Your stories: Going low (and staying sane) in Portland

Mount Hood Golf Resort
The 9th hole on Mount Hood's Thistle Course, as photographed by the author.
John Marshall

In our latest reader essay, golf has offered an important outlet during the coronavirus pandemic

Throughout this difficult period, this Golf News Hub will explore what it’s like to actually live through this moment. Here we will print your stories about how this is affecting you, your family, your friends … your daily life. Email us your story.

Here is the fifth essay in our series. (Read previous essays here.)

First the backstory: last fall my car, which was packed with all my golf gear, was stolen from a local course parking lot. Clubs, bag, shoes -- everything. Sure, they were a hodge-podge of irons, woods, and a 2-year-old Odyssey putter that I missed severely, but they were all close friends of mine, built up over the last decade.

Last February I went to a local pro shop called Red Tail and got fitted for my first new set of clubs in nearly 40 years. Previously, I had bought a few new clubs here and there, but the iron sets were hand-me-downs I had bought from friends and garage sales. I always said, "You can't buy a game," and, "It's a poor workman that blames his tools." Boy, was I wrong.

I had a new set of irons and fairway woods. I had an unused driver I got from a buddy and an old 2-ball putter I picked up at a garage sale, which I quickly replaced with a brand new one. I was now set with my new clubs, new bag and new shoes. The works.

Then, the coronavirus, and reality, hit hard. Mercifully, Oregon allowed golf to continue. If I had had to sit home with those new clubs and no golf I would’ve gone right out of my mind.

And just to prove what an idiot I am for now buying new sticks sooner, I'm now playing my best golf in years. I usually play on the east side of Portland, and at Mount Hood Resort. I'm 70 years old and the last 2-3 years I'd struggled to break 100. With the new clubs I've played seven rounds, with two in the 90s and three in the 80s. I shot a 39 for nine holes, which I’d only pulled off once before and that was probably 35 years ago.

I've played both with the cups raised and reversed. Either way we play, if you hit plastic it's good. I've walked and ridden in a power cart. As long as I can play I'm a happy guy. It's the only time I leave the house, besides daily walks, and it truly keeps me sane.

Stay safe, everyone.

John Marshall
Portland, Oregon

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