Google+ Badge

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Golfing on Labor Day

Used courtesy www.golfdigest.com
Happily, while the swimming pools close after Labor Day, the golf courses will remain open. But there's something about the official End-of-Summer that induces a moment of frenetic madness in American culture.  Golf courses aren't immune.
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventure Golf: Playing Beyond The Short Grass

The Great Search. Photo credit: http://www.mindgolf.net/598
Golf's a game that's meant to be played in the short grass and the best golfers I know generally manage to get from tee to green without venturing beyond that relatively easy path to the target.  The trees, the dirt, the stones and sometimes the boulders, the storage sheds that others avoid all call out to me from time-to-time.

I once asked Alma if she didn't get bored with hitting the ball into the fairway, hitting it again, still in the fairway, putting it on the green, and then dropping it into the cup.  She's one of several regular playing partners who seem to deliver the kind of game fairly consistently that I've always secretly envied.
Where's the challenge? I asked her.
 Don't you understand that the challenge is to stay in the fairway, she'd responded.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Athletes & Celebrities: Lydia Ko, Michael Phelps & Mo'Ne Davis

Mo'Ne Davis. Photo Credit: People.com/Gene J. Puskar/AP
Mo'Ne Davis, the little girl with the fast arm who's leading the Taney Dragons from Philly to what's increasingly looking like a victory at the 68th Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA this week, has grabbed the attention of New York Times sportswriter Jake Flanagin and Glamor's Megan Angelo, among others.  What kind of future, they muse, does "a 13 year-old, 5-foot-4 girl with a mean throwing arm" have as a professional athlete?  Oh my goodness! What an interesting question!  Let's unpack it, starting with a quick look at the difference between professional athletes and sports celebrities.  Or are these categories so overlapped in our culture that there's no difference?

Monday, August 11, 2014

On Champions and Championships

Bonnie Bell,
2014 Star Fort Ladies Golf Association Champion
I had a heavy dose of championship play on Sunday and I got to take a good look at some champions and near-champions as well.  First I played my own Sunday round at the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association annual championship and shared a celebratory meal with the field of contenders, then rushed home to watch what I assumed would be Inbee Park and Suzann Pettersen battle to the finish of the Meijer LPGA Classic.

I'd just settled in and adjusted to the fact that Pettersen had dropped back and there was a rookie in the mix at the Meijer --  Mirim Lee was playing at the top of the board alongside golf's Serene Queen -- when my Facebook chat went wild.

Matt Hooper, St Andrews Golf Magazine editor and Les Bailey, ProGolfNow editor, were yelling at me:
You're missing a classic . . . this is the matchup we've waited for . . . and no Tiger!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Shot of the Day

On the whole, I didn't play a memorable round of golf today.  I was a little slow getting out the door this morning and didn't have time for a proper warm-up before the women teed off.  Various parts of my old body were complaining and resisting in one way or another.  I fumbled my way through the first hole, which just isn't the way to start a round of golf.  It was slightly too hot and slightly too humid to be pleasant, except when I could take temporary refuge in the shade and let the breeze function as my personal air conditioner.

But I had some good shots to tuck into my memory bank and I had one shot out of a bunker that was downright terrific -- it would have qualified for a Golf Channel replay!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Meet Me At The Diner: A Conversation About Golf & Golf Blogging


About eighteen months ago Charlie Bethel -- my younger son who does not play golf but with whom I share a passion for the written word, and who was working on his own writing project while he was visiting me -- suggested that I start writing a golf blog.  Over a pleasant alfresco lunch on my deck we talked about that suggestion.  Quite honestly, I'd never considered blogging.  I'm a writer of books.  But I followed Charlie's suggestion and found an intellectual, literary, and spiritual home in blogging.  It's a dynamic form, offering an almost instantaneous connection with my readers, providing a venue with an embedded feedback loop, a virtual conversation.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Anne Eller, host of the WCRS award-winning "Meet Me At The Diner," about my personal and public transformation from sociologist to golf blogger.  Anne's an amazing interviewer and extracted from me a coherent narrative of how I became a golf blogger and my assessment of blogging as a form of communication.

You are crucial partners in this ongoing conversation that I enjoy so very much.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tiger, Monnie & Me: Rule 25-2-Embedded Ball

Monnie at the 2014 SFLGA Spring Tournament
At the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association we pick play groups for our regular play days by drawing colored poker chips from an old, tattered, mildly dirty Crown Royal bag.  There's some flexibility to the process -- you can always negotiate a private chip swap -- but for the most part we take what we get.  I'm always pleased when Monnie and I are in the same group.  I consistently enjoy the time I spend with her on the golf course.

Let me describe Monnie: she's the Lexi Thompson of the geriatric golfer set.  She's strong, has a powerful swing, and is always nicely put-together, with a seemingly endless supply of matching visors, gloves, shirts and shorts.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Almost A Great Shot (Except For The Bad Bounce or The Errant Pine Cone)

Heartbreak.  Photo credit: www.lpga.com
Along with thousands other women's golf fans I was riveted to Golf Channel late Saturday afternoon when Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson gave it everything they had to save Team USA's place in the Sunday Showdown lineup at the International Crown.   They couldn't pull it off.

Friends who neither play nor follow golf and who do not share my passion were waiting for me to join them for dinner.  I texted -- order some appetizers and have a drink -- I'm going to be late -- must see this hole to the end.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rule 13-3/3: Building A Stance

Sun-Ju Ahn, 2014 RICOH Women's British Open
Photo credit: www.golfweek.com/Getty Images
While there are only 31 of them, the Rules of Golf are rather like the Rules of Life.  They're complicated, thickly textured, and not always entirely clear.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Magical Golf Shots: An Eyewitness Account

Annette Walker, @TinkWalker
For those who love the Game of Golf there are places -- Musselburgh Links, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Pinehurst No 2, Pebble Beach -- and people -- Old Tom Morris, Francis Ouimet, Babe Zaharias, Arnold Palmer -- that anchor our collective memory and give meaning to the game.  And whether we play the game of golf or simply love it from behind the ropes, we savor and share our golfing stories about places and people in much the same way that families tell stories at holiday gatherings. The memories created by those stories bind us together.