From the Sidelines


This morning, as with most mornings now that I am retired, I get up and go play golf early in the morning.  I like that because the course is not busy, and I can play at a good pace.  However, the last week or so, when I get to the course, there is usually two groups who are also ready to play, (for the most part!).

The Greenville boys and girls golf teams are out practicing, getting ready for their seasons.  I don’t know how many there are, about 25 or more I would guess, but there they are, working on their games to get ready to represent their school.

I am sure the other courses in the county are seeing the same thing.  The two coaches at Greenville, Brian Stickel for the boys, and Tracy Haines for the girls, are very accommodating, and allow me to tee off before all of them.  Usually though, the girls go off one side and the boys the other, so at some point, I will catch up with either one of them.

Now, the coaches have said we will let you go through when you catch us, and they do, and I have done that sometimes, but lately, I have only been playing about 11 or twelve holes only because I do not want to interfere with the teams.

These are young people, most are learning the game, and trying to establish some kind of rhythm to their games, and me butting in the middle wouldn’t seem to me to help. All of the student athletes are very nice, and don’t seem to mind, but I don’t mind letting them learn.  I think these student athletes, who get up that early, are showing how much they care.

They are learning course etiquette, timing, the swing, and concentration. Plus, how to have fun with at game they can play for a lifetime! Golf is not an easy game, and both coaches are doing their best to help them. Greenville’s teams have had success, but like most High School Sports, that comes into question every year with graduation, and people quitting and moving in and out.

My point with all of this is if you are out playing golf, and the High School teams are practicing, or having a match, give them a break. Some people get mad because they think the kids are holding them up, and are not very good, and shouldn’t be out there…..(I’ve heard some complaints.) What most of us forget is that years ago, we were just like them, or worse!

We forget how slow and how bad we were (or in some cases still are!) and feel like the course belongs to the “veterans”. By now, since we do not play on the PGA tour because of lack of talent, we forget the game is supposed to be fun, not life and death. I don’t mind letting the kids play without me butting in, and you shouldn’t either!  Golf is a lifetime sport, and we have the rest of our lives to hack up golf courses with our buddies, tell lies, exaggerate our abilities, and enjoy the nineteenth hole afterwards.

The student athletes we see now will be us in the future.  Let them learn the right way, and they will have a sport they can share with friends and family forever.  It is the one sport that truly has a social part, and to me, playing with friends, is the most enjoyable part.  Scores don’t really matter, but the interaction with friends and the beauty of the course make life more enjoyable.

So, for Tracy and Brian, don’t worry, just let me off first, and I don’t mind playing 11 or 12 holes now, just help your kids learn the game and enjoy it. Tomorrow (August 3rd) is the first Invitational at Turtle Creek for Greenville. It starts at 9:00, so I will be out early and then home, to sit on my front porch and watch these hopeful PGA and LPGA future players (who knows, could happen!) play the game.  I wish them all well!  That’s the way I see it…….from the sidelines.