The Roots of Golf
I’m writing this morning from Green Bay, WI, as my long-time business partner, Ralph Thompson, and I decided we needed a road trip. It was nice to get away from the 100+ temperatures in Texas for a few days of golf and brain-work with him, working on our marketing/advertising, and general business strategies.
On our agenda for today is a round of golf with some friends we met on one of our “road trips” a few years ago; they live in Door County, so we’re headed to Horseshoe Bay Golf Club later this morning to spend the rest of the day with them. Yesterday we flew into Milwaukee and drove north, starting our trip on a wonderful little course out in the farmland southwest of Green Bay -- The Links of Royal St. Patrick’s. The course was in excellent condition and had good design qualities to the holes, with considerable variety, given the relatively flat “links-y” nature. Of course, it isn’t true links golf, which is based on firm and fast conditions, but we had a great time and enjoyed it. And the cost was $94 for the both of us, including range balls and cart!
The first question you would ask . . . as has every other person I told I was coming this way . . . “are you going to play Whistling Straits?” Well, I really had every intention of doing that, but my frugal German roots somehow got in the way. And that leads to my somewhat of a rant today.
I called Whistling Straits to see about a tee time, and was told that it would be $450 with caddy, plus tip. So, by the time we have lunch and a couple of beers afterward that would make our day of golf a thousand dollar adventure. I’m sorry, guys, but the enjoyment of golf doesn’t require me to spend ten times as much as we did yesterday at Royal St. Patrick’s.
So, I just flat said, “No way!”
Being in the industry, I hear every week how the game is in trouble. How we are losing golfers. How it doesn’t appeal to the kids. How it takes too long and costs too much. Well, duh? When courses like Whistling Straits, Pebble Beach, etc. put themselves completely out of reach of the golf fan, with the price of admission for a few hours of enjoyment equaling or surpassing a car payment or mortgage, what do we expect?
We had a great time on a nice golf course yesterday for less than $150, including lunch and a few beers. Could I really expect to multiply that fun by 8-10 fold had we done it on a “name” golf course? I highly doubt it.
To me, golf is about the challenge of making the ball do what I want, and it doesn’t require some name brand real estate to give me that. All I need is a place to hit from and a 4-1/4” hole somewhere out there.
It’s about spending time with my closest friends, acquaintances who will become friends, or meeting new friends . . . like those we will spend today with after only one afternoon together on a golf course several years ago.
It’s about the thrill of a well struck drive, a solid approach, a good recovery, or a drained putt. And that really isn’t enhanced all that much just because I spent a mortgage payment for the opportunity.
And finally, it’s about the fact that I just simply LOVE this game. And that love was nurtured on a little 9-hole course in a small town in South Texas in the 1950s and 60s. We had very little grass, so I never played the ball “down” until I was in my 20s. But it was GOLF. Pure and simple.
I can enjoy this game on any kind of course, and in many ways, enjoy the simple ones the best. So the rest of our trip, we’re on the search for two more courses for Saturday and Sunday to continue to experience this game at the more grass roots level. If any of you know of a hidden gem between Door County and Milwaukee, drop me an email!
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Leaving from KY to Door County this coming Wednesday. Two courses you need to play. First is The Orchard at Egg Harbor and the second is Peninsula State Park close by. You will enjoy both. Who knows, might see you there.
I could not agree more Terry!!!
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