Editor’s Desk: Golf Gratitude Earned in Solitude

Morning light, Carleton Golf & Yacht Club (Photo: Scott MacLeod, Flagstick.com)

Nobody has to remind you that this is a very different time in our world. Warranted fears have created physical separation between us, forced us to re-evaluate many things in our life, and, in many cases, made us become a little more grateful for what we have.

I’ve witnessed the same when it comes to golf. While being among those who is deeply immersed in the game daily, often I find it’s more interesting to be an observer. When you take the time to watch, sometimes what you see may surprise you.

It was a little different recently when I incited something, but then stepped back to see how it would play out.

What I ultimately witnessed delighted me, in many ways.

It will be no surprise that social media, in many cases, has become a one-upmanship contest of sorts. You know, the perfect life; look at me; follow me because you want my life.

But, there has been a counter-movement to that in more recent times as people began to realize the importance of being authentic and how that genuine approach can be far more engaging. Honesty never goes out of style.

So last week, without much purpose other than to initiate a conversation, I started a thread on our @Flagstick Twitter account that simply asked this: “Can you name the first three golf courses you ever played?”

It also asked people to share and tag some friend, and I proceeded to chart out my own list.

The responses were fascinating.

As were the respondents.

Before I knew it people has been dragged in from across the world, from all walks of life, from the well-known to the every day golfer. Ultimately more than 107,000 people saw the post and hundreds responded. (Feel free to dig through the Tweet embedded above and the responses)

One thing they shared in common was a fond remembrance for the first courses they played, even a more powerful connection than they may have to “bucket list” courses. They may have forgotten many layouts enjoyed along the way, but the ones where they had their very first tastes of the game were clearly cemented in their minds. In fact, some even professed a vow to return to those grounds to rekindle that connection, prompted by the Tweet and the separation from playing the game many are experiencing right now.

It proved to a remarkable look at the bonds that golf creates and asserted to me that it all the turmoil that has been created by our current pandemic situation, some good might have come from it.

Particularly, a new appreciation and gratitude, and a reminder that what we already have, be it something manifested in the physical, or a cherished memory to draw on, should never be taken for granted.

Sometimes a little solitude is enough to create some gratitude. Even when it comes to the place golf has in our lives.

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