The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

Column: Back on the Course


During the summer months as a kid I would spend day after day at the local golf course. I would golf with my Dad, friends, grandpa, or other family members. Sometimes I would get a ride to the course and golf with random strangers. So much for stranger danger.

My Dad would like to get up at 5:30 a.m. and we would be on the course by six. I'm sure most kids don't want to get up that early during the summer, but we were there to get nine holes in before most people were at work. If it was a weekend we would often times play 36 holes in a day. There was something special about having the golf course to our selves. One time when I was in junior high we snuck into the school and it was the same type of feeling. Well almost because I hated junior high and just about everyone I went to school with, but the feeling of being the only person somewhere large is kind of neat.

I would continue playing into high school and played in many tournaments over the years. When I went to college, I would occasionally go in the summer, but this dissipated each year. Finally one year I missed it so bad that I bought new clubs and spent every waking hour on the course. It was a rush to my senses and brought back so many memories of growing up.

After that summer I moved to Oregon and took my clubs, but never played. I took a job a year later in Wyoming and had my clubs stolen from the back of my truck. I was frustrated with them being stolen and slowly left the game I used to love in the rearview mirror once again.

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend who was talking about golf, and I thought to myself, "Why on earth do you not play anymore?" I then decided I would buy some clubs and try again.

I'm not sure if it will be like riding a bike because I have picked up a club once in 10 years. It might be ugly. I might break windows, and have people across the golf course scurrying for cover. It will probably take a decade to get back to where I was as a player, or that might no happen at all.

One of the best things about golf is that every shot, hole, and round is a fresh start. If you hit a bad shot, the next one can be great. Granted, I would get as frustrated as anyone with a bad shot and may have once or twice thrown a club in a water hazard, but there is always the next shot. There is always hope the next par three will be a hole-in-one. Even though a shot can be stressful, just being out on a course is relaxing. There are no stories to write or deadlines to meet. Just lots of bogeys on my card.


And since I was blessed with the athletic ability of a piece of driftwood, it's nice I at some points have found some small success at golf. You don't have to be big, quick, or fast to succeed and that's a plus for everyone.

It's been a while since I've purchased something nice for myself, so I think the clubs will be a nice way to get away.

If I stink it up for awhile, oh well, I'd much rather spend time on the course than just about anywhere else. I don't have the schedule to play everyday, but I'm sure I can find a day or two a week to sneak a round in.

I will have to find a new "home" course because a seven-hour drive to golf at the course I grew up at is a bit much, but I'm sure I will find a great one in Southwest Montana. Maybe I'll just show up to one at 6 a.m. and walk right onto the course.


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