Never was much for watching it on TV, either. Too slow. Too quiet. Just a lot of grass and whispering commentators droning on for hours. I did, however, have an absolutely splendid time at the ShopRite Seaview LPGA Classic last week. Five glorious days of sunshine and exercise. Anna Nordqvist won. With an 8 under par. I know that because everybody went crazy when she sunk her final putt. I read the 8 under par bit in Monday’s paper. I was not nearly as excited and involved with the game as I was the swelling crowds and the anticipatory atmosphere. I was there for all of it. Through two days of the ProAm (when amateur golfers—mostly men—play with the pros) and the qualifying games that led up to Sunday’s big event.
I systematically alternated between crop pants with long sleeves and shorts with tank tops hoping to get the most tan possible without risking a burn. I hiked from hole to hole watching tee offs and putts and marveling at the rare sighting of a female caddy hauling an enormous bag of clubs. I ducked into the shade when I wanted to get out of the sun and sat in the grass to lose myself in the warm breezes of late May. I ate free hotdogs and sampled a variety of flavored lemonades. There was minigolf and face painting for the kids and dozens of vendors hawking their wares. And, in stark contrast to the carnival atmosphere by the entrance, hundreds and hundreds of spectators who all seemed religiously serious about golf.
As for me, I was a stranger in a strange land. For a non-golfer, non-golf enthusiast to venture into a professional golf event is akin to travelling to a foreign land. The language—bogies and birdies and eagles—is unfamiliar. The natives all conform to the same local customs of dress and move about in clans, following their chosen leader, trancelike.. And “the course” is completely set apart from all things familiar—worry, stress, and relentless obligations—providing a virtual oasis in the desert of reality. For hours upon hours, there is only “the game,” the sunshine, and an endless expanse of green grass punctuated with clusters of trees and the occasional traps of soft white sand. I dare say, it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had!
No, I don’t play golf, but I now have a far better understanding why so many people do. And, while I still have no intention of ever picking up a driver or hauling around a bag of clubs, I’m already looking forward to returning to the LPGA Classic next year! Fore!