Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Arnold Palmer Invitational 2016-17th hole

By KC Cali.

We were the grateful recipients of passes to a skybox on the 17th hole on Sunday afternoon, March 20. I don't understand much about golf except that it's really difficult to play well, can be addictive and if you've ever played, you can really appreciate what the pros are doing. I've played - badly - and one good hole can keep me locked into 17 miserable holes. 

This particular hole begins on a little hill, on the other side of a pond and a sand trap and has another trap behind it (on the left of this sketch.) I watched in amusement and sympathy as one player dropped his ball into the water and then was forced to shed his shoes, roll up his pant legs (to catcalls from the crowd), and wade into the water to chip it out. He got it onto the green to make par. 

That's part of what makes the tournament so interesting to watch-how pros deal with setbacks with hundreds of people watching in silence. It could be a metaphor for life--dealing with setbacks that you've tried to prevent but they happen anyway.

You can see monitors with their hands held high standing around the perimeter of the hole in the sketch. I don't know what the people who hold up their hands for silence are called so I'm using 'golf monitor'. Like 'hall monitor' from elementary school.

The silence is another thing that amuses me about golf-the whole 'silence your cell phones' while you're anywhere around the course and then spectators are admonished to be still and not talk while the players are hitting. Maybe it IS harder than basketball but can you really call yourself a champion when everyone within 50 yards has to freeze and be silent when you're teeing off? What if you had to do it with spectators screaming "Whiff it!" and using noisemakers like at a Magic game? THAT would be interesting.

The people watching is also fun. I love to see people who dress as if they're playing, and others dress like it's a version of the Kentucky Derby and everything in between. There's a lot of walking. Bay Hill is a large course and quite lovely, so if it's not too hot, it's a very pleasant day. 

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