Golf is a game that you can play at any age and, thanks to the handicap system, against anybody.
Given enough strokes, your grandfather could compete favorably with Tiger Woods during his prime.
It’s also a game you can play anywhere. However, that’s a bit more complicated than being given a few strokes by your opponent.
Getting around to different golf courses takes time and money, not to mention a bit of planning.
Luckily for David and Silver Lamb of Riverbank, they were able to make it all work.
The Lambs take great pride in playing different golf courses, so much so that it became their decade-long quest to play an 18-hole round of golf in all 50 states.
The couple completed that quest this summer when they played 18 holes at Anchorage Golf Course in Alaska.
“I’m very proud that we stuck to it and completed this,” said Silver.
“It was definitely a bucket-list goal,” added Dave.
The Lambs, who have been married for 29 years — Silver celebrated their big day on Sept. 25 with a hole-in-one at Spring Creek Golf and Country Club in Ripon — and they’ve been playing golf for nearly 25 years.
They’re both retired. He was a meat cutter for Save Mart Supermarkets and she an elementary school music teacher for Sylvan Union School District.
They embarked upon this journey simply by seeking out different courses to play within the Golden State, with no other purpose in mind than to play interesting layouts.
Then, in 2012, they took a vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Naturally, they decided to play a little golf while they were there.
And a plan was hatched.
They decided to start small. They ventured into Oregon and then Arizona.
“We quickly realized that there weren’t enough years to get all the states in if we didn’t start playing multiple courses each trip,” said Silver. So, the next trip we did Washington, Idaho and Montana.”
The following year it was North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Next, it was Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana.
And so on, until they realized that they could tackle even more states — six to eight — per trip.
In 2017, they traveled to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wyoming and the Dakotas. The following year, it was Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and, for good measure, Washington D.C.
“We did two states in one day,” said Silver. “We played a course in Connecticut and then drove over to Rhode Island and played one there. Those states are so small, it’s manageable.”
Some courses were just nine-hole courses, so they’d play them twice. Hey, nine plus nine equals 18, right?
In Memphis, they had to deal with nasty weather to get in the round. More than that, a rainy day could throw off their entire itinerary.
“We would fly to one destination, rent a car and then drive to different courses,” Silver explained. “We had to play speed golf in Memphis to beat the rain.”
The coronavirus pandemic was a setback to the entire endeavor, but they were able to make up for lost time.
“This year was the big one,” said David. “We did nine state’s this year.”
The Lambs’ golf outings were about more than just golf.
The travel allowed the couple to visit parts of the country they never thought they’d see, it afforded them the opportunity to meet new people, try new foods and experience all different types of weather.
“The Chicago dog … it’s everything that’s is said to be, but the Chicago-style pizza, not so much,” said Dave “And they had excellent prime rib in Kansas.”
But mainly, yeah, it was about the golf. Though, it’s not always easy playing a course with which you’re unfamiliar.
“If you have a blind shot over a hill or around some tree,” said Dave, “you’re at a disadvantage if you haven’t played the course before.”
In addition to battling the elements — summer in other parts of the country isn’t always as sun-drenched as the summers in Central California — there are other local “residents” with which to contend.
“We were warned about ticks and bears and alligators,” said Silver.
Despite wandering across the country, David’s favorite golf course was one nearby — Wolf Creek Golf Club in Mesquite, Nev.
“It was gorgeous,” said Dave. “You get to hit off elevated tees, it’s carved through a mountain, and the light is just totally different.”
Silver’s favorite was the Circling Raven Golf Club in Worley, Idaho.
But their favorite thing of all? Just hanging out together.
“We got to play golf together and be outside and enjoy a nice walk,” said Dave.
During the adventure, Dave’s best round was a 79 — he has an index of 12.7 — at Red Tail Golf Club in Devens, Mass. Silver’s best score was an 88.
“That came at Prairie Dunes in Nebraska,” she said.
Actually, Prairie Dunes Country Club is in neighboring Kansas. Silver’s 88 was carded at The Prairie Club in Valentine, Neb., where they have two courses — the Dunes Course and the Pine Course (designed by former British Open champion Tom Lehman).
“That’s it. The Prairie Club. I got them confused,” she admitted. “All I know is that I had the best pork chop of my life there.”
So, what’s the next big quest for the Lambs?
“I don’t know,” said Dave. “We’ve been thinking about that. Maybe the Canadian provinces.”
Sounds like a plan, eh?