Were no other tee time available, devout golfers would play handcuffed and blindfolded in a Category 5 hurricane and would consider postponing their round only if the attendant storm surge buried the course under 18 feet of water.
A hot summer day is another option.
Whether folks are sneaking out of the office, vacationing, retired or simply have reached a point where if they didn't get out the sticks, life would cease to have meaning -- courses everywhere are filling with golfers. Summer is peak time at one of Baltimore's more storied municipal courses: the sloping, Northern Parkway-straddling Mount Pleasant Golf Course.
Golf is a game of numbers, so we thought we'd play a round -- of numbers, not golf -- on one hot summer day at Mount Pleasant:
330: Average number of golfers daily in summer (67,000 rounds played annually)
$28: Standard weekday greens fee
5:26: Earliest summer tee time
94: Temperature at midday Wednesday
6,003: Total course yardage from middle tees
8: Recommended pace per hole, in minutes
80: Available golf carts, according to 69-year-old starter Joe Muscolino
75: Available golf carts, according to 20-year-old cart guy, Tom Dyer (a bet ensues; stay tuned. ...)
71: Par score (and club pro Jim Deck's best round)
64: Course record (Tommy Bolt, 1957)
17: Mount Pleasant's best hole, a scenic, long par-3. It will be featured this month on Comcast SportsNet's Golf Road Show.
4: Number of deer Muscolino saw on the course one day this week.
1956: Year Arnold Palmer played his first Eastern Open here. After pulling his first shot onto Hillen Road, Palmer threatened to withdraw. His partner encouraged him to play on. Palmer won the tournament -- and $3,800.
$110: Price of a Taylor Made 34-inch putter listed for sale on the clubhouse bulletin board.
$16.95: Price of a Mount Pleasant Golf Course visor.
$5: Amount Tom Dyer would have lost to Joe Muscolino. There are 80 golf carts. ("Keep your five dollars," he told Dyer. "I knew I was right.")
70: Years of service of John Starkloff, the course's long-time starter, who died last year. He caddied on opening day in 1934. A memorial bench is named in his honor, as is a tournament scheduled for Sunday, Father's Day.
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