9/29/2009


Golf:  What it Means to Me


Anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve been through a lot over the last 3+ years.  I’ve had
to deal with an intense and somewhat mysterious illness, a medical mis-diagnosis relative
to that illness, and the fall out from this mis-diagnosis has been the death of my femoral
heads, their impending collapse, the intense pain that accompanies this collapse, and
then a double hip replacement…all before the age of 36.  Nevertheless, I contend that
these events have been the best things that have ever happened to me.

Why on earth would I say such a thing?  Frankly, the list of reasons is quite long and the
joy I have experienced because of all of this agony and suffering has been immense.  
Since this site is dedicated to my love of golf, I will limit my response to the fact that
through these events I discovered the game of golf.  You see, prior to this illness I didn’t
play the game as I could physically do other things.  I liked to run, lift weights, work on my
martial arts, my power lifting, and I continued playing the sports I grew up with…baseball,
football, and basketball.  However, the severe limitations that the death of my femoral
heads put on my legs eliminated all of those activities.  But through a fateful call in May of
2007, I came to find one of my great loves in life…golf.  Should you care to read more in-
depth about this love, please read “The Evolution of a Golfer” on this site.

Without question, others in the world love the game of golf.  However, this love manifests
itself in different ways for all of us.  Concerning me, I am an over-analyzer and I get
obsessive concerning my passions.  With this make up, I feel that golf is a perfect fit for
me.  I can analyze and practice my swing, my chipping, and my putting for countless
hours.  When I am too physically tired to continue that pursuit, I can turn to studying and
reading about the game, the people who’ve played the game, the great architects who’ve
built these wonderful courses, and many other topics related to the game and its history.

One of my passions related to the game is the field that the game is played on; that is, the
golf courses themselves.  Unlike many other sports, this game is not played on a uniform
playing field.  Every course is different and unique and, to me, these differences are
fascinating.  I must not be the only person who is fascinated by these courses as there
are numerous books and magazines dedicated to discussing them.  In fact, many
publications rank the great courses of the world.  These rankings are always scrutinized
and analyzed by hoards of people and I am without question, or reservation, one of those
people.  Now understand this, I am certainly not as much of an expert regarding the
analysis of these courses as others are.  There are people who have dedicated their lives
to golf course architecture and maintenance of golf courses and they have much more of
an expert opinion concerning these matters than I do.  Nevertheless, I have a passion
concerning this topic and I am doing everything I can to educate myself regarding these
matters.

This passion has led me to analyze (or over-analyze) the golf course rankings and, in
fact, you can see some of my work on this site.  But recently, the Golf World Readers’
Choice Awards came out and this list has been discussed widely among the experts in the
field.  Most of them discount these lists and say these readers don’t know what they are
talking about.  Maybe this is right, maybe it is not…like I said I am not the expert.  
However, I have been analyzing these lists and I really enjoy them.  My take on them is
that they are derived from surveys completed by the readers of Golf World.  These
surveys ask the readers various questions about the courses they’ve played during the
latest 12 month period.  Many of these people are not experts in the field of golf course
architecture, but they are experts on their opinion and that is what they are asked to
give.  

Strangely enough, these Readers’ Choice lists are wildly divergent from the lists compiled
by the experts.  I find this fact extra-ordinarily interesting due to the fact that the expert in
golf course architecture values certain golf courses and golf course characteristics higher
than the average golfer values them and vice-versa.  In a nutshell, I think this is one of
the things that makes me love golf so much.  Many of us love the game, but we love it for
different reasons.  Someone might love playing the game with their wife and kids on a
player-friendly course, while the next person might like pushing his game to the limits on
the world’s most difficult courses.  Someone might really enjoy trying to break 100, while
the next person might be working like mad to qualify for the U.S. Amateur.  Once again,
that is the beauty of the game.  No matter what your taste, there is something there for
you.

In closing, I would simply like to encourage everyone who plays the game to have their
own opinions regarding the game but also to respect others opinions regarding the game
we all love.

God Bless!