. Not the nicest of weather for a bride to be. As, the guests finally gathered inside, the ceremony began. We were sitting near the back of the pews. The pulpit was of normal size, which had a large stained glass relief window behind the wedding party. The bride came down the aisle in a full white train flowing behind her. Chris looked kind of nervous but happy.
The lighting in the church was dark, due to the clouds outside. By the time they got to the “vows”, it seemed as if it were getting a little lighter inside the halls. Then all of a sudden, the sun blasts a hole in the clouds, directly in front of the stained glass window. Beams of sunlight were shining down upon these two believers. The whole audience let out a sigh of wonder. Brad, Dave and I looked at each other, to confirm what we just witnessed, was an Intervention from God. Awesome . . .
It was time to start my way back to the Hampton Inn. I would be coming back the following day, after my first round of golf, to spend the night. Dan (his brother) and his wife, Niokia were going to join us. I tried to flip the GPS direction back to Brentwood, but I couldn’t read very well, and ended up getting off track. What took me about 15-minutes, and should have taken 5, to get onto Hwy 680 east, was aggravating at best. But once I was back on cruise control, it took only about 30 minutes to get back to the room.
I got my outfit ready for the morning, brushed my teeth, and decided to take some Melonomin and Advil PM to help me get to sleep. I set my alarm for 6 am, plus I called for a “wake up” call for 6 am too. It took me about 1-hour to drift off to sleep. I thought that the drugs were kicking in, but I tossed and turned for most of the night, and I really never got a good stretch of rest. This did not bode well for my first day of the tournament. I need my three dogs on the bed and my wife to get a good night sleep!