July 11, 2018

Been quite the active week here in the Valley of the Sun as far as the weather goes. The weather folks said last month that it was going to be an active monsoon season this year with a lot of dust and a lot of rain – given the fact that it’s not yet the middle of July and monsoon season goes through the better part of September, I guess they weren’t just whistling Dixie.

Take Monday for example. During the day all the talk was about that really bad storm that hit the west side of the Valley on Sunday night. 50 MPH winds and a downburst with even higher winds. You look at this story about what happened in Buckeye, and it’s pretty incredible.

Look, I love a good thunderstorm just as much as the next guy, but out here I’ve learned to respect – and fear – downbursts (also known as microbursts) and their damaging winds akin to small tornadoes. Just a couple of years back we had a microburst hit just on the edge of our subdivision just five minutes away from us. Big mesquites taken down in a row from west to east. And where we were? Just some rain and wind.

On Monday I had to take Tracey to physical therapy for her shoulder, and on our way there her phone was already showing a severe thunderstorm warning for storms moving east to west. By the time I got there, you could hear everyone’s phones beeping with the warnings. I checked my phone and there not only was a severe thunderstorm warning, but a dust storm warning as well. I looked out the window of her place and it looked like the end of the world was upon us – a wall of dust moving ahead of the blue-black clouds of the thunderstorm itself:

As the storm rolled through our house didn’t get the worst of it, but it was pretty impressive, nevertheless.

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On Tuesday it was kind of cloudy and muggy, the sun peeking through a gray-brown dusty sky. I wanted to work on my game so I headed out to Superstition Springs for a small bucket and to work on my short game. By the time I got there the sun was gone and a cool-ish kind of ill wind was whipping across the driving range. The range was completely empty, the lush green grass around the putting green from just a few weeks ago now down to a weedish scrub, the quick green sheen of a rocket-fast putting green replaced by aerated srub. That’s what two weeks of 110-degree temperatures will do to you. I grabbed a small bucket and went to work. Specifically, I was looking to reinforce my three principles (3/4 swing, keep the lower body quiet, finish up on my back toe) and then reinvent my short game for something like the 4,327th time. It was ten days from the Goodboys Invitational weekend and the time for crewing around was over.

It all felt kind of foreign to me. The wind alternated between a warm, muggy wind from the south and a cool, damp wind from the east. There was no need for a hat – every time I put it on my head the wind would take it and send it rolling across the empty bays to my left. I worked my way through the bucket and felt like I did a pretty good job sticking with my principles. And with the hard wind working right to left, it would have been fun to try some knockdown shots, but instead I worked on aiming right of target and letting the wind take it in. I hit the ball good enough for what I was trying to accomplish, then turned my attention to my short game.

Towards the west I could see rain falling and the familiar monsoony-smell of creosote bushes in the air. After playing around with a few different club angles at address and ball positions, I settled for what I felt most comfortable with and playing the ball in the middle of my stance instead of off my back foot. Towards the end I was hitting twenty-yard pitches across the pitching / chipping area when one of my downswings caught a clump of grass behind my ball. I felt a sharp twinge in my lower back and knew I had better stop immediately. Rain had started to fall lightly anyways, and I could smell and taste the dust that came with it.

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As soon as I got home it was thundering to the south and west, but not close to us. But you could tell there was more dust. I peeled the clothes off me, poured myself a glass of Pinot Grigio, and dipped my cranky back into the pool. You could see the dust off to the west, and the palm trees, wine glass and coral-colored posts of the patio against the gray clouds, so I snapped this picture:

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It’s late Wednesday night and we’re getting a garden-variety thunderstorm outside. Not too much wind, some occasional thunder and lightning, and some additional rain – something no one around here will ever complain about. My back is bad – if 10 was as bad as it could get when I first hurt it a month ago, right now it’s about a seven. It’s really hard to move so I’m trying some muscle relaxants and see what I can do to get on some anti-inflammatories before I head back to Massachusetts on a Friday night red-eye. I would like to hit a small bucket and work some more on my short game on Saturday ahead of playing golf on Monday and Thursday before Goodboys Invitational weekend a week from Friday through Sunday, but right now, to quote Frank Zappa, I figure the odds be 50-50 that I’m gonna take a chance on that.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:48 | Comment (1)
1 Comment »
  1. Your weather is crazy this year. Someone posted a video on one of the Facebook sites I frequent of rain and hail coming down in the middle of a duststorm.

    Comment by Dave Richard — July 12, 2018 @ 1:13 am


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