Jim Waggoner (Wags), John Jackson (JJ), Naoto de Silva, and ("unofficially") myself.
At the perfect time of day, on a weekday afternoon. When the weather can usually be best described as "golden", and our muni feels like Muni Golf & Country Club. Before the evening crowd arrives for a twilight nine. After you put in a full morning of work, fatherhood, errands, appointments, and other necessary real life tasks. Around the time that lets you eat lunch at work, and get home in time for dinner, as well. This all translates to the 2:00-3:00 p.m. hour, typically on Thursday afternoon - when the pro shop staff accepts our greens fee and replies "you can head to the first tee...whenever you are ready."
At Lincoln Park, JJ recently said "It's sort of what you expect when there's so many cool things to see around the golf course," as we waited for a family of tourists to clear from the right side of the 4th hole. On a Saturday morning, such an occurrence might irk the dawn patrol foursomes. But on a Thursday afternoon, as the sun continues it's descent, the tourists, hikers, cyclists, and sightseers, are all searching for the same thing we are - some weekday afternoon zen. That's what makes the W.A.Z. (Weekday Afternoon Zen) round so special. Yes, we want to hit some greens in regulation, and avoid three-putting, but we're out there to achieve something a bit deeper.
The reasons are aplenty. Let's start with the golfy reasons - to try out new equipment, to implement a swing change, to hit a different club off a certain tee, or to keep the rust away during a busy month. Beyond those reasons, though, the W.A.Z. round serves a more soulful purpose. It's brings together similar energies and allows for easy conversation. Nature itself feels extra Nature-y - the birds, the foghorns, the distant voices of tourists in awe, the general absence of more common "city sounds".
Simply put, it's three-and-a-half hours of golf Utopia. Your score on each hole counts on the scorecard, but matters a bit less than usual. An afternoon absent of pressure, but full of purity. Utopia by definition is an "Imagined place, where everything is perfect", but for a brief time, this Utopia is undeniably real.