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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Not Everybody Plays Blitzkrieg Golf

Greats of Golf Scramble, 2014 Insperity Invitational
I was feeling just a little bit crabby about the foursome of old guys playing in front of me yesterday.  They were taking their time getting in and out of their carts, chatting amiably with each other between shots, and generally just not at all concerned with the pace of play.  The women play ready golf.  Actually, we play Blitzkrieg Golf.

We were all just a bit impatient, just a tad disgruntled that our lightening round had been slowed to the pace of a casual crawl.  My mind wandered.  I wasn't focused on my game.  There was empty space between my last shot and the next one.

On my way to my car later in the afternoon I passed a golf cart that gave me pause.  There were three bags on the cart, a full bag on the driver's side and, strapped together, two junior bags on the passenger's side, one blue, the other pink, the clubs clearly well-used, muddy, marred by endless encounters with rocks, cart paths, and other avoidable obstacles.  I paused, and smiled, confident that this threesome wasn't concerned about pace of play.

As golfers do, I went from my own Saturday round to the pros.  When I got home I checked the leaderboard at the Patty Berg Symetra event.  I watched Stacy Lewis miss a few putts at the North Texas LPGA Shootout.  Then, lingering on Golf Channel, I wandered into the Insperity Greats of Golf scramble, and I was captivated.

The Greats of Golf weren't in the least bit concerned with pace of play.  Nor were they disturbed by short shots off the tee, chips that erred into water hazards and bunkers, or putts that rolled well past the cup.

Lee Trevino reminded me that it's not always about how you execute the shots, that the Game of Golf is a thickly textured and delicious sandwich of technical athleticism, mental acuity, and sociability.
The thing is, you never know when you're going to see these guys again, much less play golf with them.
In the end, the Greats of Golf scramble concluded with a -10 tie between the Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino team and Tony Jacklin, Dave Stockton, Johnny Miller team.  Don January, Ray Floyd and David Graham got home in -6, but as they chatted with each other after their round, nobody seemed focused on the rankings.

They'd just enjoyed having the opportunity to play a round together, and I enjoyed relearning the simple, unalterable fact that golf is a game for the young and the old, the fat and the thin, the well-chiseled athlete and the slightly out-of-breath sometimes-couch potato alike.