Fore 720 Plus Years


Golf. It’s arguably the most four hours of frustration anyone can ever endure. It has ups, downs, slices, hooks, duffs, chunks, skulls, lakes, ponds and divots. It also has eagles, birdies, and pars, lush fairways, tall roughs, fast greens, and even an occasional hole in one. It is played worldwide by over 60 million people, between 25 and 29 million of those are in the United States. That’s more people than live in some smaller countries. The game originated in Scotland and in 2021 there were only 192,724 registered golfers playing her courses. In that same year, there were 5.4 million people living in the whole country. That is roughly 3.6 percent of the people living in Scotland play golf. That is not a large percentage of people who live in the country where the sport was invented. That doesn’t say much for golf, you might say. Tell that to the 54,600,000 people who do play. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

Nevertheless, those 60 million people have a special day today. April 10 is International Golfers Day. Yay! Cheers, hit ‘em long and straight! So, fellow hackers, we celebrate the birdies, bogies, sand trap shots, behind the trees lies, and the center of the fairway drives.  No matter the score with or without a handicap, lost balls, water balls, and breakfast balls, we are on the course rain or shine, wind or not, cold or hot, and just like the postman, nothing will deter us from delivering a completed round.

Golf is also an equalizer sport. Take for instance, the young, up and coming newbie in the office who gets invited to play a round with his boss, on the company dime of course. Our young nervous nellie steps into the tee box just after his boss hit one down the left side into a huge swath of snarky grass. Our boy is sharp. He had been practicing for this ever since he was given the invite a week ago. He’s got an arsenal in his bag that will smoke anyone on the course, and he is ready to begin dispensing his load. He steps in, fidgets with his footing, takes aim down center right of the fairway, he begins his back swing, and as he is looking down at his ball, his brain suddenly yells the word, ‘Boss!’ into his mind. Our guy is astute in the etiquettes of golf and as he brings his driver down to the ball he turns his right wrist, and sends the ball sailing down the right side just into the adjacent fairway. “Tough luck, kid,” the boss whispers. ‘Well played’ is what our guy hears his inner voice say. He smiles at the ground as he picks up his tee.

Now, this man is one of the smarter 60 million. Pretty sure that when God was giving out golf brains this guy was at the front of the line. But wait. Like a lot of us who visit the links often, the ‘Boss’ is not doing any better than he did on that first hole. This is not his day to score. Does that mean it could be our boy’s day to hit the longest ball, closest to the pin, and best overall score? This is making for an interesting day, especially when the young stick decides, ‘Yes! It is my day to be the best I can be!’ The outcome of the day, and the questionability of that decision are still talked about today around the watercooler. Where is that young man today? That scenario happened 20 years ago, and that young man has since retired from the company. When he did, the ‘Boss’ who he smoked that day on the course, handed him a gold platted golf ball with the date of that game on it. Sometimes, the game of golf is an equalizing force it seems. It should be noted though, that over those 20 years that once young man was never given the corner office on the fifth floor down the hall from the ‘Boss’.

On this day dedicated to golfers, if you are on the course and you happen to think about it, as you round the ninth hole, headed for the back nine, give a nod and smile to the powers that be, the Marshalls, the Starters and the grounds keepers. It is good to be among the 60 million, isn’t it? Hit ‘em far and straight, and keep out of the beach!