Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Some people like to play golf early in the morning when there's still dew on the ground and the greens are as good as they'll be all day. I get that, but as someone whose day gradually improves with my coffee intake, you can have the first tee time.

And the second, third, fourth and fifth, unless it's the Starbucks Open.

Tiger Woods likes to tee off just after dawn. Out of bed. Out of the car. Straight to the first tee without any practice balls. Cold shaft it.

I prefer late afternoon when the shadows are stretching, the edge is coming off the heat and the only thing you're racing is the sunset. Sure, the greens are a little scruffy by that time of the day with bunker sand splashed in your putting line and poorly repaired ball marks dotting the surface.

But there's a peace about golf late in the day, especially if you're out there alone, bag on your shoulder, hoofing it around nine holes playing two balls. You may be by yourself but you're not alone. There's always a demon's voice or two in your head when you're playing.

Even the most ordinary golf course looks pretty late in the day. You can see the contours in the fairways and on the greens. I've seen gators, fox, deer, hawks and rabbits on the course -- and that's without leaving the fairway.

I have a friend who spends his days at the golf course and one day early in his marriage, his wife asked him what time he'd be home that evening.

The man walked to the back porch, opened the door and threw a golf ball in the yard.

"See that golf ball?" he asked his wife. "When it's too dark to see that ball, I'll be home 30 minutes after that."

Theirs has been a long and happy marriage.