The Washington Post's Eli Saslow asks PGA Tour pro Steve Marino, used to manicured greens and exquisite fairways, battles public course hazards at East Potomac.
Thanks to readers John and Phil for this fun story.
The more I watched Marino play, the more convinced I became that golf, for us, involved little common ground. When I asked Marino about the obstacles I considered daunting on PGA Tour courses -- long holes, imposing water hazards, gigantic bunkers -- Marino said they never bothered him. Similarly, at East Potomac, Marino obsessed over details I had never noticed. Overgrown fairways made it impossible, he said, to generate substantial spin on iron shots. Stiff sand traps caused the ball to release on a flat trajectory, negating the importance of touch.
I guess Marino hasn't gotten the USGA memo that U-grooves function better out of light rough than they do from tight fairways!
The greens bothered Marino most. After six months spent on greens that ran as fast as tiled kitchen floors, Marino now felt like he was putting along the bottom of a filled swimming pool. No matter how hard he hit it, the ball almost always slid through sand or water and grinded to a halt short of the hole. After Marino left two consecutive putts short on No. 11, he dropped his putter on the green.
"I'm killing it, and it doesn't go anywhere," he said. "I might just start putting with my driver."