To the uninitiated, golf looks like a crazy game. Walking around a field for a few hours hitting a small ball into a small hole does sound a bit nonsensical, maybe more so in the age of COVID-19, the CoronaVirus.
Just a few days ago, on an early morning walk, I noticed two gentlemen (twosome) playing this ‘crazy’ game. It was damp and chilly, normal for early April in western New York. A light fog hung in the air as they trudged along between shots, with their bag full of ‘sticks’ (clubs) slung comfortably over their shoulders. They appeared nonplussed by the conditions on the course and the concerns in their community, going about their play, bonded by a common interest and obvious love of the game of golf
Unlike politics, golf is not a ‘blood sport’. On the contrary, it’s a gentle game, played by gentlemen and gentle ladies and even youngsters learning the art of being gentle.
For those who love it, it’s almost a perfect game: you against a course that has withstood the challenge of thousands of other golfers over time, yet still stands, or lays, scuffed and scarred, maybe, but rarely beaten.
A course with its plush green grasses (fairways & greens) cut to different heights atop an earth that bends left or right (doglegs), or steers straight ahead, with dips and rolls, and hazards placed precisely, or randomly, to catch the tiniest of unforced, self inflicted errors, diminishing further, in all likelihood, an already bruised ego.
It’s a game with strange words: birdies, bogies and, my two favorites, mulligans and gimmies. The courses, literally manicured fields, where the game is played, have some of the most recognizable and romantic names in sports: Augusta, St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Sawgrass and here in Rochester, New York, the classic Oak Hill.
Champion golfers compete for fabulous prize money almost on a weekly basis. They ply their trade in front of legions of spectators who march behind their heroes, cheering after well struck shots while practicing monk like muteness during swings. A personal oath of silence is golden on a golf course, yet a tiger-like roar can be heard across fairways when a star makes a great shot.
Amateur golfers of all skill levels display a level of enthusiasm unparalleled in other sports. A devotee finds something in the game as reason to return to play, again and again, even during a pandemic, apparently.
Case in point, the aforementioned twosome. Nothing was going to stop their game, today. Not the morning chill and dampness, not even the CoronaVirus.
However, to be fair, the two were keeping the proper social distancing of 6 feet minimum, and if they did have to approach other golfers, shouting a warning to beware would suffice…
To golfers everywhere, come Hell or high water.