Long Time, No Post – Golf Always Taking A Backseat

Starting blogs is easy. It’s the keeping at them that’s the tough thing.

I can honestly say that about most of the blogs I’ve begun in the last several years. From politics to religion to sports to golf, it’s easy to have inspiration for a topic, but not always easy to find the time or words to encapsulate the expression.

I decided to fire up WordPress and saw that I hadn’t posted on this blog since last year’s Pebble Beach tournament. In other words, it’s been nearly a year. Have I forgotten about golf? Of course not. But there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

Golf is the sport of rich men. Go grab a copy of Golf Digest (to which I recently subscribed for the first time in 20 years), and nowadays they list the prices for every article of clothing worn by the touring pros and instructors. The resorts described are almost always posh, marketed to retirees and the privileged.

Suffice it to say I’m not a rich man. It’s a sport I love but also one whose cost prohibits me from playing much at all. I’m pretty sure that will change one of these days, but until then golf takes a backseat.

Perhaps the golf economy mirrors the real world economy, though. Last year I went to a local par 3 course to hit some range balls in preparation of a scramble a couple of weeks later. The course offers a much more affordable membership plan than, say, the local country club (maybe 1/3 of the cost). You might consider it one of the “Walmarts” of the golfing economy.

I grew up on an affordable course. It was a regulation 18-holer, but it was (and still is) very affordable mostly due to a depressed small-town economy. But it was pretty much the only real option for everyone in the surrounding towns, so everyone golfed there – from the CEO’s of the local factories to the guys milking the cows twice a day. Being a substitute in a Thursday night men’s league might pit you against one of the town’s wealthier individuals.

Fast forward 20 years and a move south to a more robust economic region. I am not sure I can say for sure that things are the same or different here than they were 20 years ago. One observation I can make is that the most affordable courses are dwindling in number. There are a few, but the ones that survive most are state-run (i.e. backed by a large body that can absorb losses).

There are also fewer corporate owned courses here. That was a place where many different classes of worker would get together. I even belonged to one early in my career, but soon found that monetary challenges prevented more than a summer of membership.

So now there are the a) ultra-exclusive private clubs (i.e. expensive), b) semi-private “resort” style courses which offers moderately-expensive memberships and good conditions, and c) the dusty affordable tracks that see way too much traffic and offer few perks at all.

What it has done is give me a great appreciation for the people who curated my home course. It wasn’t luxurious, but they kept it in good shape throughout even the driest of Augusts.

I hope to get this blog going again, but as with any of my blogs it can be a touch-and-go thing. Here’s hoping to more inspiration – and time – to write about the small ball.

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