In golf, there’s no course like home
Every golfer needs a home course. It’s a question of intimacy. Your home course is not just the place where people know your name. It’s where they know the number you usually shoot and how you curse when you miss that slippery downhiller on 6, not because you missed it, but because you should know better (ya big dummy) than to leave yourself above the hole on a course you’ve played 7 trillion times.Your home course is where you know each hole so intimately you can predict your score the moment you hit your approach shot, because you’ve missed every green in every single spot and know immediately your chances of an “up and in.” No one should beat you on your home course, unless it’s also their home course, and in that case you can always accuse them of sandbagging.Last year when I lived in Scotland, my home course was the Old Course in St. Andrews, probably the most famous course in the world. Now, my home course is the local “muni,” Aspen’s public course, probably the most crowded course in the world.I could not be happier. The Aspen Golf Course is where I played my first round of golf (I was 13). It’s also where I learned that you don’t need dramatic features or cascading water hazards to make a course difficult. From the back tees, the Aspen Golf Course is as good a test of golf as you’ll find in the valley (and it can be beautiful, too – check out Pyramid Peak and Independence Pass from the fairway on 2, if you ever hit the darn thing).A home course needs a regular foursome, and yesterday I played in my regular “men’s league” group, with three other muni-faithfuls. Nobody played well, nor did anybody miss the opportunity to complain about the greens, the pin placements, the consistency of the sand, the distracting noises made by playing partners or whatever was close by.By 18, we limped home, scowls on our faces, grudgingly exchanging score cards. Our last words to one another were all that mattered – “Same time next week?”Eben Harrell’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
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I try to remember to give thanks every day I spend outside, whether it be floating the Colorado or Roaring Fork, fishing an epic dry fly hatch on the Fryingpan, or teasing up tiny brook trout on a remote lake or stream. We’re spoiled rotten here, so it’s easy to be thankful.