Did I mention that as part of my therapy for preventing flare-ups of ulcerative colitis, my doctor advised me to golf more? He said this with my wife present, which was really nice. So, I've been out the past couple weeks and played 18 holes both Sundays with practice in between. Last week, we played at Downing, which was great. This week, we teed it up at Beechwood, which as far was I was concerned, sucked.
Which leads to the question, what makes a good, or even tolerable golf course? I'm really not sure what it is. But, here are my favorite playable courses in Erie, in this order, and I'll admit I haven't even played Whispering Woods yet, so I'm going on reputation.
Playable course (in order of my favorites):
2. Erie (it's not even open and it's still number two)
3. North Hills
4. Whispering Woods (haven't even played it).
That's it... Those are the only four public courses that I feel I could pay to play multiple times and be happy about it.
Semi-playable (I could play these a couple times a year at most, without going bonkers)
1. Gospel Hill
3. Elk Valley
4. Green Meadows (the one in North East)
Beechwood reminded me of playing in a swamp or a bog. Granted, it had just rained the night before, but everything was very soft and spongy - greens and fairways. Just wasn't a fun golf experience. That said, I hate to throw these people under the bus that own it, because they seem like nice enough folk, but I just couldn't really enjoy their course.
The restaurant and service, however, I will say, was first rate.
Finally, I have felt really good after playing.... Good physical and mental workout. However, there is a dangerous side to the game, detailed in this interesting Scoop Jackson column that showed up on ESPN.com last week. It almost seems like he's writing this tongue-in-cheek, but I don't think he is. It leads to deeper thoughts about the whole sports addiction thing, which is probably an epidemic that isn't addressed often enough. (Probably because it helps drive consumerism.)
I love the line in the story when Scoop's friend is explaining how/why he chose golf over his family (wife and kids): "Golf balls don't talk back."