Key phrases of the day: We know Scottie~Swing Doctor~Putting White~Two-putted 18 for birdie~February?

It’s difficult to be a member of the 12-month club in western New York. It’s not like the mile-high club by any stretch, it just means that you teed it up in each of the 12 months at an area course. I crossed January off the list today at Byrncliff.

There was a little snow on the way in to Varysburg (you don’t actually get there, but I like to dream) on Route 20-A. The fellow in the shop shook his head when the Scrambler asked about teeing up, so we went inside and plead our case: Scottie knows us, We know Scottie! We had our permission, paid our $15 and headed out for a brisk walk around the foothills of the Allegheny mountains.

I’ve determined that the first two holes at Byrncliff are a warm-up for me. Partly, it’s due to the fact that I play there in odd months (like January!) and partly because I have no time to warm up…and partly because I don’t play the holes with my brain. By the time I climb to the third tee, I’m relieved of pressure (usually 2 or 3 strokes over par) and ready to rip one downhill to the fairway. After starting 6-6, I reeled off pars on 3-5 and carried the trees on six. Fortunately, Hoxie hit it to two feet, making my approach much easier.

We weren’t playing a scramble; something much more important: Swing Doctor. The SD is a wee nip from a flask when someone makes birdie. We were 0-for-15 by then and desperate for a little warmth. We walked off the sixth green with two birds, one SD for the 7th tee and one in storage. We got another birdie on seven, along with an appearance by the sun.

Nothing more boring than the details. Suffice it to say that we made about seven birdies on the day and finished every hole but fourteen. Why not, you ask? Well, have you seen a putting white lately? There was no grass in view, as the snow had not melted in the shadow of those trees. We took pars and went on…made another birdie on 15, we did!

By the time we had finished the hole of the devil (seventeen, where we went 6-6-6 from 320 yards away), we decided to use up our stored SD and tear the cover off the ball. Hoxie hit it over the pond, I hit it over the pond and Scrambler bombed it to within twenty yards of the green. We thought his ball was mine, so I got ready to putt in the Scottish style…then had to go back thirty yards. Whacked the 50-yard putt to ten feet and made it for a two-putt birdie on 18!

So, February? Here’s hoping. We have a Swing Doctor in storage.