Thursday, July 14, 2005

Day 5: Druid Hill Park; Baltimore, MD

Wednesday gets off to a tough start. I'm scheduled to pick Todd up at the airport at 1:04, so I think I might play Calvert on my way (College Park), but the traffic between 66 and 495 is horrid, so it takes me about 40 minutes to drop off the house key, and I figure I don't have time to rush it.

Todd's plane gets in on time and there is almost no wait for his bag (although it takes me a good 15 minutes to find the car in parking garage). Todd delivers a message from Sherry (please no killing and burying of bones)--no worries there, I think. I usually have only one homicidal impulse per trip, and Todd was blissfully absent for it.

We discuss whether to go straight to Newark, DE and play the course there or whether to play Baltimore, go to Newark, and play that course in the morning. Todd suggests that we play Baltimore so that we know we'll have plenty of light and time, and I concur. The downside is the directions are in the trunk, so I figure I'll get them out as we stop for lunch. This turns out to be a trickier propositon than it sounds like, because once out of the airport, the highway wants to put us in the harbor tunnel which is going to pop us out on the other side, so we have to get off by Oriole park and, fast food is hard to find. We tool around a bit, eventually find a McDonalds (Ken--fruit and walnut salad; Todd--1/4 Pounder with Cheese [or Royale with cheese as they say in Paris]). Todd gets the map figured out and we arrive at Druid Hill Park in good shape.

Druid Hill Park suprises me on several levels. I can't recall playing in a park in a city's downtown area before, so I'm surprised at how big the park is. Also the PDGA web site said the course was created in 1980, and normally courses that old predate the Innova plastic and are, hence, shorter. Perhaps Druid Hills was at one time too, but most of the holes have alternate pin placements and tee shots, and DHP is listed as 5980 feet long. (In comparison, Dorey Park is 4169; Burke Lake 3363).

Normally, I don't enjoy longer courses as much, but I kind of like Dorey. Perhaps I'm basking in the glow of Todd's arrival; perhaps I'm just driving better. I miss some 2 putts I should have made, but I make one longer one and several good drives to make long holes easy threes. (DHP has 7 holes over 300 feet long and 2 holes over 400; on the longest hole [11], I have a makeable putt for a par three that I shank.) There are not too many birdie opportunities, but there are a lot of old growth trees and some aesthetically interesting holes. One hole (6?7?) is an longer downhill where you have to throw over an access road below you, miss a tree for another slope and move get to the third tier, with the pin tuck in a corner by a road that is OB. Not too many biride opportunities here, and I miss my best chance which is on hole #1, but I don't take any 5s, and I manage to shoot a 59.

Odd music synchronicity story #2--as we were leaving the park and driving through Baltimore, Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" came on which mentions Baltimore. I hope it is not ominous, since the next line is "I took a wrong turn and I just kept going..." I think it could be, since my sense of direction sucks, but Todd's a good naviagator and helps us get out of the downtown maze that is Baltimore.

I was reading de Caussade a bit yesterday, and he writes:
"There is a time when the soul lives in God and there is a time when God lives in the soul. What is appropriate to one of these conditions is inappropriate to the other. When God lives in souls, the must surrender themselves totally to him. Whereas when souls live in God, they must explore carefully and scrupulously every means they can find whic may lead them to their union with him."

Golf, for me, (or any discipline) is like that. There is the constant need to balance being in the moment and not over-analyzing when things are happening, to give yourself to the moment that you are in and be in it, not directing it but participating it. Then there are times where it is hard, where things are working, and you have to break it down, figure out what is happening and do the work of getting back to the place where things are happening naturally. My putting was not happening naturally today, but the drives were, and I was able to not ruin a pleasurable round by focusing too much on the one mode to the exclusion of the other.

Druid Hill Park:
3-3-3 3-4-3 3-3-3 OUT (28)
4-4-4 3-3-3 4-3-3 IN (31) 59

Day Five Tally:
Courses 6
New Courses 2
States 3
Friends now sharing the journey 1

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