Spring for Northern oobers
By bkuehn1952 on 2/17/11
We asked for readers to send in blog posts- and Brian "56" Kuehn didn't disappoint. This is his 13th article to oobgolf. He's probably going to expect to be on our payroll soon... You can read the other 12 here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
This past weekend was the first in several months where the temperatures crept above freezing. Like the mysterious trigger that tells the lemmings it is time to run to the ocean, the start of the Spring thaw kicks off my preseason golf rituals.
First, long before the snow is gone, I will typically examine my grips. Sitting in front of the TV and watching the Crosby (aka: AT&T National Pro Am) while I strip off the old grips has become a time honored tradition. Later, in the evening, the new grips will be slipped on in the basement workshop (wives can be a bit persnickety about solvents and the family room rugs).
Next in the rota will be the soft spike examination. I am sort of a slob so often I have to clean off a bunch of accumulated dirt from the last several rounds of the prior year. Once the dirt and goose poop are wiped away, the worn and torn cleats are twisted off (often with the aid of a vise grip). The fast twist cleats are supposed to be easy to remove but that has never been my experience.
A quick check of the golf ball inventory will soon follow. An old range bucket in the basement holds many of the balls acquired over the prior season (i.e. the ones I did not lose already). I will sort through them, consigning the off-brand, scuffed or rock hard spheres to the shag bag. The survivors are set aside to meet their fate once the snow clears.
After the routine maintenance is performed, a shopping list for the new season is prepared. Is the golf bag starting to get worn around the edges? Time to swap out the 4-iron for a hybrid? Will a new putter finally allow me to score like I should? (No, but it is a good excuse to buy another putter). Hours are spent scouring the various golfing websites along with trips to area retailers. The best prices and hottest equipment must be tracked down and catalogued.
The annual Golf Show is the single most important marker of golf season here in Michigan. Every year several thousand of us golf-starved zombies are drawn to the show where we wallow for several hours in all things golf. Held on the first weekend of March, some years I have battled blizzard conditions to get there. Another year I played 18 and then stopped at the show. No matter what the weather, once the golf show arrives, the golf juices are flowing like the sap in sugar maples.
Then the “golf watch” begins. On the drive to work each day, I keep track of the receding snow on the lawns and fields, trying to judge when some of the local courses might think about opening. Once there is more brown & green showing than white, I’ll start to detour past the local muni, hoping to spot the elusive first sign of Spring, … no, not a robin … flag sticks in the holes. After what always seems like an interminable wait, the happy day will finally arrive. Breathlessly I will announce to my bride, “Huron Hills is open!!!! I will be back in 5 hours.”
So what do the rest of our northern Oobers do once the icicles start to melt? Share some of your routines. Those of you who live in warmer climes, it won’t be too long until hurricane season! Ha!
This was written by Brian Kuehn, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.
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Have to love the golf show. Someone needs to invent a wader boot golf shoe that can get you thru a round and keep the mud out for those early spring rounds
Today should be a holiday in Michigan, 54 already! We skipped right over the 40's, probably means a foot of snow is coming
Last year, I religiously checked the local course websites, waiting to see if they had posted their rates and specials for the coming season, and to see the words "WE ARE OPEN." This year, I have taken a different approach. Last night, while watching TV, I went through the list of regularly played courses and found them on Facebook, and/or signed up for their email list.
I've been shopping online (browsing, really) for new clubs. I'm in the market for a new set of irons, and though I'll be buying at a local shop, I like to know about what I'll be paying, and will try to get them to match the best price I find online.
Regripping will be done eventually (new irons or not). My wife bought me a vice for the garage, and once installed, new grips will be the first order of business.
A trip to my local "Play It Again Sports" store will be in order soon. You never know what you will find.
As has been my routine, the first couple rounds will be at a Par 3. They are usually the first course to open, and it's a nice tune-up after a long winter. Hopefully, I'll get my uncle and cousin out this year, since I strong-armed my uncle into new clubs last year.
Nice Article BKuehn
Seems so fitting a ritual for us in the greater up-nort'
I read the article in the narative of Marty Stouffer's Wild America... haha
March 13th is what were being told as an open here - crossing the fingers!
This winter in CT has been one of the worst on record. I still have 2 feet of snow at my house just lingering. I wouldn't be so pissed about it if I didn't play golf. I just see the snow as a golf deterrent mocking me, and actually giggled like a school girl when I saw one patch of dirty grass the other day on the way to work.
Like Brian, I'll use the next month or so to take stock of my inventory and solace in some new club purchases. I picked up a ping g15 4 wood and 7 wood this week. I put them on our fireplace in the living room so I can occasionally stare at them.
I'll probably head east to Cape Cod as soon as possible. I actually got an email that Dennis Highlands (Dennis, MA) may be open tomorrow as we have a couple of abnormally warm days up here. Can't make the trip up there yet, but I'm hoping for early March.
My good golfing buddy is playing today's first round here in St. Louis. Makes it really hard to be at a desk with a window this morning.
1st and most important: Renew OOBGOLF addict subscription. i will go thru the golf bag, throwing away junk from the previous season, do an inventory on the necessities tees, balls, gloves... Then i will take my clubs to be re gripped. Clean the clubs again making them look as new as i can. restart my skycaddie subscription. then clear some snow find a good spot of grass and take my junk golf balls and hit them into the cornfields. then just watch golf 24/7 and imagine how awesome my 1st round is going to be!
SD Charlie says:
Great article! Not to brag, but I am fortunate enough to live in San Diego, so playing all year-round is possible. My brother lives in Michigan, though and is missing golf like crazy. Here's to hoping MI gets some golfing weather sooner, rather than later.
@Banker... Thanks for the idea. I need to clean out my bag. I'm sure I have old receipts, worn balls, broken tees and other stuff that really doesn't need to be in there.
I did all the preseason routine last weekend: cleaned up all the pockets of old receipts, wrappers, and rock-flite balls.
Today in Chicago is above 50 degrees... and guess what: i've just got an email from Fresh Meadows golf course saying that they are open starting today... if the temp doesnt drop too much and it won't snow this weekend, i might be out there! Spring is HERE!!!!
Perhaps inspired by this thread, I called up a local golf course. They said "hope to be open by next wednesday." Honestly it's been so long that I'm not really feeling the urge pressing right now. Kind of like when you go hungry for such a long time that the feeling eventually kind of passes. I guess because I haven't seen the course in so long, it will seem kind of strange and unfamiliar at first, like a long long lost relative. But probably once the first round is underway, the emotions, the sheer joy will eventually flood over me and I will break down in a heap of tears somewhere on the 5th or 6th fairway.
I am not alone I guess. This all sounds eerily similar to my routine. 2 weeks ago, I cleaned out my entire bag. Old receipts, loose change, old gloves, divot repair tools, r9 wrench, and cleat wrench were all re-organized. New balls in the top pocket, waiting for good conditions, all others in the bottom pocket. Made sure to clean my golf towels. Then I cleaned my clubs, and then my shoes. I got lucky and was able to walk 9 last weekend. Hope you all find the course soon. I am playing 18 tomorrow in Kentucky, then going to the UCONN U of L basketball game.
Going to North Alabama to get in my 6th and 7th rounds of the year. Only weekend I did not play was because I was not missing playoff football games. Oh, wait, is this bragging?
Well i guess i'm a northerner here in PA. I've got most of what you said done. I'm slacking on the new cleats though. I have to get some maybe this weekend. it's really starting to melt here. I wish i had off today, i would have totally gone. Someone would have been open. At the very least the driving ranges would have opened the garage doors. I feel a little stale. I need to hit some golf balls.
i love golf i wish i had all the money some people have to change clubs every year i still have mt talormade driver 5 wood and 3 wood same grips from 1991
in southeastern ohio the temp. was close to 70... i was like damn, i'm running behind on the list to get,to do,clean,on and on.. i was actually kind of stressed about it, so i called my club up to see what is membership is this year, got a groove sharper in the mail, sharpen the wedges.. had the bag cleaned out a couple of weeks ago, but still got to change the spikes, re-grip the clubs, order balls... time,time, there is never enough time... hell yea, bring on spring... (o and that was great Article, got me even more pumped up.)
Living in Auckland, New Zealand - we golf all year. Just have to love that :-) Rain is the only dampener, but that doesn't keep us off the course. Sorry - just had to share...
I usually play a lot of Tiger Woods on the Wii during the winter, it definately gets me through the winter. I was lucky enough to have off today and got play 18, it was amazing!
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