RENSLOW: Thankful for golf’s many gifts |

RENSLOW: Thankful for golf’s many gifts

The calm anticipation of a veritable smorgasbord, the company of friends and family, as well as time to ponder everything we have in these United States (not to mention a football game or three) should be enough as we celebrate this coming 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 includes 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 cactus or even meander alongside 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 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 feeling 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 Ben 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 California native Phil Mickelson or South Korea’s Sung Hyun Park, crossing global lines to show the golfing world a game that is dominating the LPGA Tour.

And, next weekend, while you’re snacking on your third turkey sandwich in as many days, don’t be too disappointed that the major golf tours are on holiday. There are a host of quality FBS, NBA, and NFL games, at which time you can be thankful for that high-definition television.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at

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