If I Was… A Golfer In A Warmer Climate
By Jim McNaney
The latest April snowstorm found many of us that love and/or work in golf asking, “Why do we live here?” It’s a question rooted in exasperation over the fact that we have been looking at beautifully green golf courses on television all winter long and then The Masters comes and “WE should be playing too!”
At least we think we should.
Despite being raised in Chicago, and lived in Tampa and Denver, I’ve lived in Minnesota more than half of my life. You’d think I would know better. April snows are more the norm than an exception.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my expectations of April golf in the Twin Cities are more of a myth than a reality. I thought all the way back to my wedding day: April 25, 1992… IT SNOWED!
After I recovered from screaming into my pillow for several minutes, I wondered what it would be like if I lived in a warmer climate.
After all, I’ve had the luxury of traveling to my mother’s home on Jekyll Island, GA many times and known the joy of playing golf in the morning and then going home to watch The Masters. Heck, I’ve even attended The Masters in the morning and played golf that same afternoon.
Why do I live here?
If I lived in… say… Charlotte, by this time of the year, my game would be in mid-season form. That is to say I’d know more what I need to work on to score better. I’d probably have at least a dozen rounds under my belt. My left wrist would have a wonderful tan line since I wear a glove and my watch when I play, and my legs would not resemble out-of-bounds stakes.
Instead of battling traffic on 494 because the daytime rain has turned to sleet after work, I’d be leaving my office and heading to the golf course. My wife and kids could be waiting for me there. We could have a light dinner then a quick 9 holes.
Wouldn’t that be delightful?
If I were in the market for new equipment, I would have already gotten those in my bag several months ago. You see, manufacturers may “release” new product all over the country at the same time, but rarely does that new product hit the shelves in the northern region at the same time they are available down south. I might even be ready to swap that new putter I bought for my old reliable blade putter that’s older than my kids.
If I lived in the south, at this time of year I would be celebrating the fact that tee times would become more available. The snowbirds would soon be migrating back north and only the “locals” would be around playing golf. I wouldn’t have to deal with crowded courses until at least November, at which point I would be celebrating the fact that I would, in fact, be able to play golf ALL WINTER!
It was at this point I called my wife and asked if I could hire a real estate agent and put the house on the market.
I don’t really recall her exact words but needless to say, we are staying here.
“For now!” I mumbled under my breath.
“What was that?”
Resigned to the fact that we will not be moving south anytime soon, I started trying to think of things I should appreciate about living in the Frozen Tundra.
Well… at least at this time of year I don’t have too many aches and pains. Having played various sports growing up like football and Lacrosse with a body not properly equipped to be beaten by guys twice my size, I feel more like a 71-year-old rather than a 51-year-old most mornings. Playing a ton of golf multiple days a week is not advised by my doctors.
Given my full-time job, I’ve had all winter to work on my swing indoors and make adjustments in the off-season, so I don’t need to learn on the course. I still need to work on my short game but that is a constant struggle.
Given that course conditions early in the season are usually not as good as they will be in the summer, I don’t have to feel too bad if I don’t hit perfect shots. After all, I can always blame a wet fairway or bumpy green. It certainly can’t be my fault!
Days are longer in Minnesota in the summer. Playing golf until 9:30 is not uncommon. I can still meet my family at the course after work for dinner and maybe get in a full 18 holes. Even better, we can dine, play 9 and then meet friends on their boat on one of the local lakes for a sunset cruise.
OK… this is sounding better.
There really are benefits to living in the north even if you are a golf nut. Greens fees are generally less expensive. People are generally more polite in the Midwest and everyone seems to be genuinely excited just to be outside no matter how they are playing. Finally, living in Minnesota does give us the opportunity to play in the fall, which is absolutely the best playing conditions, and some of the best views, in the country. I’m sure there will come a day when my wife and I will head south. After all, I really am sick of shoveling snow.
For now, I will simply be thankful for the opportunity to play golf at all.