There aren’t many rounds of golf like this. It was some of the worst conditions in which I’ve played. Crosswater sits at an elevation of 4100 feet and the weather in April can be unpredictable. However, it was a family vacation to Sun River in the high desert of Central Oregon. We have made the trip each year for the last five years. Usually our timing has been later in the year. Normally making the seven-hour voyage in the latter part of June or middle of September. During those trips the weather around Bend has been more predictable. We have been blessed with sunshine and warm temperatures to play golf. This trip was going to be more dicey. Our idea was to come during a time when both skiing and golfing would be possible in the same week.
0n our first day in Sun River we considered skiing. However, with the temperatures cold on the slopes and plenty of fog to hinder visibility, we opted for golf. Crosswater has been played a handful of times with my brother. The course is one of our favorites we have played. It sits in a meadow about thirty minutes south of Bend. There is a river meandering through the golf course with ponds and offshoots. The golf course features many picturesque holes with interesting shots over the small river. On this day, the familiarity with Crosswater would become an advantage. After looking over the weather, feeling like it wouldn’t be too poor. We decided to head out for an afternoon round.
We walked outside to find slight drizzle. The mild rain didn’t seem to pose any problem, so our plan continued. Upon checking in for golf, we were given the option to begin our round on the second nine. There was no time like the present, so with the rain continuing to sputter, we proceeded to the tenth tee. The wind and cool temperatures were not given their proper weight when contemplating this round of golf. I was dressed warmly, but didn’t have anything to cover my ears. At 4100 feet of elevation in late April the temperature was hovering around 40. We also had a chilling wind to contend with coming across the meadow and freshening some exposed holes on the course. In all honesty, as we played the third hole, I was wondering if I’d make it through. The combination of cold, wind, and drizzle felt as if it might prove too much.
These were conditions that would normally keep us away from the golf course. It had been years since playing in the rain. With the toll foul weather, can take on my body, it has always felt easier to stay away. But, we don’t get many opportunities to play Crosswater. By the third hole my ears had transformed to a shade of red from the cold. The wind was biting and the rain wouldn’t subside. It wasn’t a soaking rain, but did add to the chilling of my ears. My brother was the smart one and wore a beanie over his golf hat. Being the considerate person he is and probably noticing my ears transitioning to a shade of purple, he suggested I wear the beanie for a while. Putting on the hat was like magic. It warmed up my ears and provided warmth throughout my body. We decided to trade off wearing the beanie. After each hole, we passed the beanie back and forth. The round of golf became bearable, but we couldn’t continue rotating the hat after each hole. The weather would eventually become unbearable even with the rotation.
Luckily we were still playing our first nine holes when the benefit of the beanie came to light. The plan quickly became checking the golf course shop after nine holes. We hoped they would have beanie caps for sale. If they didn’t have any in stock, questions would arise over continuing the round of golf. As we neared the finish of our first nine, my hopes were high over the possibility of gaining my own beanie. Walking in the shop with frozen ears I asked the gentleman if he had any beanie caps. Luckily he leads me to a table featuring different options of beanie caps. He pointed out one in particular, which he found to be great in the cold and rain. It would be great for the current conditions we were dealing with. Placing the beanie on my head immediately warmed my frigid ears along with my body. It was a great cap, providing warmth as we headed out on our second nine holes.
The rain, wind, and cold didn’t relent. Even with the beanie cap providing much needed warmth, it was still a difficult day of golf. However, the second nine was more bearable. The concentration level rose with the new warmth throughout my body. It became a challenge to make it through the weather. In those difficult conditions, I shortened the golf swing and concentrated more fully on making good contact with the ball. The shortening worked, as the ball didn’t travel as far, but the shots were good. There isn’t any way to truly know how much more challenging cerebral palsy made the round of golf. The cold takes a toll on my muscles, tightening them even further than normal. My abbreviated swing took some pressure off the muscles. The tightening would have made a full swing turn almost impossible. Not only was I battling conditions, but also attempting to get my body functioning against itself and the elements. It was all a great challenge and proves that with adjustments, my body is more capable than I understand.
Testing our physical and mental capabilities is always positive. Completing a round of golf, I didn’t think was possible brings confidence. It adds to the mental fortitude I will have when conditions are better. Providing a situation to reflect on, understanding if there was a way in those circumstances, there is a way to complete something physical in other adverse circumstances. The education seems important for my journey with cerebral palsy. Placing myself in situations where I question my physical ability, only to complete the physical task, helps the mental outlook next time. Even through adversity from weather, we had fun playing golf. It was great to play one of my favorite courses in challenging conditions. I’m thankful we decided to give it a shot.