Golf season presents fresh chance for us duffers

The editor-in-chief of the Minnesota Daily has a bag full of golf clubs sitting outside his office. They’ve been sitting there, staring at everyone who dares to walk by them, for over a month now.
For many a moon, those clubs were a focal point to those who longed for the chance to go outside and take some unabated whacks against green grass. Back then, it was 40 degrees and cloudy outside.
A few weeks later it was clear and 70. Courses frantically opened their courses to cash in on Mother Nature’s magnificent stretch of kindness upon the Twin Cities.
Fed up with seeing people happy, Ms. Nature returned us to 40 and cloudy early this week, but it was too late.
As of yesterday, it was 40 degrees with a typhoon-like wind. Rest assured that my dashingly attractive editor and I raced out to the driving range before the sun set.
The objective, of course, is to improve one’s golf game.
Easier said than done.
For over a century humans have longed for this approaching weather. In Florida, California, Texas, even the Carolinas, the change of seasons is less significant. Golf is played year-round there.
In Minnesota, however, golf is played for six months — some of that in hail storms. And what a stretch it is. Minnesotans play the second-most rounds of golf in that six-month run than any other state plays in a year.
Critics of golf point to its expense, time consumption and the frustration associated with the sport. More people swear during 18 holes than any other time of the year. Churches and synagogues are often filled with those wishing to throw away their cursing sins in confessionals.
The source of all this four-letter vocabulary originates from the duffs, hooks, divots and three-putts that litter many players’ rounds. Clubs are banged on the ground and thrown into the lateral hazards, where there is no free-drop for the driver you chucked into the water farther than the ball that went before it.
We vow never to play again. “I hate this @##$% game,” you bellow out while immersed in mud, madly fishing your ball out of the cake of slime at the bottom of the creek 150 yards right of the fairway.
One week later, you’re frantically calling friends to play 18 on Saturday.
Because even the worst hacker will hit a good shot for every 10th whiff. Whether you golf every day or once a year, you do it because of the rush you get when you happen to hit that one shot where everything clicks. The ball shoots off the club faster than Clint Eastwood ever could fire his famous gun.
Because spring is here again. Sure beats mowing crabgrass or pulling out Venus Fly Traps from your garden.
Because of Tiger Woods.
And because the only other respectable sport in town this summer is the WNBA.
Golf forces us to have patience in an impatient world. We have instant everything now. Cell phones, pagers, the Internet and ATM machines.
In and out. Get it and go.
It’s an exercise in serenity. If you swing too fast, you’ll chunk the ball. If you try and walk the course in a hurry, you’ll be exhausted by the sixth hole.
Pick up a club for the first time in your life, and there is no way you’ll shoot par.
To make a living playing golf is the single hardest task to do. Approximately one in 2 million golfers in the United States that play golf on a regular basis are good enough to call it their profession.
One in 2 million.
For us in the rest of the world, we must grab onto the little things. Namely, the chance to get away from the rest of our speed-of-light world. And so we come crawling back every April, where Mother Nature will remind us of what time it is.
Or the month-long reminder that a set of clubs outside the desk of the boss, is tired of waiting.

Mark Heller covers softball and welcomes comments at [email protected]