The calm anticipation of a veritable smorgasbord, the company of friends and family and time to ponder everything we have in these United States, (not to mention a football game or two) should be enough as we celebrate on this Thanksgiving Day.
However, let’s face it. Golfers have more to be thankful for than everybody else. This is not a statement of pride. It is with the utmost humility that we recognize golf as the greatest game. We are grateful to be a part of it, part of several centuries of history that include presidents and kings, peasants and paupers, all captivated by the experience.
We are thankful that the game of golf is unique. What other sport is played throughout nature? In some senses, the game is without borders (although it could really raise your score), we don’t drive around in circles for hours on end (sorry NASCAR), and no two courses are the same.
The courts of other sports have the same dimensions no matter where you go. A tennis court in the desert is just like a tennis court in the mountains. We are thankful that golf courses are individually situated on coastlines, positioned along hill sides and designed to roam through cacti or even meander past lava formations.
We are thankful that you get to talk to the people you play with. Just imagine a couple of basketball players, one shuffling his feet while the other dribbles, both trying to make their way toward the teams waiting near the basket. One says, “Hey, how’s the family?” While the other says, “Just fine, thanks, and you?” Of course not.
Strolling down the fairway with friends, family or somebody you just met is a perfect opportunity to catch up or get acquainted.
We are thankful that we can enjoy the exercise. God bless those poor souls pounding the rotating belt of a treadmill or hammering away at the stair climber. I don’t know about you, but the best way to exercise is when you don’t know you’re doing it. An average of seven miles around the golf course is a great way to go.
We are thankful that one key word is “play.” Okay, we all have to grow up sometime. But as adults, we need to be kids on occasion, and golf courses around the country have social security-receiving youngsters sewing their oats on a regular basis.
We are thankful for inspiration. “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp — or what’s a heaven for?” Golf is not a game of perfection. It is a game of achievement. We can set a new bar for ourselves, we can strive to be better, and we have a host of heroes.
Heroes like Hogan, a man who almost lost his life in an automobile accident, only to come back and play his best golf, if not the best golf. Heroes like Rory McIlroy or Yani Tseng, crossing global lines to show the golfing world a game “with which we are not familiar.”
And this weekend, while you’re snacking on your third turkey sandwich in as many days, turn on the Dubai World Championship. It’s a season-culminating event similar to the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup with a PGA Tour Championship-type finale. The top 60 players have qualified, and in the top 10 are McIlory (PGA champion), Luke Donald (Ranked No. 2 in the world) and Louis Oosthuizen (former Open Champ and Masters runner-up). At which time you can be thankful for that high-definition television.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org