Sandbaggers Anonymous

For Golfers and non golfers. Sandbagging isn't just a golfing set of tricks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Is Global Warming messing up my golf game?

Is Global Warming messing up my golf game?

By J.J. Gowland

Is global warming an inconvenient truth or the reason my golf game is suffering?

Up here in this area of North America, for more than half a year, we beg for warmer weather. It’s barely forty degrees outside. Last night I had to turn on my gas fireplace to warm up the living room. If my gas fireplace is on inside the house, it’s much too cold for Ontario’s fair weather golfers like me to be outside.

Consequently I’m having a difficult time climbing onto the Global Warming Wagon.

At this point, I don’t put the blame for my lousy golf skills on Global Warming but I set the culpability squarely on the cold shoulders of Mr. Winter. He was late getting here.

We all know if even one person is late there isn’t much hope of a meeting starting on time. Mr. Winter’s snowfall didn’t land in my backyard until February — at least two months late. I suspected that Mother Nature’s offspring, Miss Spring and her younger brother, Prince Summer, and we all know the kid brother follows her around, would also arrive late. After all, Mr. Winter is driving the SUV.

Everyone is so busy these days why would I think that Miss Spring would be on time? I was delusional to even daydream about her being on time. I suspect that Mother Nature and Miss Spring were out shopping for… gloves and snow boots with the kid brother getting lost in the games arcade, probably playing hockey. l can’t explain why the hockey finals don’t occur until June. Since it’s a cold weather sport Mr. Winter is likely driving the NHL bus, too.

Mr. Winter probably drove the family to the shopping mall in their SUV and while waiting for them, he kept the motor running to stay warm. It’s even more likely that he ran out of gas. We are all delaying emptying our wallets at the gas station until the last possible moment. With the cost of gas, we either buy gas or golf balls. Depending on the weather, both items will let you skid into places you’ve never been before.

Consequently because Mr. Winter arrived late, which delayed the arrival of Ms Spring and little brother Summer I haven’t had much time on the golf course. Therefore my golf skills aren’t up to my normal levels for early June.

On Monday morning, June 4, the weatherman predicted, “Severe thunderstorms, caused by Global Warming”.

That evening, Jim and I were scheduled to play our two ball alternate shot match against Ron and Susan*. Both were coming to the golf course from work, hopefully to arrive before 6 p.m. Up here in the North Country we enjoy long evenings but the sun was scheduled to disappear and darkness will hit land at 8:50. Teeing off after 6 p.m. means we’ll have to hurry through the match.

At 5:55 Ron and Susan phoned the pro shop from the highway.

“We’re caught in gridlock! But we’ll be there!” They arrived at the golf course about half an hour later than scheduled.

At 6:20, as we teed off, the sky was lightly overcast and that meant that we wouldn’t have a typically brilliant Ontario twilight. Unless we hurried every shot we wouldn’t finish enough holes before dark for at least one couple to win the match.

As we played the second hole the cloud cover broke and the sun cast shadows on the lush fairways and new greens. But timing was still very important so we were giving 2 foot putts and moving quickly to the next tee.

On the eighth hole the sky became packed with grey clouds.

On the 10th tee we faced the western sky that now had battleship-grey cloud cover. Tree leaves were facing up to catch the rain. We were certain the clouds were loaded with rain.

We knew that if the match took more than 12 holes, we’d be heading west again and getting further away from the clubhouse. Concerned about forthcoming darkness and impending rain we hoped that someone would win the match outright by the time we completed the twelfth hole.

After we teed off on the 11th we heard rumbling in the distance. It seemed to come from the west and from the south. The noise was all around us.

I asked Jim, “Is that thunder or transportation noise along the highway?”

With confidence he said, “Trucks.”

After our second shots on that hole the truck noises became louder and more frequent. It was a little like standing in the middle of a ten lane bowling alley on league night.

I said, “That trucker in the sky needs a tune up.”

We tied the 11th and rushed over to the twelfth tee and as I pushed my tee into the ground, a back-shop employee on a golf cart approached us and asked, “Did you hear the siren?”

Jim said, “Nope. The trucking thunder is too loud.”

The young lad explained his visit. “A major storm is moving in fast from the west. We’re bringing everyone in off the course.”

Ron and Susan climbed onto the pro shop golf cart and Jim and I headed back to the clubhouse on our golf cart.

There was no way we’d finish enough holes that evening to declare a winner. We knew that once we were in the clubhouse we’d discuss how and when and if we would reschedule. Due to handicap differences we had to give our opponents 6 shots, and Jim and I were down 3 but Jim is confident that we can muster our skills and at the very least tie the match, eventually.

When lightening cracked, cold rains pounded the roof and water poured over the eaves we were safe and secure inside the clubhouse, sipping beer. After a golf game, good, bad, or even incomplete, everyone knows there’s nothing as tasty as a cold beer.

The four of us started to chat about Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth”. The images and facts are all believable, but there are a lot of us northern golfers shaking our heads. It’s barely warm enough for us to climb onto a golf cart let alone on a Global Warming Wagon.

Ron said, “Here’s another inconvenient truth: Bio-fuels for use in motor vehicles are created from barley. Barley is also used to produce beer. As demand for bio-fuels escalates, the price for barley goes up and the cost of beer will go up.”

Jim said, “The price of beer is going up?”

Susan said, “Global Warming is to blame for that too?”

I said, “Global Warming”? Bah humbug! Mr. Winter is driving the bus.”

And that’s my excuse for my lousy golf skills in early June.

P.S. We’ve decided to play the final holes, 12 thru 18, next Monday (June 11) evening. Maybe by then my June golf skills will have come out of hibernation.

(*names have been changed to protect the innocent)