Why Play the Game of Golf
It's the way the first tee feels, alive with possibility.
It's that feeling, out of nowhere,
that comes as you're lining up a putt,
letting you know that all you have to do is get the ball rolling and
the hole will get in the way.
It's the thump of a well-played bunker shot.
It's nine holes late in the day, when the sun is sinking
and the shadows are stretching,
showing every bump and roll in a golden light
that makes you stop and look around.
It's calling your shot and pulling it off.
It's your Saturday morning game,
with a little money on the line
and no haggling about the teams.
It's the guys
who look like they can't play a lick
then spend their days around par,
not needing swing coaches,
just having a knack for getting the ball in the hole.
It's calling your own penalties.
It's a kid with his bag slung over his shoulder,
cap pulled down low, hoofing it down a fairway.
It's nipping a wedge just right,
having it bounce once
and cozy up to the hole.
It's a bowl of peanuts and
a cold beer at the end of the day,
when stories can be embellished,
if only a little.
It's the warm feel of a turtleneck in December,
the first greening of the grass in March,
the thrill of hitting it a club longer in July
and greens as fast as the kitchen floor in October.
It's the suntan marks left by your golf socks and shoes.
It's having the sun behind you and
catching a tee shot square,
having a moment to admire it
as it's framed against the sky.
It's the small but sudden thrill of finding a new Titleist,
even if you already have a bagful.
It's the clutch in your throat the first time you see Pebble Beach
in person and the never-ending thrill playing it.
It's the belief that the magic you've found in a new driver
will last forever.
It's the scent of salt air,
the faint taste of pine pollen on your lips
and the glimpse of a gator in a low country lagoon.
It's standing over a 5-footer
that doesn't matter to anyone but you
and being thankful for the feeling.
It's Mickelson with a wedge in his hand,
and Nicklaus on the property.
It's the little places with
pickups in the parking lot,
ragged grass, bumpy greens,
worn-out golf carts, yellow range balls,
and a spirit all its own.
It's the way you practice your swing
in the elevator riding down,
the way you put an overlapping grip on the rake,
and the way you see golf holes
where others just see
fields along the highway.
It's the way tournament golf feels,
even if it's just a little club event.
It's the feel of new grips
and the shine of new irons.
It's playing with your father, your brother, your son.
It's listening to David Feherty, Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo
explain the game as only they can.
It's the gentle creak of aging muscles in the evening,
a good tired.
It's winning the press at the 18th.
It's going for a par-5 in two,
trying to cut a corner,
and that instant when you wonder
if the shot is as good as it looks.
It's golf. And it's why we play the game.