… the title of one of my favorite books. Actually, it’s A Good Walk Spoiled, Days and Nights on the PGA Tour by John Feinstein, whose works include the two best-selling non-fiction sports books of all time. Feinstein’s books take his readers into places they would not normally be allowed to go, and not just in golf. A Season on the Brink and A March to Madness vividly depict life inside NCAA basketball; Hard Courts takes us behind the scenes on the professional tennis tour. Whatever the sport, you will find yourself totally caught up. I love him! Treat yourself to one of his many books and you won’t be sorry.
There can be a lot of frustration in golf. The goals of finding the sweet spot in your swing and scoring well can be very elusive. For some, those disappointments could surely spoil the walk. For a pleasure stroll, they’d rather take a walk in the woods, communing with nature. Or on the beach, with the ocean at their side. Some, like me – “City People” is what I call myself – consider an ideal walk to be the 30 block stretch of Columbus Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. This ribbon of century-old buildings, populated with cutting edge, up-to-the-minute retail shops, boutique cafes and restaurants, offers endless diversion and unparalleled people watching as well. If you walk it early before the stores open, you can stick to window-shopping and avoid the impulse to blow your paycheck or ruin the exercise benefit with too many stops at the variety of temptations on offer.
So, yeah, I’d rather hike the noisy bustling streets of New York. To each his own. But even this City Person loves walking the golf course. Okay, I don’t always walk it. Some golf courses won’t let you (cart rental fees being a nice profit center for them). Some golf courses don’t tempt you to walk – what with quarter-mile distances between holes due to the layout of stately residences in some “golf course communities.”
But a walkable golf course is my favorite. You’re out of doors, smelling the roses or – in our case – drinking in the westerly ocean views and the Islas Coronado. We’re stretching not just our legs, but using our arms and whole bodies in the golf swing, and absorbing our brains with the strategy of the game. We’re in the company of friends. We’re staying young. With all of these elements present, even poor play cannot spoil my day on the golf course. A good walk spoiled? NOT.