Mt. Si is another golf course in the area around home. It sits just outside the town of North Bend. Mt. Si. Golf course is sculpted on land in the shadow of Mt. Si. The course has similarities to Snoqualmie Falls golf course and Tall Chief golf course. Like those courses, Mt Si has a relatively flat layout and the fairways become hard and fast during the summer. In the likeness of those other courses, which are just down the hill, the fairways don’t receive any water. Due to our wet climate in the Seattle area, the fairways normally remain green on their own. When the area experiences a dry summer. The grounds of these courses become hard, providing more exciting golf for someone who hits the golf ball a shorter distance. However, the greens and tees are watered, making the courses playable. Playing these courses in the Snoqualmie valley is fun. They are great places to learn the game. The dry fairways during late summer and fall allow a missed shot to continue rolling. It helps golfers from feeling discouraged.
Mt. Si golf course sits beside a large mountain, creating picturesque views. The course has a few subtle elevation changes to keep things interesting. In some places the Snoqualmie River comes into view. The front side of Mt. Si is pretty straight forward. It’s a good stretch to learn on, or get used to playing golf again. These first nine holes don’t include much elevation change. There are a couple elevated greens to provide interest, but not many visually harassing shots. It’s nine holes where most everything is visually out in front of the golfer. The only exception being the 7th hole, where the green is tucked around a corner on top of a hill. The par-5 requires a shot into the hole without sight of the putting surface. Once past the par-5, the final two holes provide a fun walk back to the clubhouse. The back nine at Mt. Si has slightly more trickery to it.
The holes on the back nine bring you closer to the mountain, feeling like it could almost be touched. With more elevation change than on the front nine, the back nine poses more challenges. There are greens at elevation and holes with steep drop-offs. The golfer is required to execute challenging tee shots. Hitting balls the correct distance in order to achieve positive position for the approach. The back nine features with a stream running through the middle of the fairway. These streams aren’t visible from the teeing ground, requiring some local knowledge to perform a safe shot. It seems the more you play these nine holes, they become more exciting. The challenges become clear, which seems allow more comfortable and confident play.
Playing golf this week was interesting. After shooting my best round ever the week before, there would be a different feel. We were joined by a single this week. An unfamiliar face added another dimension to the weekly round of golf with my brother. It can be slightly nervous beginning a round of golf with someone unknown. Cerebral palsy always enters my mind when meeting someone new. Golf can place me in vulnerable positions, causing symptoms of CP to be pronounced. The reality of shaking and spasms in my hands around the greens leaves anxiety over how someone might react. Will there be awkwardness when someone new witnesses my shaking hands around the greens? Just playing in front of an unfamiliar person can cause nervous energy, increases the quivering in the hands and wrists. It can take time for people I play with to adjust to how it all works. Many times, you can feel their openness or awkwardness over my symptoms. The situation probably shouldn’t impact the way I act, but unfortunately it does. Often, I find myself reacting to their perceived reaction to CP, instead of having the confidence to lead the interaction. Projecting the feeling to others that I’m doing good, that things are comfortable, let’s have some fun.
After the first couple holes, nerves subsided. The gentleman we were joined by was pretty nice. He commented on good shots, carrying himself with a kind demeanor. We found out later he was playing his first round of the year. Getting the kinks out of his golf game for a tournament the following week. There did appear to be some kinks and he banged the golf ball off a couple trees. As the game went on, his swing seemed to come around. I didn’t have the opportunity to chat with him much, but found he was from Boston, and wound up in Seattle following a couple years in San Francisco. It’s always fascinating to find people who chose to switch coasts during their lifetime. I often find myself wondering what drives someone to move so far from their origination point. After nine holes, he had tuned up the golf game to satisfaction, leaving us to continue on our own. We all shook hands of thanks, as he continued on his way into our memories. The strange thing about golf is spending a few hours with someone you will most likely never enjoy the company of again. However, it was fun to spend the short nine holes of time with the gentleman.
We parted ways on the ninth green and continued on to the tenth. My game was in good shape through the first nine. Playing the back nine would be more comfortable with my brother. It was exciting to have good play continue from the week prior. As the back nine wore on, the excitement began to build over what I might shoot on this day. It seems one of the difficult things to do in any game is follow up your best performance with another good performance. Maybe we all battle wonderment over whether the good day was a fluke, whether we can go out and play well again. There were questions of wonder in my mind. Hoping the game played in the previous week could be followed up solidly. So, there we were playing through the back nine. Trying to play one shot at a time, while wondering how the score would total up at days’ end.
The day of golf at Mt. Si contained interesting weather. Usually in the northwest our weather pattern remains fairly predictable. We have fairly mild temperatures throughout the year. Air quality persists at a good level, due to the consistent rain. This summer has been somewhat of an abnormality. Things have been extremely dry with one of the nicest summers experienced. The issue with all the dry weather is its susceptibility to creating a breeding ground for destructive forest fires. This summer has been one of the worst fire seasons for not only our state of Washington, but the entire northwest. The consequence of a long stretch of dry summer weather and mountain forest fire became apparent that day. With a fire burning up in the mountains east of the golf course we could see and feel smoky air. Even with the fire miles away, Mt. Si was engulfed in a smoky haze. The mountain, which usually casts breathtaking views upon the course, could only be made out by following its jagged outline. The unique crevasses and interesting vegetation had vanished into smoke. Looking up at the mountain caused reflection on the potency of wild fires. It was a unique view of Mt Si.
Under the haze of smoke at Mt. Si golf course, my best round of golf was backed up. The week before had turned out not to be a fluke. My golf game had improved to shoot 86 at Mt. Si. Those were two score that couldn’t been shot a couple years ago. The ability to play well for the second week was made even better because of being joined by another player. It caused nervous energy to begin our round, which was able to be controlled. The unfamiliar player to join us didn’t cause me to lose concentration as it may have in the past. Sticking with the effort to improve cerebral palsy helps all aspects. It not only helps strengthen my body, providing the ability to execute golf shot not possible before. The work also improves a confidence level hampered by having a disability. There is much joy gained from putting in the hard work to improve cerebral palsy. Reaching a place of success in golf beyond where I thought possible.