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GOLF DOCTOR

It’s a good thing: A reflection on various topics

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It’s a good thing that we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel for the pandemic to be over, or at least at bay. It was a nervous couple of months in 2020, from March to May, when golf courses were closed. It could have been much worse. Prayers offered to those taken.

It’s a good thing that beginners and novices are not banned from playing on golf courses in America. Otherwise, golf venues would sacrifice so much revenue that golf would not be affordable for vast numbers of seasoned golfers. Most regular golfers in the U.S. cannot break 100 for 18 holes; that means they are novices in my book. I’m not recommending it, but in Belgium and the Netherlands they require a standardized test and licensing process which aspiring players must go through and pass in order to be allowed to play on a golf course. The written test is 20 questions on etiquette and rules; and the practical portion consists of playing four holes.

It’s a good thing that five players in a group (fivesomes) are the limit at nearly all golf courses. Some clubs permit no more than foursomes. If given the chance a lot of folks would join up with seven, 10, 12 of more of their friends. Some fivesomes are already a nightmare.

It’s a good thing that beverage carts only make infrequent stops for players on the golf course. If they had a beer cart for every hole, some golfers couldn’t stand up to finish the round.

It’s a good thing we don’t have to make a living with our golf play. It’s bad enough that we sometimes choke over a 4-foot putt when only a few bucks are at stake. Imagine the pressure, week in and week out, to make the cut and to finish in the money. The elite tour players – the tour stars – make plenty, while the third-level pros and the satellite tour players remain in the struggle just to make expenses. As the caddy at St. Andrews says, “Feend ur geeme, laddie.”

It’s a good thing golf club companies came out with hybrids about 14 years ago. I might not be playing golf today at 79 if I had to hit a 2 or 3 iron. Every club manufacturer makes hybrids, which have heads larger than a driving iron and smaller than a fairway wood, varying in loft from 17 degrees to 32 degrees. They’re easy to hit and they launch higher than the equivalent iron.

It’s a good thing that PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has issued a proclamation stating that if a PGA Tour member chose to play in tournaments organized by an upstart rival tour that player could no longer play on the PGA Tour. That should no doubt prevent no-name journeymen pros from chasing after the promised millions of dollars around the world.

It’s a good thing that World Golf Hall of Fame member Greg Norman, 66, now has only a very limited number of years to get back at the PGA Tour for snubbing him when he tried to establish the first world tour pro golf championships in the mid-1990s. He’s currently at it again, this time with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from the Saudis.

It’s a good thing we have golf year-round here in Las Cruces. I remember growing up in Cleveland and living in Detroit before moving here 34 years ago. Rumors about seasonal affective disorder and cabin fever are not exaggerated. It’s a long wait from mid-November to April when the golf courses finally open. Some days here may be chilly and windy, but I wouldn’t trade it.

Dr. Charlie Blanchard is a licensed psychologist specializing in sports and leadership. Contact him at docblanchard71@gmail.com.