Friday, July 31, 2015

NOTHING SERIOUS BUT A LONG STORY




That was the week that was, the first week in August will also be a hot one, temperature wise. Congress will be in recession having passed stop gap laws for the Highway. Lesniak has announced that he will not run again for the State Senate but campaign to succeed Christie. The Council does not meet until the 10th.

Contrary to the impression; I am not obsessed with Christie for President; only annoyed by the Ledgers constant publication of anti-Christie stories and editorials especially when they are making some slight distortions for nit picking.

Nor are my blogs on the Iran deal because I favor Israel, but rather due to the fact that historically and all the available information sujesting that it is a bad deal. I will return to this subject later on this coming week.

Many many years ago as a sequel to my WWII history I wrote an autobiography for my family. I recent came across it on some saved files and I would like to share with you some of my personal non-medical non community activist experiences especially with golf.

My wife, Helen, and I had no desire for the “Country Club” social life. However, in our mid 30s we began to golf.
There were then more public courses available then today. In the summer, we would often after dinner on nights that I did not have office hours before dark play nine holes on the nearby “West Nine”.

This very short wide open 9 hole course owned by the then restricted Plainfield Country Club had been part of the club’s original eighteen, but was not up to standards. Also, these holes were on the other side of busy Raritan Road. Therefore it was open for the use of the proletariat.

I also would play at Ash Brook. This very long county course had been built on swamp land, thus some of the fairways were always spongy. There was one par 5 hole, the 7th, that had a long fairway from the tee to a sharp dog leg to the right, followed by a short uphill shot to the green. It was possible for long ball hitters to drive over some trees to land just below the green.

Unfortunately, for me, I had a love affair with the pond that was at the angle of the dogleg. I was too stubborn to stop trying.

I would play there, almost weekly, with two of the “colored” physicians on the hospital staff. Both were dedicated golfers with low 80 handicaps and a lot of fun. One would hook every tee shot the other would slice. Even from the rough or the woods they were always on the green in regulation, and were good putters. I on the other hand never knew where my ball was going. I would be lucky to break 100. But we enjoyed each other’s company.

In the twenties, the Plainfield Country Club would not accept Jewish or African- American members. In fact it remained restricted even into the eighties. This prompted a mostly Jewish group to organize the Prescott Hills Club. It was situated on what had been farm land on the Scotch Plains side of Cushing Rd. between Leland and what is now Kevin.

After the “crash of 1929 it had gone through bankruptcy and been acquired by private owners. By the end of WWII it was a poorly maintained long 9 hole golf course. The owners unsuccessfully attempted to reconstitute it as ‘Netherwood” a private club but soon opened it to the public.

We would play there until it was sold for a large sub-division development. The greens were in such bad shape that ‘winter rules” applied for puts. Anything within 2 or 3 feet was a “gimmy”.

Another 18 hole privately owned public course, Oak Tree, was in nearby Edison. It had several interesting holes including a par four that had a short 50 yard drive through a “shoot” in the trees to a fairway that was a sharp dogleg to the right. I could not drive over the trees, as any good golfer should be able to do. I did however make a habit of hitting the trees lining the “shoot”. By the 80s, it had become a county course.

In the summer when at the lake, Helen and I would go to Schroon Lake Village where there was a 9 hole public course. It was unique. There was a long uphill par 4 first hole bordered on the right by a dirt road that led away from the lake and up the mountain. To the left of that green was the tee for the par 3 second hole, that could not have been more than 100 yards, long. However, there was no fairway, just a 9 iron or pitching wedge drive over a canyon to a postage stamp green. Needless to say, in our hands almost all tee shots landed in an impossible resting place at the bottom or else were way over the green into impossible rough.

The 3rd was a par 4 from the elevate tee, which offered a beautiful view of the lake, to a precipitously lower downhill fairway. Next there was a series of six par 4s one next to the other over the crest of a hill. It was a blind drive on these 6 holes. This part of the course was wide open the direction altering for each hole.

I lay claim to the fact that I probably am one of the few if not the only one to play Bermuda’s exclusive Mid-Ocean Golf course and the Castle Harbor course at the same time. Bob and Jean Reis and ourselves were vacationing at Castle Harbor and were playing on the Hotel’s golf course. My hook drive landed on a Mid-Ocean Fairway which was parallel to the hole I was playing. I took two shots towards the Mid- Ocean tee in order to reach the Castle Harbor green.

One summer we drove to Prince Edward Island once again with Jean and Bob Reis . Helen and I had been to the Island on our 1949 trip and had fallen in love with the beach. We were aware of the adjacent beautiful provincial golf course.

The front nine was inland and hilly with elevated greens and deep traps. In front of one green there was a trap so deep that to get out it required a shot backwards to the fairway. Being in the deep rough or woods on the front nine was not too bad, since when looking for lost balls the girls would pick and eat strawberries. This course had a long par 5 with a postage stamp green on the side of a hill. In front of the green, there was a deep 30ft wide valley that had to be crossed. Behind and slightly higher than the green was the original “Anne of Green gables” house. This also served as the club house.

The back nine was a true seaside links. The nine holes ran counter clockwise around a peninsula jutting into the St Lawrence Bay. We often played with a Canadian whose left arm had been amputated. He was great company and a better golfer.

On that trip, we played other courses included one at Moncton. This course had a hole which was a dead ringer for the tree hole at Oak Ridge. It required a drive through a narrow fairway surrounded by woods. Twice my tee shot hit a tree landing at least twenty feet behind us.

Being a dangerous golfer, it was probably best when I quit playing. The impetus for that move occurred when I took a mighty swing at a ball on a fairway in an attempt to reach the green in two. Unfortunately, the divot traveled farther than my ball. Also, I could not straighten up, and since I had a chronic low back disc problem, it was better to never play again than risk permanent injury.

We both had enjoyed our golf and never lost our temper at a bad shot. In my approach to the game, after I made a good shot I would wonder what I had done right. I never could put or figure how the ball was going to go. Whenever someone would ask me what I shot, I would often say I broke 100 or 90 etc., adding “but I quit after the second hole”. Helen was an excellent putter. She also accomplished something I never did.

One day, while I was working, she had gone alone to the West Nine. Upon her return she informed me that she had gotten a birdie! Apparently she played with two men one a priest and on one of her drives her ball had hit a bird flying across the course. The priest was there to give the bird its last rites.




2 comments:

  1. Great blog post, Doc! I always find your autobiographical pieces fascinating!

    Rebecca

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  2. I also enjoy reading about your local historical knowledge.

    ReplyDelete