Your humble yet lovable GroupLooper founder and seven of his long-time friends were recently in Wisconsin for a golf trip in what has now been dubbed the world’s #1 golf destination. Something that happened in the middle of the trip demonstrates why golf is the greatest game ever invented.
One day, we played the Straits course at Whistling Straits. You probably have heard of it… site of 3 PGA Championships and upcoming site of the next Ryder Cup on US soil in 2020. Ten of the holes run directly along Lake Michigan and the spectacular scenery puts your senses on overload. Every shot is potential glory or disaster with many greens perched on peninsulas jutting into the lake. The caddies are outfitted in matching uniforms. The greens run fast and true. This is big time golf in all its glory… with a price tag to match.
Just a day earlier, our group had a 2pm tee time. We were restless in the morning so we decided to play a warm-up 9 holes. We fired up GroupLooper to view a list of every course in the area and we called Sunset Hills, which was just a few miles from our hotel. “How much for 9 holes”, I asked? “Ten dolla to walk… fifteen dolla with cart”, quoted the sing-song voice of the young lady manning the golf shop at Sunset Hills. We were off. As it happened, Monday morning at 10am is not a very busy time at Sunset Hills, so we decided to play an “eightsome” (a first for me in an almost 50 year golf career) and since all of the holes were par 3s we had a closest to the pin contest. The holes ranged from 120 to 200 yards and the trash talking was fierce. We all had a great time and it was a great way to warm up for the Jack Nicklaus-designed course we were playing that afternoon.
So, which round of golf was more enjoyable… the $15 9 at Sunset Hills or the $400+ 18 at the Straits.
Honestly? It’s a close call… because these two rounds of golf represented the yin and yang of golf.
Straits was the “yin”… the individual sport in which we pit our individual skills against a golf course… sizing up a 40 foot putt with a 20 foot break, deciding whether to lay up or try to make the carry over the canyon between me and the green and scratching and clawing to try to keep my score respectable. In my case, the Straits won the battle but the experience was exhilarating.
Sunset Hills was the “yang”… the social side of the game… eight guys who enjoy each other’s company hooting and hollering and threading iron shots through the power lines dotting the golf course and giving each other jazz with a few shekels riding on the outcome of every shot. I won two skins and laughed more in two hours than I normally do in a week.
Do you think those Scottish shepherds had any idea what a fascinating, flexible funhouse they were creating when they started to knock rocks around the meadow?
Golf is the bomb… no wonder golfers live longer… it’s good for the body and for the soul.