I Can't Feel My Fingers!!!


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011

When I woke up for my round at Apache Creek Golf Club yesterday, it was a balmy 48 degrees. Brrrr. There is a low pressure system that is making it's way down from the Pacific Northwest and we are beginning to feel the effects of a cold front that is sweeping through the Phoenix Valley.

I have been very spoiled in the fact that I have lived in places where I can play golf year round. I have always been treated to great weather and have never really had to play in uncomfortable conditions. In Miami we had to deal with rain and high winds, but for the most of the year it was still warm.

The tee time was set for 6:50AM by J.B. whom I had met through this blog via Facebook. We had been trying to set up a time when we could get in a round for months but something always came up whether it was work or family related. J.B. whom I soon found out can hit the ball a country mile, is a morning golfer. During the summer when the sun rises earlier, he is often the first one on the tee for a 5:30 start.

Keeping true to form, we were the first golfers at the course, arriving before any of the employees. It was still dark and for me, very cold. I just kept looking towards the eastern horizon, hoping for a glimpse of sunlight. As we chipped around the practice green with glow in the dark golf balls that J.B. had which were pretty cool, my hands began to get numb. I was beginning to wonder how I would be able to hold my clubs.

After checking in at the pro shop, we headed to the driving range to warm up. Except there was no warming up for me. I had no feeling in my hands and it was hard for me to keep a handle on the grip. It reminded me of my days playing baseball in New England during early March. Mishits with an iron felt like the stinging sensation you get when you hit the baseball off the wrong part of an aluminum bat.

My drive from the first tee tailed off to the right which left me with a long approach of about 205 yards into the green. I hit hybrid and fell short and right of the green. I chipped it pass the hole about 20 feet and was left with a downhill putt. I held the putter as best as I could, let my shoulders swing, and drained it to save par.

Great start. Unfortunately, my hands could not warm up and I missed every fairway on the front nine. When you miss the fairways at Apache Creek, you are at a huge disadvantage. This is a true desert style course and golfers are penalized severely for wayward shots. Having to play many of my shots off of a hardpan lie led to four double bogeys on the front.

It wasn't until the turn that I was finally able to feel my fingers again. The sun had come out, and even though it was still in the low 60's, because of the bright sunshine, it felt a lot warmer. It showed in my tee shots. I hit four out of the seven fairways on the back nine and my iron shots into the greens were a bit more accurate.

I wasn't pleased with my overall performance, but I didn't expect much since I hadn't played in almost a month and a half. While much of my struggles were due to the weather, some of it had to do with being mentally rusty as much as mechanically rusty. When I look back on the round, I made decisions that I know I wouldn't have when I was playing three or four times a week. When I was playing regularly, my golf IQ improved as well as my swing which led to better scores. I just need to get out more and I'm sure it will all come back.

I have a new found respect for professional golfers when they have to compete in less than perfect weather. This past weekend, The Champions Tour held their season ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship at TPC Harding Park GC in San Francisco, California. The temperature was similar to what I faced and on top of that, they had to deal with windy conditions. Yet many of them were still able to shoot par or better. They are that good.

It looks like I'm going to have to invest in some warm golf mittens especially if I'm going to be playing more rounds with a "crack of dawn golfer" like J.B. The cold front is supposed to remain for a while and I would like to have some "feeling" in my shots. It's either that or wait for it to warm up again, but for me, that might take too long. Have a great round and always hit your target.

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Comments (12)

  1. November 7, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    I had one buddy who was a sunrise golfer. He would set it up at the course, who knew him, to play the first 9 and pay at the turn. He liked it because he could play 18 as fast as possible and still have the whole day.

    I'm more of a late morning golfer. I'm much happier playing about 10 or 11 in the morning and finishing around two.

    I've played a few rounds late in the afternoon after work, but most of those only last 9 - 12 holes. There was one course that I played five or six times before I made it to the 18th.

  2. November 7, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    I'm with you Lefty. Around 10AM is perfect for me and when I get done at 2PM, there is still plenty of day left to do other stuff. Late afternoon rounds are okay, but I always feel a bit sluggish during these rounds, especially if I have had a busy morning.

    Early morning rounds around beneficial here in Phoenix though. During the height of the summer months the low can sometimes be 90 degrees. Getting out before the sun is at full strength is a definite perk to losing a little bit of sleep.

  3. November 7, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    I have a buddy who lives in Phoenix. He plays (mostly) after work and is happy with playing about 9 or so holes before dinner.

    I play in Houston, which is not known for its wintry temperature. I admit that I don't carry my bag. I did that once in July (curiosity) and staggered off the course on the 12th hole.

    I walk the course from time to time using a hand cart, if the course allows it. I also admit that I don't actually taste that first cold drink in the clubhouse afterward. Somewhere in the middle of the second drink, I start looking around the room.

    A few of the courses here are so spread out that you have to ride the cart. One of courses that I play has the first hole near the clubhouse, then you hop onto a pedestrian bridge and ride to the far side of the course to play the second through eighth hole, and then ride back to play the ninth.

  4. November 7, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Same here. There have only been a few course out here that even allow walkers. Many of the desert course wind up into the sides of the mountains. Walking it would be a workout in itself.

    For example, The Phoenician has two par 3's, that if walking, a golfer would have to climb about 150 feet up a hill due to the elevation change. During the summer, in 115 degree temperatures, that would be near impossible.

    I would like to walk more courses though. The only courses I have walked have been of the 9 hole variety. I would like to see what kind of stamina I would have over the course of 18 holes.

  5. November 7, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Back to your original post, I've played in December, January, and February, when the weather was, for us, cold. I have a set of clubs with graphite shafts because I understand all about that stinging hand feeling from mishits with steel shafts.

    I lived in Utah for a few months this year. It snowed or was too cold for me to get on the course. I really wanted to see for myself about hitting the driver farther in the thinner air.

    Houston is not known for elevation changes. Most of our courses are mostly level, with maybe an elevated green. It's great to a different course in the state that actually has hills.

  6. November 7, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Miami was basically completely flat. The few 9's that I talked about walking earlier took place in Miami. Arizona has dramatic elevation changes due to the surrounding mountains.

    My parents live in Ohio and I had a chance to play a few of the courses there. They have true hills. There were times when I hit the fairway but I still did not have a level stance. Picking the right club when hitting into severely elevated greens can be challenging.

    The other feature of the Ohio courses that I played that differed from Miami and Phoenix was that the fairways were heavily tree-lined. It puts a premium on hitting the ball accurately. The courses I'm used to playing are a lot more forgiving.

  7. November 11, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    Apparently Rudyard Kipling was a fan of snow golf, wonder how he kept warm without all the warm light layers we have these days...brrr! Gotta admit I'm a fairweather golfer, unless I'm only going down to the range.

  8. November 11, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Mr Kipling and his buddies must have had it tough on the golf course when he was away from creating his masterpieces on those cold days in England. I'm the same way when it comes to cold weather. I'd much rather wait for a warmer day.

  9. November 14, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Yes I'm an early starter as well. I love playing when it's quiet and you feel like you're the only ones on the golf course.

    When it is cold it can take me 4 - 6 holes to warm up here in Australia. After that it's okay but you just have to hope by that stage you haven't shot yourself out of the round.

  10. November 14, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    I don't mind getting up early. It's just the cold weather that gets to me. I played a few rounds in Hilton Head, South Carolina last summer in which we started at the crack of dawn. Nothing is more beautiful than watching the sun rise as it shines off the morning dew.

  11. February 4, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    Interesting and important information. It is really beneficial for us. Thanks

  12. February 9, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Thanks for visiting Thomas. Thankfully it's beginning to warm up, so I can get out a little earlier now;-)