Green, and green, and green.
While the local Memorial Tournament up at Muirfield Village typically grabs all the golf news in the area, with a little left over for the NCH Invitational in July over on OSU Scarlet, there’s other interesting things going on, for those fascinated by watching a little white ball get smacked around.
But while Scarlet is fiendish in an Augusta National sort of way (being the last course designed by Mackenzie before taking on that particular stretch of Georgia real estate) and Muirfield Village is a cathedral with its tall, tall trees (perhaps Augusta needs to be upgraded to a basilica?), neither one of them does what Brookside G&CC does: green.
I don’t mean green. I mean GREEN. Thousands of different shades; sometimes that’s all you can see, broken only by the dark vertical green-brown trunks of trees. Blue-green fir; dark, medium and light green grass, reflecting differently depending on how it’s cut; kellys and jades and forests and emeralds and Persians and hunters and myrtles and celadons on and on endlessly. Hopefully some of the shots I took will display that, but I doubt it really can be duplicated. There are some places, like from the rear of the clubhouse, where you can look out and see only green grass and a darker green canopy and green bushes filling in between the two, and it’s like being inside some ecological optical art piece.
That’s part of the reason that Brookside is my “apply here when I win the lottery” club.
The other part is its confounding golf course.
The front side is narrow, and tree-lined, and carefully bunkered, and gives players whose shots stray from the straight and narrow fits.
The back nine is on a completely different planet, with dramatic elevation changes, tight doglegs, and two of the more visually impressive par threes that I’ve ever seen.
And that’s where I nearly got beaned by David Duval.
Not that he was trying to hit me, but his tee shot on the par 5 15th got away from him and I, trying to manage the steep hill to get down there, heard cracking and whacking in the trees above me and instinctively covered up — and plop came the ball about ten feet in front of me. He’s in good company — the last time I nearly got beaned, it was when a shot got away from Jack Nicklaus on the second at Muirfield Village in 2001. Two former World #1s, ten years apart. I suppose I’ll nearly get conked by Tiger in 2021.
Anyway, under the circumstances, he did what he had to — pitched back out into the fairway. Then his shot from there went left. We heard the particular whack that high-speed balata makes on bark, and he hit a provisional.
And then I found his original ball in the hay, well ahead of the tree it had hit. I got to keep his provisional as a souvenir — it did save him the penalty and stopped a bad hole from being a terrible one.
Sadly, it didn’t help — Brookside ate him up after he made the turn.
The Columbus sectional is always the big one — it’s the day after the Memorial, so there are a lot of pros in town already. Sixteen invitations and two alternate slots went out from here, the most of any of the qualifiers.
Good luck, gentlemen. You’re going to need it.