When I was young, my sisters and I used to make fun of our adult relations who watched golf on TV. “Could life get any more boring!” we snickered. Our logic was that the game of golf in and of itself seemed pretty boring, but watching others play could put you into the snooze zone.
Fast forward a few decades. While thinking about what to get my husband for his fortieth birthday, I heard John Feinstein on the radio talk about his book, A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour (1996). My husband and I loved hiking, so SHA-ZAM, I heard “Fore!” and the inspirational golf ball hit me. I bought him a set of clubs for his birthday. They sat in the garage for a couple of years until one day the golf bug bit him. Now, after four sets of clubs, three push carts, several pairs of shoes, many lessons, and thousands of balls, he is a talented player. He says he’s not, but I’ve seen him on the course. He has mastered driving a golf ball straight down the fairway and making birdies. My journey in learning to play has not been as successful. I own a set of clubs. Let’s just leave it at that.
The US Masters, one of four major tournaments of the PGA, is played every year in Augusta, Georgia. And, after watching Tiger Woods win in 1997, we have become hooked on watching the tournament every April. Like thousands of others, we have also joined the ranks of golf enthusiasts attending PGA tournaments. We enjoy being outdoors, walking the courses, and watching the players make inconceivable shots. For a spectator, golf is always a good walk.
The game of golf, I have learned, is far from boring. It is about playing fair, using focus and finesse, and connecting with nature. Because of Mr. Feinstein’s book, I now have tremendous respect for the professionals who play the game.
The PGA 2012 Masters first round is Thursday. From the ninety-seven players, who will make the Saturday cut, go on to win on Sunday and put on the green jacket? Watch it, if not for the exciting play, then for the virtual good walks through the Georgia pines and blooming azaleas.