Wednesday, September 05, 2007


There is not much about playing golf that I dislike. Except, of course, for double-bogeys, water hazards and sand. I like sand on the beach, but not in my socks, shorts or as a landing area for my golf ball.

Other than those few curses, I like the game a lot. But for many more reasons than just for the sport itself.

I'll admit it does feel good when I strike the ball so well I can feel it in my swing. It's almost an effortless movement as I contact the ball, and I know exactly where it will be once my motion tilts my head so that I can finally look up. That doesn't happen very often for me, which is probably why I savor the moments so.

But there are also the sounds of the game that richen the sport. Like the swoosh of a well swung club or the soft purr of a ball landing safely on the green. My all time favorite golf sound is the ball as it finally reaches its destination, bouncing on the bottom of the cup.

Smell adds an extra dimension to the sport. As in baseball, there's the remarkably athletic scent of my left hand laced with the aroma of leather from my glove. And a field of aromatic wild sage that grows along the side of the fourteenth hole on my favorite course. Newly mowed grass, algae in the pond, mud along the riverbank and cattle in the adjacent field all contribute layers of olfactory sensations unique to the sport.

I would not consider myself a slow player despite my attraction to nature as well as the game of golf. But I feel sorry for those who only enjoy the sport for the game. The ones who race around the links, pedal to the metal, moving from shot to shot as quickly as the cart will allow. Sometimes faster than it will allow. They, sadly, miss an awful lot of good things.

Not that I never ride or play just to finish the game sometimes, but I prefer to carry my bag and walk the course rather than ride a cart. The exercise is only a side benefit. I get to think through my next shot before I grip the club again, and spend a little quality time enjoying the sounds, the scents, the beauty of the game, the simplicity of nature.