The Pursuit of a Little White Ball
Whether you play golf or not, we have all probably heard the humorous mocking of the game of golf. The oldest and most commonly uttered phrase is attributed to Mark Twain, who reportedly said that “Golf is a good walk spoiled”. Mark Twain is not the originator of this famously and oft-used quip. Apparently, in a 1903 book about Lawn Tennis, the quote was first used by a player in an on-court jibe toward golfers who quipped “to play golf is to spoil an otherwise enjoyable walk”, presumably implying that lawn tennis was the better sport.
Golf is arguably the most popular sport played in America. There are many reasons for this. I have a contractor friend who is a devoted golfer and hugely successful in the construction of many shopping centers and commercial buildings. He once told me that nearly 75% of his business comes from relationships on the golf course. I have an old sea captain friend of mine who started out as an Ordinary Seaman on a merchant ship in WWII, who now at age 90 still beats me when we play. Lifelong friendships have been formed on the golf course thru various memberships in women’s clubs, men’s clubs, golf course memberships and various other organizations devoted to the game of golf. I picked up a club for the first time in my life in early 2008 when I was President of a local sportfishing club. The Club had 17 fishing tournaments throughout the year and one golf tournament. As President, I felt obligated to participate in as many of the Club activities as I could. Having never held a club in my hand, I signed up for and took some lessons so as to not look completely foolish at the Club tournament. After my very first lesson, I was hooked and went directly from the golf course to buy my first set of golf clubs. Now, I have two goals or bucket list items if you will regarding golf. I want to shoot a score of 90, and I want to play a round of golf in all 50 states. Of the millions of people who play golf, it is said that less than 5% of golfers ever break a score of 100. That also puts in perspective how great the professionals are who routinely shoot in the high 60’s and low 70’s.
To date, I have a long way to go. My best score ever was a 95 and I have played golf in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, North Carolina and South Carolina. I grew up in Connecticut where basketball, baseball, and football were king. Had I taken up the game as a child, the front half of my goal would surely be achieved and after 25 years of RV’ing, a whole lot more of the back half of my goal would have been achieved.
Fear not, however, golf is a game that can be played forever as my sea captain friend has proven. Golf is a family game as well. It IS, in fact, a great walk, and never has it been spoiled for me.
There are some stunningly beautiful courses around the country. My favorite to date is the absolutely beautiful Woods Hole Golf Club on Cape Cod in Falmouth, MA. It is a rugged and hilly 6,230-yard course nestled in the woody pines. Built in 1899 this magical course is most definitely the furthest away from a spoiled walk that you could imagine. The ocean and bay views are breathtaking to say the very least. I also was privileged to play with my Uncle Lou who had to give up his beloved sailboat when he could no longer single hand it. So he traded it in for a set of clubs at age 70 !!
There are hundreds of beautiful courses across America. The peace and serenity of walking the course is spiritually refreshing. It is very common to see wildlife on many of the courses from deer to coyotes to giant geese to alligators and an abundance of fowl of all variety. When they say get out and get some fresh air and exercise, I can find no better way to do it than playing a round of golf.
A common complaint or concern that many folks have is the length of time that it takes to play a round of golf. This is a legitimate concern, particularly if you have slow players in the group or groups ahead of you. Some of the 18 hole courses can have some very long holes upwards of 500-600 yards. To the novice golfer that is very daunting. If golf ceases to be fun and challenging because of it’s sheer length, then it can easily become a spoiled walk. I don’t desire or strive to make the PGA Senior Tour, I just want to have a good time with my friends, play well, and get some quality exercise. Thus, the solution to this is the many 9 hole courses that can be found all over. The nine hole courses are considerably shorter in length so good scores and results are achievable for your mental fitness. The shorter holes also make the time to play a round considerably less, in the 1-1/2 hour to 2-hour range. Aliso Creek pictured above is a beautiful 2,221 nine hole par 32 course nestled in the canyons of Laguna Beach that plays in about an hour and a half. Deer can be found on nearly every hole. Now golf becomes very enjoyable and very rewarding. You will find yourself desiring to play much more.
Exercise is important to us all especially before and after long stints of concentration behind the wheel. If you are seeking additional fun to add to your RV lifestyle, golf is highly recommended. Golf clubs travel well and you will always be near a course, wherever your travels take you.
Until next time, be happy and safe in your travels and please feel free to comment below.