By Ray Cardello –
Golf is not just a game or a sport. Golf is a bridge. Golf connects generations, genders, and the chapters of one’s life. Golf is not just chasing a little ball around the links but also a game of mind and body. Golf comes to life in the spring and passes grudgingly in the fall. The love of Golf started early for me. My Dad made sure of it. He would take me on Sunday mornings as he had his weekly match with two lifelong friends. I was probably 10 when he let me start playing along. I was hooked and felt like one of the guys. Golf does that to you.
Driving ranges were not as prevalent back then, so we would go to the football fields at Phillips Academy in Andover. Dad would hit away, and I would shag the balls for him. Golf, and life, was simpler then. Dad played as long as he could. His friends moved South, and Parkinson’s took a bit of Dad. I still have some of his old clubs in the garage. They are a symbol of a connection between a Dad and his Son.
This weekend is an excellent example of the power of Golf. Friday morning round with a few of my octogenarian friends. At 67, I am the kid of the group. We play three times a week, and it is a special time watching old friends just having fun instead of competing, playing a game they have loved for life. Saturday round with my Sweetheart. She is a bit intense but still usually bests me. Sunday round with my Son as the generational cycle continues, and then Sunday afternoon watching the Magician, Phil Mickelson. At 50, he is looking to be the oldest winner of a Major. Lefty is pulling away after the front nine, and the crowd is going crazy in the wind and sun of South Carolina. The PGA Championship is within reach of the popular guy with the sunglasses who has made us smile for decades. The old man is showing kids half his age how the game is played.
Golf meant even more in this year of the Pandemic. As we were coming out of a winter of isolation and restrictions, there was Golf. No masks, naturally social distanced, and outdoors in the fresh air. It brought us memories, but more importantly, it brought us hope. There were no masks on the old course today. There were no masks in the clubhouse today. There was normal. There was civility. There was tradition. There was Golf, and for a few hours, life was good.
We will continue to grow out of COVID-19. We will get back to life as it was, and we will continue to Golf. There may be no other activity that you can do for life, do with friends or family, and even sometimes do by yourself. When everything has put pressure on our lives, our health, our emotions, our existence, we have Golf. The simple game of chasing a little white ball around the course has never been needed so much or been so important.
I usually write about politics, but on this Sunday, I needed a break from that game. Thank goodness there is a game that is far more civil. A game for ladies and gentlemen. A game for the ages. There is Golf. I watched Phil walking up the 18th with tears in my eyes. The crowds, the joy, the Old Man. Thanks for Golf, Thank you, Phil.
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