I recently returned from my family vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Back to reality, I know, but it is nice to be able to share a bit of my vacation with you.
I of course brought my sticks with me as I had planned to play a round or two while on vacation. When I arrived my attentions were drawn to the beach as the weather and water temperature were absolutely perfect. The forecast called for more of the same until it was to turn ugly Thursday night into Friday and throughout the weekend. So how can one pass on enjoying the beach all day after seeing this?
On Tuesday I decided to call the local courses as it had only been three short weeks since Hurricane Irene had thumped the Outer Banks. I wondered if the courses would even be open. The course I most wanted to play was Nags Head Golf Links since I had played there in 2004. Sadly, they were closed. When I called all I heard was a terse voicemail stating as much.
My next call was to a course called Sea Scape Golf Links and a human answered! I had a very pleasant conversation with the gentleman explaining who I was and that I was a golf blogger and inquired about how his and other courses fared with Irene. He explained to me that all the sound-side courses experienced salt water flooding which kills all the grass. That is the exact category into which Nags Head Golf Links fell. The gentleman said his course was open and playable even though it had experienced some damage as well.
As Thursday approached the weather forecast only became worse for Thursday on through the rest of the weekend, so I hit the beach in the morning and after lunch headed for Sea Scape Golf Links. I had planned to try to play Friday as I do not mind playing in the rain. Additionally, I had my new Under Armour Storm Ultimate Rain Jacket in my bag, so I was well prepared for a little rain! Most of Thursday morning though I felt a strange sense of urgency as to playing that afternoon rather than Friday morning. I think the Golf Gods were trying to tell me what lay ahead Friday morning. This is what I woke to find.
Needless to say, I was glad I followed my feelings and played Thursday afternoon! The course was beat up a bit, but all things considered I thought it was worth the greens fee.
Aside from the usual challenges a new course provides; layout, hazards, and things of that nature, I discovered that I could not hit my 3 wood off the fairways very effectively at all. By the third hole I decided to leave the 3 wood in the bag and opt for my 6 iron instead. Wow! What a difference! Due to the loose, sandy soil, I was able to make excellent ball-first contact causing the ball to rocket off the club face. Had to repair a few ball marks as well!
As dusk fell upon me so did the biggest challenge, mosquitoes! All week they had been vicious at dawn and dusk. I began to quickly realize I may have made an error in my timing as far as playing mid-to-late afternoon. Even though I was doused in DEET bug spray, it did not deter these southern flying beasts! They were even able to penetrate my Under Armour Heat Gear Compression shirt underneath my UA polo. This time the “Armour” did not apply!
I did try to use the stress and discomfort those buggers caused me to work on my ability to focus. I must admit I was not at all successful. The last 4 holes or so were complete throw-a-ways because all I could think of was getting out of there and taking a bath in Cortisone!
When I woke up Friday I was not only thankful I did decide to play Thursday, but I was in awe of how angry the ocean was that day. I had never seen surf like that in my life. I can only imagine what it looked like three weeks prior when Hurricane Irene rolled through the Outer Banks. Here is some video I took of the surf, but believe me, it does the reality no justice.
In all it was a great vacation. My only regret being I was unable to play Nags Head Golf Links again. With that said however, I know the reasons why I was unable to play that course again and I wish for them a speedy recovery along with everyone else on the Outer Banks that have been effected by Hurricane Irene.