John F. Russell: Obsessed with a game

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John Russell

John Russell's sports column appears Sundays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by John here.

— For some, golf is a game, but for others, it's an obsession.

It's one of those games that people just can't seem to get enough of in the summer.

It's been several years since I played golf on a regular basis, but I've been involved with the game in one way or another since my dad handed me one of his old irons when I was a child and told me I could hit some balls around the back yard.

But after years of playing the game, I still can't understand why golf is so addictive. What is it about golf that gets under your skin? What is it that inspires people to spend hundreds of dollars on a putter or some special club that promises more distance off the tee?

Golf is like a bag of potato chips. Once you open the bag and take a bite, you're hooked. Pretty soon the bag is empty, and you're trying to figure out the best way to get to the crumbs without dumping the bag upside down over your head. Yeah, you'll deny it, but we've all been there.

I have several friends who are golfers. They started talking about the golf season a couple of weeks ago, when the courses still were under several feet of snow and most of us still were skiing.

I'll bet my last dollar that those same people still will be golfing next fall when most of us are looking for the snow shovels in the garage.

Between those two dates, those people will spend as much time as possible on the golf course. They will use the carpet in their living rooms as a putting green and won't be able to sleep at night before flipping through the pages of Golf Digest.

For most, the goal is not to make it to the PGA Tour, and they're not even out to impress their friends on the course.

They play golf for the love of the game. They simply enjoy spending their weekends on the freshly mowed fairways and perfectly groomed greens of the golf course - any golf course.

For them, those sunny afternoons are nature's way of reminding us all that we should go outside and enjoy our summers playing a game.

There was a time in my life when I not only understood the obsession but also would have been out there myself.

After all, golf is the perfect excuse to cut out early on a Friday, and I know it's better than working around the house on a Saturday afternoon.

Maybe that's why golf is the perfect obsession for so may people. There's no hangover, and its hard to find fault with people who want to spend their afternoons hanging out with Mother Nature.

I'm sure my dad was hoping I would get hooked 30 some years ago when he handed me my first golf club. Who knows, there still might be a chance for me. Somewhere deep inside, there's still a little part of me that longs to get back out on the golf course.

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