November 2022

Okay, I admit I have become obsessive/compulsive about tee boxes the last few months.  Watching pros hit pitching wedge approach shots on 450-yard par 4s has gotten to me, since my own approach shots on par 4s 100 yards shorter are typically a 5 hybrid or 7 wood.  So, in the words of the theme song from The Jeffersons, I am “Movin’ On Up…” to tee boxes that give me a fighting chance…It would help the distance on my tee shots if my hands didn’t hurt (touch of arthritis).  I have been trying out a potential remedy.  I am your guinea pig in this month’s Home On The Course.

CBD is TBD for me

For those of you with aches and pains you believe could be relieved by the CBD products that have flooded the market, I am your guinea pig.  After a few weeks of use, my results are mixed, but I am holding out hope that the cumulative effects of rubbing CBD cream on my arthritic hands twice daily will make it a little easier to grip a golf club and open a jar of anything.

Why CBD?  The orthopedist who solved my “trigger finger” issue a few years ago (see Dupuytren's Contracture) wants to clear out some arthritis at the base of my right thumb and replace the bone there.  He tried a cortisone injection but it didn’t work.  Recuperation from surgery will take a good six weeks.  I want to explore everything I can to avoid the surgery and six weeks of a useless hand.  When I play golf, I take 600mg of Ibuprofen, with my cardiologist’s rather tepid permission, since those types of painkillers can increase blood pressure and affect the heart negatively. But the ibuprofen gets me through a full round with only modest pain.

I have no experience with CBD products which, my informal research indicates, are derived from the cannabis sativa plant.  If cannabis sounds familiar, it is the dominant component in marijuana.  I wandered into a CBD store in a small town in Connecticut in late October and thought I was back in a 1960s “head” shop.  There were all sorts of cannabis related stuff, except for marijuana itself which, now legal in Connecticut, is only sold at certain licensed outlets.  The young lady who assisted me was extremely knowledgeable about all things CBD, although I was a bit distracted because she was dressed pretty much like folks I met at Woodstock in 1968.  She advised me to start using a CBD cream in a tiny jar that cost $40 but looks as if it will last about a month. 

I started rubbing my hands with the CBD cream, twice a day per suggestion of the lady in the CBD shop — once at bedtime and once after my shower in the morning.  She was quite emphatic that results would take effect quickly.  As I write this, I can’t testify that they have, but I find I can flex my hand with only slight pain, a modest improvement.  But during the day, if I am not paying attention, I still feel pain in the small joints if I make a sudden move or forget I am barely capable of opening a tight jar.  I played nine holes of golf during the first week of CBD use and had no pain, although that was probably as much the salubrious effects of the 600 mg of ibuprofen..

To say the cream has an odd consistency and smell is an understatement.  It is of course plant-based, but the smell is strongly reminiscent of an odor I recall from my college dormitory, wafting out from under the doors of some of my mates’ rooms.  It was the ‘60s and, though illegal, college kids had their sources for marijuana, weed, Mary Jane, reefer or any of its other handles.  This smell is especially intense, reflecting what I have read about the powerful effects of modern-day marijuana.  The smell is not quite unpleasant, although my wife, whose college days were, shall we say, considerably less experimental than mine, recoiled when I gave her a whiff.

I am holding out hope of blessed relief because the cream has worked well on another joint-laden part of my body, my feet. I am diabetic and virtually every night I endure some neuropathic pain along the top of my feet.  Rubbing on a small quantity before bedtime has helped me stay asleep.  That’s worth $40 a month to me.

Play Like the Pros (revisited)

Last month, I made the case for us amateur golfers to move up to the tee boxes that will give us the best chance of approximating professional golfer approach shots on par 4s.  Although playing a golf course from, say, 5,000 yards may be an affront to the male ego, it shouldn’t be if you understand just how punishing you are making an already challenging game by insisting on ignoring the reality of distance. (A few words about ladies tees below.)

I have done a bit more research on professional golfer statistics, courtesy of the PGA Tour website and ShotLink data, and I have found that the pros, who typically play a routing of 7,000 yards or longer, have an even greater relative advantage over those of us who play from, say, the 6,000-yard tees.  (Note:  I address this issue mainly to the septuagenarian crowd, of which I am a member; I suspect many in their 70s, like me, no longer hit their drives beyond 200 yards. The average pro’s drive is 297 yards, and the average par 4 distance on tour is around 450 yards.  Yes, there are a few 500-yard par 4s on tour as well.)

On a 450-yard par 4, I would have zero chance to reach the green in regulation since I hit my tee balls – the good ones – an average of 185 yards.  The pro’s drive of 297 yards would leave him with 153 yards to the green on that same 450-yard hole.  At 153 yards, I hit my #5 hybrid.  And the professional player?  He hits a 9 iron.  For me to hit a 9 iron to a 450-yard hole – I can hit it about 120 yards if I strike it squarely -- I would need to play from a tee box 330 yards from the green.

The average pro’s drive is 297 yards, but what about the longest drivers on tour?  Patrick Cantlay ranks second on the tour in driving distance, at 331 yards, and second in finding the fairway off the tee (79% of the time).  At 331 yards, Cantlay would leave himself a mere 119 yards from the green on a 450-yard hole and squarely in range with a sand wedge.  A sand wedge!  Why, we should ask ourselves, should we play that hole from, say, 375 to 400 yards and leave ourselves a fairway wood for a second shot?

Unless you play golf for some reason other than enjoyment or a score that, on a good day, might be achievable, stop punishing yourself and move up to the tee box that gives you a chance to compete with the average tour golfer, if not Patrick Cantlay.

*

Now a few words about women golfers and their choice of tee boxes.  The Play It Forward initiative of the PGA and USGA suggests layouts based on driving distance for both men and women.  For example, if the amateur drives a ball 200 yards, the suggestion is a layout of between 5,200 and 5,400 yards.  If the average drive is 175 yards, the recommendation is 4,400 to 4,600 yards. That recommendation is inappropriate, as you will see below.

According to an article in USA Today, the average amateur woman drives the ball up to 180 yards.  That is compatible with my own average drive of 185 yards.  That would imply that the amateur female golfer should play from the front tees I play from, or about 5,000 yards total (the Play It Forward recommendation as well). 

But wait a minute.  According to that same USA Today study, women’s distances on other clubs are considerably less than for men; 110 yards for a five-iron, 90 yards for a 7-iron and 70 yards for a 9-iron.  Using our 450-yard par 4 example, for a woman amateur to have a shot from 9-iron distance, she would have to play the hole at a total of 250 yards.

The guidance here is not to trust the guidance of others who do not play your game.  Give yourself a chance to improve your customary score by five or more strokes.  You have no chance on a course that is too long for you, and every chance on one that lets you play like a pro.


Larry Gavrich
Founder & Editor
Home On The Course, LLC

Best Hospitals in Southeast US

US News & World Report publishes an annual ranking of the best hospitals in the nation.  In this year’s list, you have to scroll down to the 15th spot to find one located in the Southern U.S. (In this case, it is Houston Methodist.)  Many retirees, if they can afford it, choose to live in the South for half the year and spend the rest of the year up north.  In their cases, the hospitals of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Minneapolis, home to top-ranked Mayo Clinic, do not require a full-day’s drive to reach.

But what of those who choose to live in the South year-round and would prefer to receive qualified medical care, including emergencies, near their homes.  The following is a list of the top hospitals in the Southeast, according to USN&WR, in areas that also include a wide choice of golf communities.


Florida


Mayo Clinic – Jacksonville
Ranked #1 in Florida
Nationally ranked in 7 adult specialties.
11 minutes to Marsh Landing Country Club, 14 minutes to Ponte Vedra Country Club and TPC Sawgrass, 20 minutes to Queen’s Harbour Yacht & Country Club.


North Carolina 


Duke University Hospital
Durham
Ranked #1 in North Carolina
Nationally ranked in 11 specialties
Treyburn Country Club community within 25 minutes, Governors Club (Chapel Hill) 30 minutes, Hasentree Country Club 35 minutes.


South Carolina


MUSC Health – University Medical Center
Charleston
Ranked #1 in South Carolina
Nationally ranked in 2 adult specialties
Within half hour of golf communities Wild Dunes (Isle of Palms), Daniel Island and RiverTowne Country Club (Mt. Pleasant)


Virginia


University of Virginia Medical Center
Charlottesville
Ranked #2 in Virginia
“High Performing” in six adult specialties
Less than 20 minutes to Glenmore Country Club (Keswick), 30 minutes to Old Trail (Crozet) and less than an hour to Wintergreen Resort (Nellyford)


Note:  Georgia’s top five hospitals are all in Atlanta and the top hospital in Tennessee is located in Nashville.

Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms, SC
Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms, SC