Note: This is an article that I wrote for the Bangor Metro Magazine, which was published in their June/July special section “This Is Maine, Summer 2015.” Hope you enjoy it.
by Joe Perdue
Hidden Meadows Golf Course
Golf. It is so much more than just hitting a little white ball around an open field.
The game will challenge you mentally, as well as physically. It provides an avenue to make new friends, or to re-kindle old friendships. Business owners will take potential employees or customers out to play golf, because it’s always been said if you want to truly get to know a person, watch how they conduct themselves on a golf course. It will tell you everything you need to know about them.
Golf is the ultimate game for family bonding. Grandparent’s taking their grandchildren to the links for the first time. Parent’s teaching their young children how to play. Family outings or vacations that are planned around playing different golf courses. A son or daughter spending time on the course with mom or dad later in life, enjoying each other’s company as adults. Family holiday gatherings are filled with stories of things that happened on the golf course.
Golf is one of the best games ever invented. It’s different every time you go out to play, even if you play on the same course every day. Some days the wind blows, some days it doesn’t. Some days it’s sunny and warm, other days it’s drizzly and cold. More often than not, especially in the state of Maine, it’s a combination of all of the above on any given day.
With all of the changing conditions, one thing is constant: It’s you against the course. That’s the tug at your competitive side. You might smash an occasional long tee shot, stuff an approach shot close to the flag, or drain a monster putt. But the course requires you to do so much more if you want to win your contest with ‘old man par.’
Golf makes you negotiate different lengths and types of shots on every hole. It makes you be able to curve the ball right or left (on purpose), hit it over or under a tree, avoid a water hazard or keep it off ‘the beach’ when you approach a green. And even if you do everything perfectly for one hole, you have to do it over and over again during the entire round if you want to beat the game that day. And while you do all of this, it requires you to keep your wits about you the whole time. In the end, ‘old man par’ usually comes out ahead.
Golf’s evolution mirrors our society’s evolution, and as with everything, some of the change is good, some not so good. It’s fun to look through a lens and see exactly how many feet it is from you to the hole, then be able to hit your shot exactly that distance. It’s also fun to use the GPS on your phone to measure how far you hit your tee shot down the fairway. But nothing can take away from the game as much as hearing a phone ring in the middle of your backswing, or seeing your playing partner texting a message instead of paying attention to playing their game.
Golf is a healthy diversion from the every day rigors of life. In this day and age, we do not set aside enough time for ourselves. We’re too ‘connected’ to the news 24/7, too ‘connected’ to Facebook or Twitter. Too consumed with our 40-hour-a-week job that more and more seems to require 50, 60 or even 70 hours a week to do well if we don’t want to worry about being replaced. If a person would turn off their phone and enjoy the solitude of even a ‘quick 9,’ and make themselves unavailable to any outside distractions and unavailable to anyone, they would find it’s a wonderful way to re-charge their batteries.
Find a local course that is fun to play. A course that offers a variety of playing opportunities for kids, seniors, women, couples and adults. A course that offers instruction for all ages. A course that is challenging for your skill level, no matter what your skill level is. A course that embraces nature and the outdoors, where you can see deer, fox, porcupines and an occasional moose. A course where you can watch the sun rise, as well as watch the sun set.
Enjoy the game of golf. It has a lot to offer. For everyone.