Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

From The Editor
by Terry Moore

Well, the golf season is at hand and it's about time. The winters in Michigan just seem to get longer and longer. But I guess that's why airline stocks are doing so well. Everyone wants an escape from the cold and the snow. But once warm weather arrives

here, I can't think of a better place to play the game. For one, the turf in Michigan is unsurpassed for golf. You can have that Bermuda and all that arcane 'reading the grain.' Instead, give me that lush Penncross, bluegrass and even that pesky poa. Yes, the grass is just one of many reasons I love Michigan for golf. Here are some others:

Public courses: No state has as many public access courses as Michigan. We lead the nation and the margin is widening. For consumers, that means plenty of affordable choices. And as far as resort courses, Michigan is a leader. Up north in the summer can rival any destination in the world for scenic, playable golf.

Daylight Savings Time: This little piece of legislation has been a godsend. For our state at the end of Eastern Time Zone, it means getting a full 18 in even if you tee off after 5. For courses with crowded league play, DST is a boon. Is there anything better than heading out to a course after a long, annoying day at the office and playing a quick nine as the sun drops down and the shadows lengthen?

Competition: If you're serious about improving and taking your game to the next level then playing in tournaments is essential. Across the state there are numerous local, regional and state events waiting for players of all ages. Such local organizations as the Grand Rapids and Lansing Golf Associations do a fine job of offering a nice variety of events for amateurs. In GR, for example, there's best-ball, match play, medal and even a Stableford event. And kudos too for such newer statewide organizations such as the Women's Publinx for expanding competitive outlets for women. In short, there's nothing better than playing in an event where every shot counts and all rules prevail.

Tour Events: With the exception of a Nike event, we have the Tours covered: Senior, LPGA and PGA Tour. Sure, there's lots of Tour golf on TV but to really get an appreciation of how good these touring professionals are one must still be there in person. I still remember watching one young LPGA player on the practice range at the Olds Classic hitting these wedge shots so pure and soft, shot after shot. It all seemed so simple and effortless. The key was in her subtle knee actions, wasn't it? I tried to ingrain that image when I got back to the course the next day. It worked -- for six holes. Still, you learn so much by being a Tour event.

Enthusiasm: Greg Johnson, the fine golf writer for the Grand Rapids Press and also a contributing editor here, tipped me off to this one. Michigan engenders a most singular enthusiasm and excitement for the game as compared to other parts of the country. Johnson makes a telling point. Whether it be a foursome meeting on a Thursday afternoon, a league night on Monday or just a Saturday morning round, Michigan players do indeed love their golf. Again, it's all due to that the relative brevity of the season that makes so many go bonkers for this odd pursuit of clubs, balls and pins.

When you add it all up, this state is darn hard to beat for playing golf. As Ray Kinsella asked in Field of Dreams, "Is this heaven?"

No, it's Michigan.

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