This time of year always makes me smile.
Not because of the weather or that impending doom that is around the corner we call winter. The thing that makes me smile most is the peculiar nature of the die-hard golfer.
It never ceases to amaze me that on a day with 40 degrees, a slight mist and a wind howling at 30 miles an hour, we will always have at least a few golfers come in the door and ask the proverbial question, “Are we going to be the only fools playing today?” My answer is always the same, “You say fools, but I say diehards!”
After the initial exchange it will usually continue with some, if not all, of the following questions or comments.
Have you looked at the radar on the computer? What will it be doing in two hours? Will the rain get any harder? What do you mean frost, it felt warm outside? When will it warm up enough to tee off? Do golf balls freeze and break?
Don’t worry, I brought my cordless drill to get the tee in the ground! Is it a water penalty if you can hit it off the frozen lake? Would your tongue stick to a graphite shaft like it did to my steel shaft last week? Do you think we are foolish? – “No, not foolish, just diehard!”
We chuckle, but there are very few sports that drive diehard participants like the game of golf.
Golfers will play anywhere, anytime and for any reason.
Too wet for golf carts, “we will walk.”
To wet for walking, “we have waders!” (really, they did!)
Too cold, “we have a full cover for the golf cart, winter mittens, long underwear, hot hands packets in our pockets, four layers of clothing” and with all of that we will swear that “it isn’t too bad out there!” while we are making the turn to the back nine.
Or the best, “please let it snow, because with snow you don’t get too wet, but sometimes your golf ball makes a little snow ball as it makes it way to the hole.”
If the course is closed with feet of snow, we diehards can still figure it all out.
Can you say simulator!
Do any other sports have computer-generated full size simulators where the participants can play their favorite game inside on courses that they could never play during the summer?
Where else can you go to Scotland and play 18 holes of golf and be home before dinner? And, all this can be done with beer, hum.
Golfers are a unique breed as a whole and the subset of golfers that we refer to as diehards are even slightly more unique, sometimes more than we would like to admit (and you know who you are).
There are so many things that make golf the best sport on earth and diehards are one of those reasons.
They will do many things, some legal and some not, to play the game they love.
They will stand in line for hours, get up at 4 a.m. and purchase really expensive rain gear to play when most people won’t go outside.
God bless those diehards and “let’s hope we hatch some more!”
Larry Norland is the director of golf at Green Haven Golf Course in Anoka.