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Most of us watch the golf channel and admire the consistent placing the ball in the fairway, then an easy swing with the ball on or very near the green. Any drive below 230 or so yards is an understandable error and the recovery from the rough is expected to be into a playable lie. The scores, of course, are either just above par or just below that magic number. It all looks so simple to do. Dream on!

Then, off to the local club for a round with friends. Drives that reach 200 yards look as if they have disappeared from view; play from the rough (a good percentage of the time) has the elusive orb hiding behind a clump of grass accompanied by silent and sometimes not so silent adverse blessing of the ball and reaching the green in regulation is more by accident than design. Welcome to the real world of golf!

It has been often quoted to me that something like 60% of golfers never break 100 while the next big batch stays in the 90sí. These are the people that populate the fairways of the nation and these are the people that make the game so great.

I am one of them, a player in the 90sí with the occasional adventure in the 80ís modified by the humbling experience, after a few losing attempts to get out of the bunker, of chocking up a glorious 105. This is much to the delight of my regular partners followed by their expectation of me prostrating my wallet at the refreshment emporium in the nineteenth hole.

I took up the glorious sport late in life as a regular activity to go along with an early retirement from the aviation industry. Being a pilot most of my adult life was fortunate because, like my contemporaries we are blessed with good hand/eye coordination. This makes hitting the ball somewhat easier. Hitting it straight is something else; however, it does get better with practice. The club I belong to is mostly retired military personnel with a scattering of government retirees and some from the airlines who have a military background. The best part is belonging to a club with folks Iíve known for most of my working life. That is one of the wonders of this sport, constantly renewing old and sometimes forgotten friendships. When Jean and I motor down to Florida in the trusty RV for those cold northern months it is amazing how many golfers we meet that we have been acquainted with and lost touch from as the years soldier on. That is another perk of the game. Renewal of contact with great guys and gals we knew back in the days when we had color in our hair and ankle biters at our feet.

The next time you play a round, mentally step back from the game, look around and observe the vast majority of the players. You will see a bunch of folks much like yourself, playing in the higher numbers and enjoying every minute of the day. Your club and all the others across this great land are the same, enthusiastic amateurs playing in the normal numbers who are the true face of golf in America!

Welcome and have a great round of golf!

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