Lots of holiday golf, May 31, 2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Suffolk is becoming one of the best kept golfing secrets in Virginia. I've picked up the game again this year after about an 8-year hiatus so that I could witness my children growing up. My links addiction literally caused me to miss a big part of my first-born's growing up n it takes a lot of time to play golf, time I'll never get back and will go to my death having squandered.

Take a moment to wipe your eyes.

OK, it's been nice being with the kids, but they're teens and pre-teens now and starting to grate my nerves a little so now I need a little time away.

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It's been interesting what the time away has done for my game. I'm striking the ball as well or better than ever, plus I've learned how to deal better with the inevitable bad swing or poor decision. I just accept it, rather than curse and throw clubs. It's probably the realization that now at 43, I'm never going to be out on the PGA tour, and that's OK.

In short, I'm a far superior player at 43 than I was at 30, but for a lot fewer holes. I can manage 11 or 12 pretty good holes but then fatigue sets in and the shots start spraying everywhere (I shot 37 going out and 44 coming in at Nansemond River Monday).

I play most of my golf at Cedar Point in north Suffolk, but over the holiday weekend was invited to join groups at Sleepy Hole and Nansemond River. I've played them before, but only as part of a best ball tournament, so I didn't really get to "experience" them as you normally would. In those events, you never have to hit from the rough, you never have to chip and seldom have a long putt. I got to do all that and more over the weekend.

I hate to take anything away from all the work and investment that the city put into Sleepy Hole, but I was a little disappointed. The greens were hard, despite the rain, and slow. Perhaps it was a member-guest tournament that slowed things down, but the round just seemed interminable and the course was a little boring, for lack of a better word.

Nansemond River on the other hand was delightful. Even on a holiday, we seldom waited. The greens were in great condition and even though the bermuda has yet to come in, the fairways were in good shape (Playing one over on the front, I'm certain, also added to the enjoyment.) The views there are also wonderful.

But for a municipal-owned course, Sleepy Hole is pretty good and I will certainly go back (If they'll let me on after this). I know Suffolk Golf Course has a nice layout and I've never played the Riverfront course, but have heard nothing but good things. Anyway, that's five pretty good courses we have here, and something on which the city's incipient tourism efforts should be able to capitalize.