Some of the best swings come early on in the golf season. You haven’t made any bogies or doubles or triples, and so your head is clear. That very first tee shot might be the best swing you make all season.
I held on to this thought for nine holes — the first front nine of the season at the Aspen Golf Club, the Muni. Not once did the idea of scoring well enter my mind. Throughout the round, someone in my group was playing the Talking Heads, Rolling Stones and David Bowie. My thoughts rarely were on golf, only on the music and the black snow clouds coming in from the west.
We finished the front nine around 5 p.m., and after adding everything up, I found that even with a double on the par-5 seventh, I came out with a 4-over 39. I’ll take that all season long.
Walking toward the parking lot, I asked Kyle the Party Reptile if he wanted to keep playing. He hesitated, explaining that he had a work banquet that evening.
“I’m good either way,” I said. “It might be better to just quit.”
“Let’s keep playing,” he said. “I can play a few more.”
Instead of making the turn, we headed back to the front to play 1, 2, 3 and 18.
Another good thing about early season is that there’s no one on the course. All the second-home owners and vacationers are playing in Arizona or Florida or Nevada, and us locals have all 18 to ourselves, to bounce around from hole to hole, from tee to green. Hell, you can even make your own holes. Maybe a tee shot over the trees from 12’s fairway and 7’s green? There’s no 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. cut-off times. It’s wide open until mid-June.
The first time around on 1’s tee box, I sent my tee shot over the bunker on the left into the middle of the fairway. The second time around, however, I forgot how to swing a golf club in the middle of my takeaway and literally shanked it. Shanked my driver.
“We should’ve just quit,” I told Reptile.
There’s a lot of golf left this season.