Saturday, March 22, 2008

New Orleans Day Three: Stonebridge

The second round of golf is in the books down here in New Orleans after my Dad and I played a course called Stonebridge on Friday. This time, I played much more consistently and my ball striking was quite good, while Dad played solid bogey-golf most of the round with one large exception (a yucky 12 on the Par 4 fourth hole). I finished with a 90 (43-47) and Dad scored a 100 (52-48). After Thursday's round at Carter Plantation, I would normally be happy with an eight stroke improvement but alas, I could not be pleased with my score. The main reason for my stubbornness: I had 43 putts. Yes, you read that correctly, I putted the ball 43 times, capped off by a lipped-out miss, for birdie and to break 90, on the final hole. I had ten three putts. TEN. I was merely hopeless every time I lined one up. I felt like a blind man slapping at the ball in the dark, without the slightest clue of how hard to hit it or even where to aim. I managed a one-putt only once (though it was for a nice birdie). I also buried six balls in watery graves, though two were "accidental" heaves after frustrating circumstances. It certainly wasn't hard to find a spot to lose a ball, as Stonebridge was lined with red stakes; water was in play on 17 of the 18 holes. Overall, it was a tough course but I had a lot of fun and everyone who worked there was very nice and helpful.
I will need to keep my confidence high and hope that my short game improves for tomorrow's round because Dad and I will play our toughest course yet: English Turn Country Club. The course used to be the site for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, a PGA Tour event. Despite my struggles on the putting surface today, I was encouraged by my strong ball-striking and look forward to tomorrow's round.

After another golf expedition, Dad and I dropped off our things at the hotel and headed right back out on the road. We drove down to see some of the devastation still left behind, only two years removed from the massive hurricanes that hit the area. So many houses in the ninth ward and lower ninth ward were still broken down and destroyed, completely empty inside. When we parked and walked up to where one of the levee's broke, we walked by an old man who nodded at us as we passed and said, "Enjoy." You could tell that he said it with a hint of resentment and bitterness but how can you blame him? There are still people that we saw living in FEMA trailers around houses that haven't been rebuilt. Most of the houses we passed by had been so damaged that they will undoubtedly be torn down in the future. It was just mind-blowing to think that many of the houses we passed were physically underwater during all of the chaos. I felt like quite the tourist while taking plenty of pictures and gaping at the destruction, but as our playing partners on the golf course today told us, it's just good that we're here, caring and helping out the economy any way we can.
The picture on the left is of a high school that has clearly not been used since the hurricanes hit. Rusted piles of lockers lay outside the school in the picture on the right. It was incredibly rewarding to take the drive down to the height of the hurricane damages and see how many lives were changed by the two storms, Katrina and Rita. It certainly gave me some perspective and gives me yet another reason to count the many things I take for granted in my life everyday.

On the way back, we stopped by one of the many cemetery's in New Orleans because they are unlike any other I've seen. We noticed that most of the graves are crypts rather than deep graves dug into the ground. It could be because the soft soil and common flooding create problems for deep graves and cause this anomaly but who knows? Either way, it was a pretty cool, although slightly creepy, place to walk and look around.We had dinner tonight at a place called the Bon Ton Cafe, which had a bit of a different menu than the two previous nights. I tried fried catfish, which was delicious, and also tried bread pudding for dessert. The pudding was covered in a whiskey/molasses-type sauce and was a little too strong on the alcohol side for either of us but was an interesting thing to try anyway.

Well, it's getting pretty late and we're getting up early tomorrow to look around the National World War II Museum before playing 18 at English Turn. We also plan on having dinner at the House of Blues tomorrow night so stay tuned for that update. Until tomorrow, so long from the Big Easy!

No comments: