It’s Open Time Again

Tom Velarde
Golf Professional
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ

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Soon your fair city will again be set upon by the masses of snowbirds who would come to watch some great golf and sample the best Phoenix has to offer. Having done this a few times, let me share a few thoughts before you stop short of road rage with those of us who are lost.

It starts innocently enough when you arrive at the airport three hours early to check your luggage. The nice person at the ticket counter takes the ticket you processed yourself and asks for $35 per bag. Can I take my clubs as a carry on? Never…and I repeat never try to be funny at the airport. “Those are golf clubs, the price is $55 as they must be overweight.” I can only sigh and put another $180 on my card for my bride and myself. 

We get to stand in a long line for a long while, why is it that the urge to visit the bathroom never strikes when you first enter the line?  Most likely because a presidential election process happens once while in line but you’re a trooper and you just wait it out. 

I hear something about MacBook and iPad so I open and put my phone, wallet, belt, shoes, glasses and change in the bin. I now realize that my belt is still on but the agent says it okay so I go into the first security point. I spread my arms in my very best Da Vinci pose and naturally the alarm goes off. Now I get the wand which beeps at my belt buckle. I take the belt off and get cleared. My bin has now caused the line to stop so I hurry and grab my stuff.

My bride breezed through the check-in and is waiting for me with a bemused look. “Are you going to get your shoes,” she asks? I look down and realize that I am wearing two different colored socks one blue and one green. I am so glad she says nothing about this, but it’s very early in the trip.

We reach the coffee shop and I reach for my wallet, which must be at security, and I now am glad as I race back to the security. I get stopped as I come in the wrong way and am escorted to the main security chief who I can see wants to burst out laughing. “I left my wallet,” I blurt out. He smiles and asks if I am the guy with green and blue socks. 

We get to sit next to a person who must have a terrible cold as he constantly sneezes after falling asleep and resting his head on my shoulder. My bride is peacefully reading next to the window while I only wish my new neighbor had changed his deodorant. 

Arriving in Phoenix is like butter on toast. All is now right with the world and we settle into the hotel and enjoy the beauty and warmth of your city. We eat at some of the recommended restaurants and prepare for the first day of the Open.

We awake to what you take for granted, clear skies and warm weather, and we now prepare to make a day of it. As I dress my bride looks at me. “Have you worn those socks before,” she asks? I look down and see I have the blue and green combo on. I now have to make a choice, as I brought a pair of green and a pair of blue but mixed them early on. I did what every man has done since the age of socks, I traded a used green for an unused blue. She giggles, knowing what I did. As we leave the room she asks if I have my wallet, no I answer I don’t even have my room key. 

So if you’re behind me in traffic and I look lost have a little compassion and think about the poor guy who started out not on the wrong foot but with the wrong socks. See you at the Open.

Tom Velarde is the Manager at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico, just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email