• Alistair Tait

Never take golf for granted – especially today

Bill Robertson’s words are buzzing around my mind as I prepare to play golf today for the first time since March 15th.

Never take this game we love for granted.

The man who gave me my start in golf writing was apt to point this fact out to those he worked with during his long career. Those who worked with Bill, who passed away March 6th, remember the times when he would remind us just how lucky we were to be writing about the game we love. Ditto for those who play this great game.

On this day especially, we need to be thankful to be back on the fairways. Performance doesn’t matter today. It’s the taking part that counts. The thrill of being back on the fairways should negate any problems we might have with a swing that hasn’t been used in two months. Those duffed chips, fat and thin shots and three putts matter not. It going to be good to be alive today.

As I said yesterday, many people have died/suffered during this pandemic. Many people today will still be putting their lives on the line to help us through this nightmare. Bet they wish they could spend four hours in green and pleasant spaces chasing a small white ball.

I just wish our friends in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales could experience the same today. Hopefully it won’t be too long before they can get back to the fairways too.

Along with feeling lucky to be back playing golf, think of those golf club staff members, especially greenkeepers, who have worked through this period to make sure our return to the game is as seamless as possible. Oh, and if your course isn’t quite up to Augusta National standard, don’t dare moan. Imagine how they would look if they hadn’t been maintained during this pandemic.

On that note, maybe from this time onwards we’ll appreciate those who tend our fairways, bunkers, greens just a wee bit more.

I’ve always felt greenkeepers are the most under-appreciated people in golf. Those with the dirt under their fingernails, the bags under their eyes and sweat under their armpits usually never get mentioned except when members want to complain because the greens aren’t running at 13 on the stimp, or the grass isn’t as green as Augusta National’s manicured fairways.

Greenkeepers certainly don’t get into golf for the money: they do it because they love working with the land, they love the game. They take pride in their work and do the best job possible no matter the weather or the budget.

So, while you’re enjoying a return to the fairways, say a wee thank you to your golf club administrators who had to steer a nervous course through this pandemic hoping the golf club would survive. Thank your greenkeeping staff for keeping the course(s) in the best shape possible so we can continue to enjoy countless hours of strenuous idleness.

Most of all, be thankful we can still play golf and never, ever, take the game you love for granted.

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