As we all know, many lives have been negatively affected by the novel coronavirus, forcing some of our favorite restaurants and stores to close down in order to slow the spread. But, the one thing that’s remained constant and has even grown during these unprecedented times is the game of golf — the perfect remedy for getting out of the house since it’s a naturally socially-distanced sport. According to the National Golf Foundation, there was a 20% increase seen in rounds played between August 2019 and August 2020.
As an avid golfer myself, I wanted to start a column to help grow the game here in the 209 area. With so many new players enjoying the sport for the first time this past year, I thought it was important to share my knowledge of the game and connect with others who love the game or may be thinking of playing for the first time.
When I was younger my father always tried getting me into golf since he liked to play, but as a kid I wasn’t into the slow pace of the game. I grew up playing football and baseball, but now as I approach my 30s, golf is the one sport I play on a weekly basis. When I first got into golf it was just an excuse to get out of the house and go see my college buddies and catch up, but after a few years of playing we all meet up now to try and better our game. Even during this past year with so many restrictions, it was nice to be able to safely play a round together and not have to worry about exposure.
I only started playing golf about four years ago, but since then it has consumed my life for better or worse. It’s a game that can have you feeling on the top of the world one moment, and the next you’re crashing down to earth and getting ready to put your clubs up for sale on eBay. I’ve experienced every emotion while out on the course — some of them not always pleasant — but there’s something magical about this sport that keeps you wanting more. There’s no greater feeling in the world than when you flush a long iron, smash a drive onto the fairway or sink a long birdie putt.
Still, none of those feelings will ever top when I hit my first hole-in-one this past September. I went on a golf trip for my birthday with three of my close friends and we played a round at Eagle Vines in Napa. I’m not going to lie — I was having a terrible round and spraying the ball everywhere. I was hitting bogies and three putting all over the course, but when I stepped up to the 14th tee, I had the greatest shot of my life. It was 150 yards downhill with the pin positioned left of a small slope on the green. I took out my pitching wedge and hit a great shot just up on the top slope of the hill. Thinking I had stuck it right of the pin, I started to walk back to my bag to put my club away when my friends started yelling, “it’s rolling, it’s rolling!” I turned around just in time to catch the little white ball rolling slowly left downhill towards the flag. We all grabbed each other around the shoulders in anticipation and when the ball disappeared into the cup, we went absolutely crazy.
Never in my life had I thought I would get a hole-in-one, and to get one with three of my best friends with me to witness it was something I’ll cherish forever.
It’s these moments that make the game so great and wonderful to play, no matter what your skill set is. That’s why I want to help grow the game and see others experience the frustrations and joys of golf. Next issue, I plan on discussing some of my favorite courses that I’ve played in the 209, but I would also like to hear from you, the reader. If there are certain subjects of golf, courses you’d like to see covered or if you’d like to begin playing and don’t know where to start, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.