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Golfer’s Diary: The year of the people

Every golf season has its own identity.

Maybe it was the year of traveling all over the area to play different courses. Maybe it was the year when you finally figured out how to chip. Maybe it was the year when it rained every time you tried to play. Maybe it was the year when you finally admitted to yourself that you’re in love with golf. If that last one is true, welcome to my world.

For me, this was truly the year of the people.

In most golf seasons, you can probably count the number of different people I golf with on just your two hands. My text list when I want to tee it up isn’t terribly extensive. This year, however, I played with an astounding 29 different people (assuming my list in comprehensive).

It’s important for me to analyze exactly why this number jumped through the roof this year because it’s something I’d like to duplicate or even build on in the future. What did I do right? Here is a brief breakdown of the numbers:

The Usuals (7) — These are the names you probably read about a lot — my best friends Ryan and Matt M., my brother Mark, my brother-in-law Matt E., my cousin Nick, my co-worker Steve and my childhood best friend CJ, with whom I reconnected because of golf a few years ago. Something would have to go wrong for me to not golf with any of these seven next year. In fact, at least one of my “usuals” isn’t even on this list because we just couldn’t make it work this year. I’d fully expect Bryan to be back on this list in the future.

The Tournament Crowd (5) — Compared to previous years, this almost could have been considered the year of the tournament for me. The first was with my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Clark and her friend Sandy, who coincidently lives a few houses down from me. I had waved to her countless times while walking the dogs, but it took golf for us to finally meet. The aforementioned Matt M. invited me to a tournament up in Warsaw, NY, where I played with his boss Ed and Ed’s sister Erin. That was a wonderful experience. Then there was Alexis in the wacky golf outing I wrote about a few weeks ago. That was a wild event and Alexis helped it be even more fun.

The Long-Lost Friends (5) — These are five guys who I’ve known for years (or my entire life in some cases), but we had never golfed together until this year. Jason, Adam, Jim and Al have all been friends of mine and it was a pleasure finally getting onto the course with each of them. In fact, I’d be positively shocked if some, if not all, of them ended up on the “usuals” list in the future. I’ll include Happ in this section, too. While technically my mom’s cousin’s husband, we’ve been talking golf with each other for years and finally played together over the summer.

The League Guys (10) — For four weeks during the summer, I subbed in my buddy CJ’s league at Cassadaga Country Club. I was actually super nervous before the first time because I didn’t know how seriously everyone took it. Would it still be fun? Would I fit in? Well, let me tell you that Joel, Bob, Ron, Jeff, Rusty, Kevin, Fenton, Rob, Chip and Mike made playing in that league one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I haven’t quite decided if I’m going to officially join a league next year, but I’ll at least be happy to sub whenever I can.

Friends of Friends (2) — No, this has nothing to do with the sitcom from the 90s. I mean, maybe Kevin and Kris are fans of the show but I didn’t think to ask. Anyway, I played with these two guys in my very first round of the year way back in May. Thankfully they were patient with me as I knocked the rust of winter off my swing.

As I was adding up my numbers to make sure that 29 was indeed the right number, I remembered three more people with whom I had the pleasure of playing at least a few holes. Nancy and Rick joined up with Matt E. and I at Tri County Country Club back in August. It wasn’t until later that we found out that they were the senior club champions for both women and men, respectively. Pretty cool. Then Happ and I played a few holes with a solo golfer who caught up to us on No. 7 at Cassadaga Country Club. I feel awful that I didn’t write down his name and I can’t remember it four months later, but if you’re reading this, thanks for making my golf season that much better.

So there it is, technically 32 different people with whom I got to share my love of golf. That’s pretty cool.

My only regret is that I didn’t introduce any new golfers to the sport this year. Last year I was able to take out several people who were brand new to golf including my father-in-law, my nephew and even a reader. That was super rewarding. Maybe I can add a few more of those next year.

What other kinds of categories would you have on your list? Do you keep track, too? I’d love to hear any unique stories you might have regarding this topic.

Until next week (when I’ll have a super fun story), golf is great. Go get some.

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