June 28, 2010 5:41 PM
Every year I try to play every City of Madison golf course in one day. So last Friday I played Monona, Yahara, Glenway and Odana in that order starting at 5:45a.m. I played 54 holes (the entire Madison system is actually 72 holes, but I only have enough daylight to play one of the two 18-hole courses at Yahara). This year it took me 15 hours and five minutes to complete it, I walked 20 miles (I will not use a cart!) and I took 288 strokes. I crawled into the clubhouse at Odana just before 9p.m. to help with concession revenues.
Iron Golf is always fun, but I really do it to promote our city courses. Up until last year, we had been losing money on our courses for several years in a row as new private courses were built and fewer people took up golf than had been predicted (even though they were losing money, no city taxpayer dollars went to the courses - they spent down reserves). That turned around last year thanks to some tough decisions made by our Parks Division about costs and some very creative and aggressive promotion. So, while this was the first chance I've had to play all year, I'm happy to report that others are getting out there more. Our total rounds are up about 7,000 from this point last year.
After playing nearly every one of our city-owned golf holes, I can say that my inspection of the courses indicated that they are in great shape, though my expertise is more in the area of the roughs and sand traps than in other parts of the courses (I've often wondered what all that short grass was for). And Kevin Briski, Ray Shane and the pros and the staff at Madison Parks have come up with new ways for Madison golfers to save some money on their greens fees and to enjoy the courses they own. You can subscribe to updates at http://www.cityofmadison.com/golf/.
Finally, with a total score of 288, it should be clear to anyone concerned about it that I'm not spending too much time on the golf course.