At 4:15 A.M. Friday Morning, Garrett Goldwater rolled through the entrance at Lions Municipal Golf Course to place his name on the sign up list for the Lions Municipal Spring Partnership. He was wondering if he would be the first to arrive and was somewhat relieved to find the gate to the course was open. At least he would not have to park on the street and wait for it to open as he had on some occasions in the past.
As he rounded the last curve of Muny's entry drive, his headlights picked up the presence of a number of cars in the parking lot. Turns out, Randy Reynolds had arrived at 3:00 A.M. and claimed the first spot on the list. Reynolds was standing there engaged in conversation with a group of players who had already arrived and signed up.
Climbing out of the car, coffee cup in hand, Goldwater made his way through the darkness toward the light of the clubhouse and a small group of guys huddled outside the clubhouse door. They had written their names on the list and were filling out the entry form. Greetings were made and after completing his task Goldwater took a seat on the nearest stone wall and sat watching as a steady procession of players followed the same curves up the driveway, the walk to the clubhouse and the placement of their name on the list.
As they arrive players usually comment about it still being dark, and how early it is, and how crazy it is to arrive at an early hour and be late compared to others. Then the conversation turns to golf, politics, work, music, family and all the things that a group of golfers will talk about when they are standing around before daylight waiting for 6:00 A.M. when entries are taken in the clubhouse. The group is generally older and the majority of the players have participated in the ritual for years and years. There were some younger player there however and they generally have close ties to Muny in their golfing experience.
The Muny Partnership, started by Lloyd Morrison a couple of decades ago, is one of the most popular events on the Austin Golfing calendar and is becoming more so with each passing year as the possibility of losing Muny looms every closer.
Slightly before 6:00 A.M. the clubhouse opens and the players gather inside to await the beginning of the ritual. It was better organized than in past years because there was an entry form that you could complete in advance and simply hand in along with your money. So, it takes about a minute to register, get your receipt and face the decision of whether to go to breakfast, go back home and sleep, go to work, or hang around and play some golf.
Most opt for breakfast or sleep.
In general it's a joyful experience and the players who show up seem to grumble about the hour but view it as a rite of passage. One would think that there is a better way to approach the registration for this tournament, such as an on-line registration. The technology certainly exists that would handle the load of 75 teams simultaneously trying to register for a tournament. However, the early morning gathering at Muny to sign up for the Spring partnership is somewhat of a tradition and as crazy as it is, it has it's place as part of this tournament and the golfing experience. As such, moving to a more rational approach might not be the best solution. It would be interesting to poll the group who were there and ask their opinion.
At any rate, 72 teams were registered and and two teams were on the waiting list as of 11:00 A.M Friday morning.
If you care to comment on any aspect of this story, feel free to do so below. What time did you arrive and where where you on the list?