Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring is here… and it’s about time!

By any measure, it was a miserable winter. The Christmas weekend blizzard kicked it off, and led to the snowiest January on record; nearly three feet of snow in January alone, erasing all thoughts of playing any winter golf until the snow cover melted – and that took more than two months.

Those of us who didn’t sneak away for a warm-weather golf trip have waited patiently. But now, the new golf season is here. And we’re ready to hit the ground running, with our bag of clubs resting on our shoulders.

Despite a harsh winter, many of our area golf courses are in superb shape to start the season. The credit goes to the unsung heroes of courses public and private: The golf course superintendent. In the cover story in our first issue of 2011, we hear from four course superintendents who are among the best – not only on Long Island, but anywhere in the country. They share their expertise and philosophy on how they manage to meet the challenges and ever-changing conditions each season. For a superintendent, there really is no ‘down time.’ And these four ‘course magicians’ also pass along some advice on how to take care of our own lawns – even if we don’t have a finely manicured putting green in our backyard.

Getting courses in shape is one part of the equation. We also need to get our swings in synch. Our team of local professionals provides tips on everything from swing speed to putting to how to handle defeat in a match – something we hope is only a rare occurrence for you.

In this issue, we also lay out your ‘golfing planner’ for months to come; a comprehensive Charity Outings calendar will take you from spring to summer with a multitude of events to choose from, all for a good cause. You’ll also find the season calendars for the Met PGA and LIGA, as well as important information for those of you considering membership in the EWGA (Executive Women’s Golf Association), of which the largest chapter in the country is right here on Long Island.

On the lighter side, our own ‘resident hacker’, David Weiss, sprinkles in some random thoughts on heading back to the golf course as he confronts the most intimidating sign posted on any course in the world - and that sign is right here in our own backyard.

A final few words to those of you who may face a delay in returning to the golf course as you rehab from off-season surgery. I literally feel your pain. The numbers on back pain are staggering: 80% of all working Americans will be affected by back pain at some point in their lives. Last year, back pain sufferers spent $86 billion dollars looking for relief. In my case, I opted for the ‘last resort’ of surgery to deal with severe disc problems, with four screws and two rods inserted into the bones of my spine.

Recovery is slow, and physical therapy is a must. My goal is to start playing again on July 4th. To all of you who are working hard to swing that club again, here’s hoping we meet on the golf course this summer. In the meantime, let’s keep our heads in the game by doing all we can to prepare for our return – and to a great degree, that’s what this issue of Golfing Magazine is all about.

There’s a phrase commonly used during spring training in baseball: ‘Hope springs eternal.’ In fact, that expression can apply to nearly everything in life as the winter turns into spring… and for us golfers, it means the new season is here.

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