I'm not a very active poster on this forum, but I'll chip in. (so to speak)
I've been playing for 9 and a half years now. Still not a single digit handicapper though. Usually shoot between 80 and 85, though I will break 80 occasionally when I'm putting and chipping particularly well.
I play in West Texas, in the heat and high winds. My favorite course is a very pretty, well maintained public course called The Gaines County course, near Seminole, Texas. I don't live very close to it, so it is a treat to go there to play. Most of the time I play Hogan Park in Midland, TX, or Ocotillo Park in Hobbes, NM.
My best score was a 72 on a par 70. Would still like to have a couple of those putts back to try again.
jhtalisman---don't worry about scoring just yet. Go out and have fun, and try to make solid contact with the ball. The game is a lot harder than it looks, and it takes a while to improve.