Opportunities to play still are all over the map

Fifth-grade geography classes across the United States should school the youngsters – many of them could be future golfers, after all – about the three regions of the country.

There’s the Golf of Plenty. That’s where we live, with a climate that allows us to tee it up just about any time of year.

Some people reside in the Golf of Maybe. Their weather sometimes cooperates in the wintertime and the courses stay open, but it’s 50-50.

And then there are the poor saps in the Golf of Not So Much. I know how they feel. That’s where I grew up, and those restrictions are a major reason why I’ve lived in the Golf of Plenty for more than four decades.

From an early age, I recall my ears perking up anytime I met someone who lived in the Golf of Plenty.

If they talked about balmy winters with sunshine instead of snow, my imagination ran wild with visions of driving for show and putting for dough rather than shoveling snow.

This time of year was particularly rough. You put the clubs away knowing that you wouldn’t be getting them out of the closet again until at least March and probably April.

There were no indoor ranges back then. Your only contact with our great game in the winter was watching it on television when the PGA Tour reconvened. And seeing that, of course, made you as green with envy as the fairways in California, Arizona and Florida.

But I fixed all that when I moved to the West Coast. I was very intentional about it. As much as I loved the Midwest, I loved year-round golf more. It was an easy decision. I’ve never regretted it.

So I have a simple message to everyone in the Golf of Plenty:

Take advantage of it!

Even if you’re in the Bay Area, which was belted by the atmospheric river that ran through it recently, you know that there will be a stretch of a month or two where it won’t rain a drop. It’s an annual occurrence.

Yes, there are times when the courses can be a bit soggy this time of year. But you have hope of better days to come, filled with sunshine and comfortable temperatures. The only numbers on the winter scorecards of people in the Golf of Not So Much are wind-chill indexes.

And if you’re in a region that didn’t get several inches of rain recently, well, you know the drill. You have highs in the 60s, 70s and 80s, and your biggest concern is where to tee it up, not whether you can tee it up.

It is difficult to appreciate this privilege if you’ve never lived in the Golf of Not So Much. It’s like having access to your favorite food all the time rather than half the time. The fridge is always full.

As much as I love to play under the warm summer sun, I love it even more when I can put on a layer or two and then peel as needed. There’s something about going out there in a V-neck sweater and feeling that cool breeze waft over you, especially if you’re playing near the ocean.

Every single time I’ve headed to Monterey or a similar locale in the winter months, it has sparked memories of what would have happened had I stayed in the Golf of Not So Much.

Would I have tried to stuff more golf into the summer months?

Would I have just played as often as I could and been satisfied with that?

Or would I have – this is practically unimaginable – grown frustrated with the weather and fallen away from the game?

Thankfully, I’ll never know the answer. I’m in the Golf of Plenty for good. I hope you are, too, if your passion for playing can’t be quenched with a six-months-a-year schedule.

Here’s a toast to quenching that thirst by understanding the geography lesson and finding some A-plus tee times this month.

Class dismissed. Get out there.

Leave a Reply