Since I have taken up the game of golf in my early 20s, I have usually played alone. The round that started it all was at the Cougar Point course on Kiawah Island, SC; played as a onesome. My golf trip to Florida in 2004, which included two days at the wonderful World Woods Golf Courses was a solo venture, though I was paired up in each of my rounds.
I joined the Ohio Valley Golf Association in 2005 as an outlet to meet new people and play courses around Cincinnati, OH. Over the years, this has been a decent option. What I found was they were more interested in tournament golf than having a sub-section that would play more leisurely rounds. Due to this, OVGA rounds take longer than typical golf rounds. To be fair, it’s tough to get on a public course around 11AM and finish in a decent time (less than 5 hours).
At the end of the 2008 golf season, I decided I was going to do a different approach. Loosely based on the “Top 100” blog and later inspired by Chris Clouser’s A Month of Saturdays, I was going to play as many great public courses in my immediate tri-state area. Ambitious perhaps, but the will was there. Using the O(hio)-IN(diana)-K(entucky) acronym, I founded the oinkgolf.com blog.
I did okay in 2009, hitting courses like Dale Hallow and Houston Oaks in Kentucky, Longaberger and Shale Creek in Ohio, and Bear Slide in Indiana. In 2010, I’ll admit I haven’t done a good job. Outside of Trophy Club (Indiana) and Boulder Creek (Ohio), I haven’t played many of the courses I wanted to this year; notably Eagle Ridge and Purgatory. Most of that is probably bad planning on my part. Then again, this summer’s weather wasn’t favorable to driving 4-6 hours roundtrip with a 4-5 hour round of golf on top of it.
What I didn’t have going for me was people to play with. Occasionally, I’d get paired with other people, but for the most part, these were solo rounds. My acquaintances always are coming to me for course recommendations, but when I want to play one, they shy away. Part of my mission with the oinkgolf.com site is to share the wealth of great public golf we have in the Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky area. If I can personally share the experience instead of with my posts and photos, even better.
2011 will come around and I’m not sure what to do. I’ve looked into joining a private club in the Cincinnati area. There are 4 really good clubs around me that offer decent rates and dues. Unfortunately, I think current circumstances make none of these options viable at the moment. Perhaps 5-10 years down the road…
Perhaps I need to reflect that golf, for the most part, is a battle of the self. The game is mostly mental and requires a good amount of concentrate. With the exception of foursome/alternate shot, you are sorely responsible for your score. Playing partners can make you more relaxed or offer up swing tips, but ultimately you swing the club.
I’m going to get in as much O-IN-K golf as I can before the weather turns. I also have a trip to New Mexico which I will also write up on. But where I go in 2011 is anybody’s guess.