I'm not sure what came over me Tuesday but I decided to walk 18 holes at a hilly course in 95 degree temps with 75 percent humidity. By the end, I was practically seeing mirages, I was so delirious.
Actually, the front 9 went well, at least by my standards. Shot a 42 with five pars, my best 9 so far as a Charlotte resident. I was tired but parred 8 and 9 and felt good about how I was playing, so when I presented myself with 3 choices -- A. Go home happy with the 42; B. Grab a cart for the back 9; C. Keep on keepin' on -- A didn't seem the right move. And though I was a sweaty mess, I thought I could keep going as long as I consumed lots of fluids. Ugh.
I got through No. 10 with a double-bogey but it was the long, uphill walk from 10 to 11 that almost did me in. Not surprisingly, I went triple-double-double over the next three holes, meaning I was 9 over through 4 on the back after going 6 over on the entire front.
I got a nice break on No. 14 when construction on the men's tee area forced all golfers to go from the ladies' tee, turning a long par-4 into a 300-yarder. I carded a par and was rejuvenated a little. I then went bogey-bogey-bogey.
When I stepped to the 18th tee to begin the 522-yarder, I was beyond spent. Still, I just told myself to take some deep breaths and be happy this would be the end (hopefully only of the round, not of me). I hit my best drive of the day and followed with by far my best fairway wood and a decent pitch shot that left me about 12 feet from the hole. I ran my birdie putt a couple feet beyond the hole and then tapped in for a satisfying par.
My final tally: 42-48-90. Could have been better but it still beat my previous best at the course, a 92.
This was the first time I had walked this course and I might do so again, but not in that kind of heat and humidity. At the very least, I should have gotten a cart for the much more arduous back 9.
Still, there was a sense of personal satisfaction knowing that, at 50, I still could do something like this. I'm a wimp, sure, but not quite as wimpy a wimp as I thought.
And here's the best thing: I actually earned sympathy points from my wife even though she worked a full day and I played golf!