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Breezy Point

Local Golf
July 22, 2017

Botany Tips For The Golf-Obsessed Dad
D.J. Piehowski's post about Jordan Spieth's record.
+ click to enlarge
D.J. Piehowski's post about Jordan Spieth's record.
The receding hairline, the green jacket, the first dad photos - striking.
+ click to enlarge
The receding hairline, the green jacket, the first dad photos - striking.
By Steven Pease

You haven't lived until you've played 18 and still found the reserves to mow the lawn. You might know the routine: You've just logged a round in a shade over four hours (thanks, non-governor cart!), and you return home - full heart, sore lumbar, can't lose.

That is unless you didn't get your yard work in before your Saturday round. There's seemingly nothing a beautiful wife hates more than extending your time out of mind (and away from true Dad Duty), than essentially demanding that you simply must mow the lawn after golf. And weed wack (every other week). And, oh yeah, plant some new bentgrass hybrid in your customized backyard putting green.

You thought I was talking about just any old lawn? Hahaha. No, no, no, my friends. If you're anything like I was (I'm a recovering golf-obsessed botanist), the addition of two kids will put the prioritization of perfect lawn into perspective. What was once lush, now is mangy. The bigger the kids grow, the higher the grass seems to get. And much like the USGA's parched approach to Pinehurst's native wiregrass found at the Opens in 2014, brown is the new green - and this certainly holds true in my household.

Yes folks, long before I balanced the taming of a teething 2 year old with time spent perfecting my yard I had a nice, green ... green.

The Roll Out
The year: 1994.
The main characters: Me, rotary push mower.
The goal: I could turn my backyard into a putting green.
The reality: It takes a helluva lot of watering to keep a green alive.

Inspired by a story I read by Dave Pelz, and my fellow golf-polo-wearing band geek Ben Anderson who built a green of his own, I decided I'd send away for a DIY green's kit and build my very own backyard putting green. Forget having to bike to my local muni or hit my mom up for yet another ride to the course - I was going to build my own green like a boss.

You know how Ralphie's Red Ryder BB gun arrived and it was the single greatest day of his adolescent life? We'll, for me (aside from the day my ill-fitting, oversized Greg Norman Aussie straw hat arrived), the most memorable package I ever received was my very own Green In A Box.

Ingredients included:
* 10 lbs. of bent grass seed
* Pin and flag
* Holecutter and cup
* Meticulous technical instructions on how to build (and not over-water) your green to become the next Phil Mickelson.

My glorious green grew in and lasted a matter of months until I abandoned the project in favor of the clean-cut sheen found on Blackhawk Golf Course's practice green - where I would hone my short game - the single respectable part of my golf game to this day.

But what's lasted is my pursuit for the golf-course quality lawn. And by golf-course quality, I want to emphasize more of the golf course aspect than quality. If you work remotely, out of a home-based office / you're a green's keep / you're an empty-nester - sure, you've got a shot mowing the perfect, cross-cut green argyle backyard that's in midseason form in late April. But if you're anything like me - a golf-obsessed dad who opts to spend more time digging it out of the dirt than planting anything in it - your yard becomes more goat track than Golf Digest Top 100.

Still, in a way, my lawn has become a homage to the great courses of the world.

Pebble Beach Fairway Grass can be found in my front yard. The ryegrass, fescue, Kentucky bluegrass overseed provides a hardy, all-season connection to American golf's greatest public course. While my wife nixed the idea of an expansive, yellow-pansy silhouette of the contiguous United States in our front yard planter, the pink Azaleas found in an unperfect row in my backyard garden are the closest I'll likely ever get to reaching the (presumed) perfection of the heirloom flora found at Augusta National.

When it comes down to it, these days I'd rather spend time on the golf course (or more recently with my son on the putt-putt course) than hand-trimming the hedges. But after I play 18, and do my best to summon the energy to mow the yard on those late afternoons, I can still see a mirage of that mediocre putting green in the perfect spot - to the left of my apple tree and flip wedge from my back door.

Danny Willet: Dad-Golf's New Poster Boy
Danny Willet is the man. Or moreso, the Dad. The 28-year-old Englishman was the last man to commit to the 2016 Master's field because of the impending birth of his first child (newborn Zachariah was born a week before the ceremonial tee shots were hit). But he seems like a standup, savvy English gentleman. One I admire, not only for his courage to consider skipping the world's greatest golf tournament to be there for his wife and the birth of their first child.

In the moments before Jordan Spieth's bogey at 17, cameras captured Willett FaceTiming with (I assume) his wife after posting a come-from-behind 5-under 67 to beat the now perennial American favorite. What it must have felt like to know you've just won golf's biggest championship, and could return home to hold your newborn son closely against your Green Jacket. Dare I say at 28 years old, the man can now retire happy. Well done, Danny, from dads everywhere.

One of my favorite follows in golf is DJ Piehowski (@DJpie on Twitter). The former PGA Tour tweeter (and now Skratch TV's director of content) shared an interesting approach to Spieth's championship record over the last five majors: When considering his head-to-head record vs. the deepest fields in golf, Spieth is now 643-5-2 since his 2015 Masters victory. We haven't seen that type of consistency since Jack Nicklaus's early '70s runs of first- and second-place finishes.

Odds at The End
* I long for the crunchy sounds of metal spikes on blacktop.
* I simultaneously love and hate El Niño (the weather phenomenon and the golfer).
* Rickie Fowler, Smylie Kaufman, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas decided to take a buddy golf trip to Baker's Bay Golf & Ocean Club in late April. The Golf Bros' booze-fueled adventure looked pretty-darn epic. The only thing missing was apparently Rory McIlroy, who (regretfully) declined an invitation to join the up-and-coming American squad.

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