The Golf Spectrum

This time of year is always a fun one for me. The weather, pretty much regardless of where you go, is bound to be beautiful. Door County summers taught me that and New York summers answered the call as well.

Professional golf is about to surrender the sporting spotlight to football while baseball chugs along through its seemingly infinite season. It’s a transition time in the sporting world, but for just these few weeks, that world zooms in on a bunch of 12-year-olds playing little league baseball.

I grew up watching the Little League World Series in fanatic envy, wishing to swap places with the youngsters my age. Nowadays I watch it in enviable awe as these kids perform like pros on national television, knowing they haven’t even enrolled in high school yet.

The biggest thing I appreciate is that they’re playing the same game as their dads did, the same game that the Institute Cubs play and the same game the Milwaukee Brewers play. America’s Pastime will forever continue in its rarely changing form and that’s a beautiful thing.

Golf, on the other hand, is a game so transformational. Good golf is a flexible term. Unlike good football, which is concerned with scoring and limiting your opponent’s scores, good golf can mean a birdie, a par, a bogey or a double bogey to any corner of your foursome. That’s a beautiful thing.

It makes golf a great sport for everyone, not just for society’s elite, as it is sometimes seemingly pegged toward. It’s not just for the crowd of 35-and-older males with a corner office, a boat and a second mortgage. It certainly can be for them, but it’s also for us, too.

Back home in the Dairy State last weekend, I golfed at Oneida’s Thornberry Creek for the first time, a very nice track I had only heard great things about. Although the tee time came far too early for my liking, the course lived up to expectations, just like it does for many of the Packers and golfers willing to spend more than a few bucks to grace its greens.

That’s one end of the spectrum. The next morning, I saw the other end at a local rinky-dink course in Oshkosh. It was the type of course that makes you wonder how much income is actually possible between holes 1 and 18. It was also the type of course that makes the GOLF Magazine writer in me wonder, “What am I doing here?”

The answer, bluntly, was golf. I was seeing golf in a different form, one I hadn’t seen in quite some time. Collared shirts weren’t necessary. Boots, a sleeveless tee and a pack of cigarettes were sported by the group playing in front of my father and me, which would look odd on most golf courses, but was accepted here. Part of me really enjoyed that. People go to baseball games in tank tops and suit coats. Why should golf—at least part of the golf world—be any different?

Quietly, that might be my favorite part about golf in Door County. You can really find it all up there. Falling short of naming names and logging prices, golf in just about any fashion can be witnessed between Door County’s southern border and Washington Island’s northern tip.

It’ll continue to keep me content every time I come home, just as long as I don’t get beat by some 12-year-old.