November 7, 2018

It feels different this year.

Maybe it’s because of the past year and all the crap I went through with “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”. Or maybe it’s my dad’s move to retirement living and seeing what the next stage of life holds for those of us who have entered our ’60s. Or maybe it’s just the result of time spent kicking back on the back patio while nursing a Hemingway daiquiri or glass of Pinot Grigio and ruminating in my mind a picture of what retirement might look like for me if I’m able to hang with my present occupation for another four years. More likely, it’s a combination of each. At any rate, this is the first year that I’ve truly started to think about life after retirement and how I want to spend it.

Lone Tree Golf Club, Chandler AZ

Sure, there’s a lot to consider as far as our finances go, and I think we’re doing a very good job in that regard – or at least we have these past few years. But this post is about a more whimsical, though not unimportant, aspect of what my retirement might look like, and that’s my golf game. What is it, exactly, that I want to get out of it? In the past, subconsciously or not, I’ve always arranged my golf calendar around Goodboys Invitational weekend (the third weekend in July). I would set a goal for where I would like my handicap to be come that weekend, start working on my game in, say, March or April, then after Goodboys, take a break until perhaps November and then work on my game a bit in anticipation of a Vegas weekend in December. Then, after that, give the clubs a break until the next March or April and start the hamster wheeling turning all over again.

Raven Golf Club, Phoenix AZ

Of course, following such a lurching forward then stopping approach to my game has made it hard to develop any kind of consistency. On the other hand, I don’t see myself becoming like the father figure on “My Three Sons” and have a weekly Saturday morning golf game with the fellas down at the country club, either. I think what I’m looking for is a balance between wanting to improve and setting a general goal of a 20-handicap over time, not something to achieve by this date or that date.

Stonecreek Golf Club, Phoenix AZ

Now that my dad is in digs where I can’t just come and go as I please, the reality is that I’m probably not going to be able to make visits back to Massachusetts longer than a weekend here and there. Which means, more than anything else, it’s time to commit myself to being an Arizona golfer and embrace the game the way it is played here in the Valley of the Sun. But how? I’ve played enough courses around here to know which ones I like and which I don’t, and I don’t think I could ever see myself belonging to a club where I’m playing the same damned course over and over. And now, with the uncertainty of when and where Goodboys weekend is going to be played (not to mention my lack of enthusiasm for anything that doesn’t involve New England and the third weekend of July), I need to find a new way to challenge myself in a way that I can enjoy the game and mark my own progress.

Superstition Springs Golf Club, Mesa AZ

So here is what I’ve come up with as an idea: just like the PGA Tour, The Great White Shank is going to play his own version of a wrap-around season. The season will start this Saturday, November 10, with rounds of golf played every 2-3 Saturdays at venues I’ve come to enjoy playing. I’ve chosen six courses for their variety of play, esthetics, and level of difficulty:

Superstition Springs Golf Club, Mesa
Raven Golf Club, Phoenix
Papago Golf Club, Phoenix
Lone Tree Golf Club, Chandler
Trilogy at Power Ranch, Gilbert
Stonecreek Golf Club, Phoenix
Ocotillo Golf Club, Chandler

Papago Park Golf Club, Phoenix AZ

These courses will serve as normal stops on my Tour. Trips to Vegas or Massachusetts will be considered my “majors”. Regardless of what the Goodboys ultimately decide, the end of my season will be the third weekend of July (historically, the weekend of the Open Championship and Goodboys Invitational weekend). And that weekend, whether it involves Goodboys or not, will be set aside for a special weekend similar to the FedEx Cup playoffs, but condensed into a single, three-day weekend. If I’m not playing Goodboys, it might be a trip to New England or perhaps San Diego or Vegas or some other interesting locale. Either way, it will be the close of The Great White Shank’s golf year, with a break until Arizona winter sets in and the golf courses around here are readied for winter play.

Ocotillo Golf Club, Chandler AZ

Throughout the year, the only goal will be to enjoy my rounds and track my progress towards my 20-handicap goal. If I make it, fine, if I don’t, all well and good. And to keep it low-key, I’ll be playing my orange balls and ditching the golf shoes in favor of sneakers. (Out here in Arizona you don’t really need them, anyways.)

Trilogy Golf Club at Power Ranch, Gilbert, AZ

I think it will be kind of interesting to watch the season ebb and flow in the way I will have set it up to go. You see, just hitting balls and playing golf here and there, while enjoyable, isn’t interesting enough for someone as internally competitive as me. I need highlights along the way to anticipate, goals to shoot for, progress to track. And in this way, I can chart a golf season out with a goal to strive for that has a finite beginning and an end. I’m kind of looking forward to it.

Hopefully, if I can get myself a tee time, a new golf season starts this Saturday. And, whether y’all like it or not, Goodboys Nation weblog readers will be able to experience it all, the highs, the lows, the “where the %$#&^ did that one go?” right here.
I can’t wait!

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 01:03 | Comments (2)
  1. Hey, don’t forget the “Thanks for stopping by, bro. Let’s play some golf” round as we wend our way in and around Arizona beginning in 2020!

    Heck, if you’re coming to Kristen’s wedding next year, bring your clubs. There’s a course just a few minutes from here I’ve been dying to try out.

    Comment by Dave Richard — November 7, 2018 @ 9:31 am

  2. 2020 is still a little too far away for me to think about. I just hope I’m alive and around by then!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — November 7, 2018 @ 7:30 pm

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