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Daydreams of fairways and greens

February 01, 2004|by Tony Mulieri

When I close my eyes and daydream, I'm standing on the ninth tee at Black Rock preparing to hit my drive.

It's a summer evening - always Thursday - and the sun is setting on the golf course.

It's warm and humid and the sun looks like someone has taken an orange wafer and pasted it on a blue posterboard. I hit my drive and start heading back toward the clubhouse.

Thursday night golf.

When my eyes reopen, reality hits me in the face like a snowball. It's February, buddy. It's freezing outside. Ice is covering the roadways. My car looks like it was used in a mud-bogging event. I can't seem to get warm.

We're in the depths of winter.

Last week, we ran a photo in the paper by Ric Dugan of four white-tailed deer gathered near the third hole at Black Rock. A winter foursome. And they didn't even need a cart.

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Wildlife, that's about the only thing you'll find on the course these days.

But then I start to rationalize the situation. Today is Feb. 1, and February's a short month. Heck, the pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training in a few weeks.

When ESPN starts talking baseball, I start thinking golf.

Thursdays can't be that far off.

This will be my third season of playing golf on Thursday nights. A bunch of us show up at 5:30 at Black Rock and play nine holes for big stakes - a dollar goes to the player with the low score. Another dollar goes to the guy with the fewest putts. If you three-putt the last green, you have to give everybody who showed up that night a buck. They call that a snake. I've had more than my share of snakes.

But it's not the dollars or the snakes that draws me to the course. Thursday night golf, for me, has become a social outing as much as anything. It's a chance to play golf, shoot the bull along the way and enjoy the summer nights doing something I enjoy.

Although I will admit it's pretty amazing how hard guys will play golf knowing a dollar is at stake. You would think we were playing for $1,000 a hole.

I want that dollar.

The usual suspects include myself, Jack, Larry, Mike, Don, Todd, Dave, Mike, Bob, John, Joe, Bob and Shawn, or any combination there of.

Two Thursdays ago, some of the guys met at a local tavern to discuss the upcoming season and use that as an excuse for getting together on a Thursday night when golf was out of the question.

Guys will look for any excuse they can come up with to talk about golf, if they can't play it.

When you play golf on Thursday nights, it seems like the weekend is starting a day early. And golf is all about having positive thoughts. You have to visualize your shots - play course management. You have to let the game come to you. You have to keep grinding.

Yeah, right. Swing and hit it. That's about as close as I come to visualizing my shots. I just hope that I have my eyes open when I swing.

We're not very good golfers, although every once in a while, one of us will get hot and put together a decent round. They say when that happens you're in a zone. We're not usually in a zone. In fact, we're usually zoned out.

But that's OK.

It's Thursday, it's warm and we're on the golf course.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Tony Mulieri is the managing editor of The Daily Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7647, or e-mail him at tonym@herald-mail.com.

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