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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Golfing on Labor Day

Used courtesy
Happily, while the swimming pools close after Labor Day, the golf courses will remain open. But there's something about the official End-of-Summer that induces a moment of frenetic madness in American culture.  Golf courses aren't immune.
I will join the throng and golf on Labor Day.  I wouldn't miss it.  I know teeing off is going to be an experience that will be either comedic or grueling, depending on my attitude.  Golf can be such a joy -- I'm opting for the comedic.

I know the course will be backed up, overloaded with golfers intent on getting in one more round before summer's end, apparently unaware that golf is a year-round, all-weather sport. The play will be slow.  Balls will be lost, sent into exile in obscure corners of the course, futilely hunted by players who didn't track ball flight off the face of their club.   There will be whiffs, and there will be mulligans, reminding me that the Rules of Golf, sacred to some, are irrelevant to others.

Golfers who don't have handicaps will slow the flow of my round with their labored assessments of putts they can't make.  I will need to remember that not everyone one plays the Blitzkrieg Golf favored by the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association.

There will be foursomes who don't understand ready golf.  There will be foursomes who came to drink beer, for whom golf is serving as an excuse.  There will be un-raked bunkers and unfilled divots.  I'm not a saint.  I will snarl if my ball comes to rest in a sandy footprint.  I may use adult language to express my disapproval of the situation.

All these golfers, each struggling at his or her own level to establish dominion over the small ball and the mythic par, remind me that golf is a lifetime sport, equally challenging to the youngest junior and the eldest senior, equally accessible to the scratch golfer and the 30 handicapper.  And it is the only sport that enfolds and embraces diversity of skill levels.

On Tuesday, week-day life on the golf course will return to normal.  The men's groups, the seniors, the women's association will be back on their schedule.  The Last-Day-of-Summer players will be gone, back in their offices, back at their desks.  The juniors will be back in school.  Those of us who are fortunate enough to play on, through Mother Nature's unending cycle -- the late summer, fall, cold winter, and into the early spring, when the fairways become green again -- will once again take control of the week-day schedule and continue our year-round stewardship of our home courses.