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Paul Turner: Golfers show Spokane’s indomitability of spirit

FILE – Teeing off at Downriver Golf Course in March 1976. (Spokesman-Review archives)
FILE – Teeing off at Downriver Golf Course in March 1976. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Those who travel in certain circles know that golf and golfers sometimes get painted with unflattering stereotypes.

Even in Spokane, where those in the mainstream somewhat outnumber anarchists.

I won’t belabor any of that because I’m writing today to suggest something thumbs-up about golfers.

It’s this. Spokane’s golfers are among the finer examples of this city’s indomitability of spirit.

You think I’m kidding? I am not.

Have you ever played golf? Without question, it can be the most exasperating activity to be found outside the realm of parenting and family reunions. A First World problem, to be sure.

Yet Spokane’s linksters play on.

OK, a few are excellent golfers. Their rounds typically include extended stretches of elegant play and many fine strokes.

But not all of Spokane’s golfers are, how to put this, good. Many are erratic hackers seemingly incapable of stringing together two consecutive decent shots.

It is these men and women who impress me. What keeps them going?

I have a theory. I think, for some of them, it is faith.

Not religious faith. Well, not exactly.

Rather it is the lingering belief that one day their skills will get better. Undergo a miracle healing, as it were.

Now why, you might ask, do they think that? I’ll tell you. It’s because every once in a while they do something right out on the course.

Instead of hideously hooking the ball out of bounds or slicing it into the trees, they drive it just where they intended. Or sink a long, winding putt.

They stand back and marvel at what they have wrought. Then they have the recurring thought that keeps generations of golfers reserving tee times, year after year: “You know, there’s really no reason why I cannot do that consistently.”

In all honesty, there might be any number of very good reasons why they can’t.

But true believers out on the fairways cling to the hope their game will improve – sometimes despite an astonishing volume of evidence suggesting it won’t.

In any event, they march on. I can’t pinpoint exactly how that tenacity benefits our community or translates into non-golf actions, but I have to believe it does.

Oh sure, for some golfers that one morale-rescuing shot doesn’t happen with enough regularity to keep them hooked on the game. They throw up their hands and put their clubs away.

For many others though, golf becomes a test of emotional stamina.

That ability to stay with it despite the frustrations says something good about them. The collective perseverance of all these duffers has to stand Spokane in good stead. Doesn’t it?

Of course, some bad golfers aren’t demonstrating their steely resolve and resilience every time they play a round. They’re just out in the sunshine, enjoying being with their friends.

We benefit from having them in our midst, too. If only because they remind us about what matters.

Didn’t we settle this back in the 1770s?

On Monday I asked readers to make a case that they care even less about the royal wedding than I do. Several dozen took up the challenge. Here is a small sampling of the feedback.

“What wedding?” wrote Jim MacSuga.

“There’s a royal wedding?” wrote Jack McGrath.

“What royal wedding?” wrote Cindy Matthews.

“Royal what?” wrote John McTear.

“What royal wedding dost thou speak of?” wrote Tom Peacock.

“What wedding?” wrote Ann Hartwell. “Somebody is getting married?”

Then there was this from Chris Lang. “I am busily not caring about the royal wedding AND not caring about the latest royal baby, both at the same time!”

So there you go.

But let’s be clear. Being blase about the tabloid nuptials doesn’t make one anti-English.

A person can revere the Beatles, respect the Hurricane and Spitfire pilots in the Battle of Britain, enjoy the Premier League, think Dickens was a towering cultural figure, believe Honor Blackman was the best Bond girl, admire “question time” in Parliament and enjoy a fair amount of BBC programming but still not really dig the idea of hereditary nobility.

I don’t know about you. But I’m proud to live in a state named after a guy who helped free us from that nonsense.

Let’s move on.


 
Tags: golf, Spokane