Spring officially starts today and with it the hope of golfers everywhere, especially for those of us who’ve suffered through a near-endless winter of scraping windshields and shoveling driveways. But now, finally, the ground begins to warm and waken. Crocus and daffodils appear. The birds chirp. Golf is back.
1. Watching the Masters
The most keenly anticipated major, and with good reason. For golfers everywhere, the Masters signals the arrival of spring. The ability to sit in a comfortable chair and watch the best golfers in the world compete on the dreamiest course on earth during a nearly commercial-free telecast is unrivalled in all of sport. Final-round Sundays often produce the most dramatic and electrifying golf of the year. Just think back to Bubba’s hooked wedge shot on the second playoff in 2012.
2. New Clubs
Santa was generous. Under the tree was the new set of golf clubs you asked for. You’ve been dying to try them out, but there’s been two feet of snow in the yard all winter. Now the snow has melted. You’ve custom-adjusted the driver to your own exacting specifications with the special little tool provided. The irons are shiny, never hit. Your shag bag has been sitting by the door for weeks. A universe of possibilities awaits.
3. Greener Pastures
Even if you’ve been able to play over the last few months, chances are the conditions weren’t ideal. At worst, the ground was frozen; at best, the grass was dormant. Now, the entire course comes to life and the holes look as they should—verdant and growing. There’s just something about the color green that soothes the senses.
4. The First Round
Freighted with expectation, the first round of the year on your home course is as eagerly anticipated as a tax refund. There sits the course you know so well. You’ve had all winter to figure out where you can save strokes. Cutting the corner at a certain dogleg. Playing conservatively to the fat of the greens instead of hitting heroic approaches. Your list of strategies and tactics are clearly sorted in your mind. The time has arrived to shake off winter’s doldrums and renew acquaintance with your favorite adversary.
5. Spring Golf Trips
For northern tier golfers, conditions in March and April are usually chilly and muddy. Fine for field hockey, not for golf. In early spring, the southern latitudes beckon. The best bangs for the buck can be found in Myrtle Beach, Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, Louisiana’s Audubon Golf Trail, Florida’s panhandle, and Utah’s Red Rock Corridor. In addition to good deals, visiting players can count on mild weather and plenty of sunshine.
6. Join a Club
Many mid-level private clubs in selected markets have been struggling since the financial meltdown seven years ago. Long-time members have been hitting the exits in droves. As a result, hundreds of full-service country clubs nationwide have broadened their admission policies and dropped their fees to stay afloat. Why not take advantage of some of the incredible values to be had in the private club sector? It’s a buyer’s market. You could get used to not having to make an advance tee time rather quickly.
7. Tournament Season
Spring is a prime time for many club tournaments, particularly member-guests, and there’s nothing more fun than spending a few days with a close friend or relative in heated competition (not to mention endless food buffets). Or perhaps it’s just an individual tournament in a state association event. Either way, tournaments are a great way to test yourself and really give meaning and purpose to your practice sessions and workout routines.
8. The 19th Holes
You’ve gone months without sitting around a patio table with your pals after a lively, competitive match to tally up the scores, pay off the bets, and enjoy a cold, frosty beer. Nothing quenches a golfer’s desire for camaraderie like the ability to relive the round with friends and tell a few lies at the proverbial 19th Hole.
9. Twilight Round
With the clock springing forward, it’s now possible to get in a few holes after work or at least hit a few balls on the range and work out the winter kinks. A good golf game really requires you to spend at least one evening during the week practicing.
10. Playing in Shorts
The final indication that spring has arrived is wearing shorts to play golf. Can it finally be time to put away the flannel-lined jeans and corduroys and feel the breeze on your shins? Less is more: the difference between wearing trousers on the course and striding around in short pants is, for many, a psychological shift that truly heralds the arrival of spring.