Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Different Perspectives

In its purest form, the flight of a golf ball carries
the human spirit with it.

Soaring hopes. Rising aspirations. Lofty goals.

Against the winds of adversity, over the nagging doubts of the mind,
above the gravitational pull of earthbound struggles,
the flight of the golf ball symbolizes man's greatest achievements
or his greatest disappointments.

Randy might buy that little blurb in The Prairie Club's Yardage booklet.

I prefer Mark Twain's view of golf:

Golf is a good walk, ruined.
Mark Twain

I tried golf. Randy bought me my own set of secondhand, left-handed clubs. But I was bad at it ... really bad.

And, as a lifelong perfectionist, I hate being bad at things.

Randy is a much more patient student. And he's worked at getting better at golf. During the past few years, it's become his favorite hobby.

So he wanted a golf day during our vacation. I was fine with that ... as long as I could carry a camera instead of a golf club. I think we were probably both happier with the arrangement.

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful new course near Valentine, Nebraska. The Prairie Club is in its first year of operation. Currently, there are two courses - a prairie course and a pine course.

We (and I use the term we loosely) did the prairie course. I was glad. Randy and I can relate to pastures. And this course was basically carved out of a pasture.

We might not have been quite as much at home in the clubhouse. Randy halfway expected a valet to hand him a towel in the bathroom. It was pretty fancy.

But there were definitely glimpses of home while out on the course. The practice balls were dumped in a washtub.

What man could resist trying to plunk a ball in the stock tank on the practice range?

Certainly not my golfer.

You wouldn't think about Nebraska being a mecca for golfers. But there are several world-caliber courses within shouting distance. This newest one is south of Valentine, Nebraska.

The Prairie Club was conceived to be a place as pure as the game itself. On the prairie, there are no distractions. On the prairie, the quiet envelops you. It is just you and a little white ball with the vast prairie links in front of you. The sky and the grass and the wind move in concert, and you are left to find your small place in the grand scheme of things.

You can probably tell that italicized blurb was also from the Prairie Club booklet and not my stunning prose about golf. No amount of fancy writing is going to convince me that playing golf is enjoyable. On the other hand, I'm right there with them appreciating the quiet and the sky and the grass and the wind (Well, maybe not the wind.)

In the midst of "Big Red" country, my K-Stater left his mark. (As Brent says, it takes a true fan to wear K-State purple in Nebraska after the Wildcats' demise at the hands of the Cornhuskers this year ... but true fans, we are.)

It was near the end of the golf season for the Prairie Club, which closed its links at the end of October. It was the only way Randy probably would have paid to golf there. Instead of the $250 daily green fees, he paid the temperature high for the day before, plus more for a cart. Still, it was the most expensive round of golf he's ever played. It was definitely pricier than a round of golf at the Stafford club, where he plays league golf when he's not on the tractor.

This was the halfway stop on the course. It looked like a shack, even if it wasn't.

We could have had a hamburger there, but we just bought an exorbitantly expensive bottle of Diet Pepsi instead.

We were at home with weathered-looking buildings and hay bales and grazing cows, all of which were part of the day's scenery.

It was a good day. He only lost two balls.

It was sometimes overcast, but it didn't rain until the next day, when we were on our way home. (We wish it had rained here at home.)

Now those course designers were smart people. They got my Kansas farmer to pay to spend the day in a pasture, even when he was on vacation.

Now back to reality ... Our time in the pasture this week will be a bit different. We will be chasing things in the pasture. It just won't be little white balls. More on that later ...


  1. Great form Randy.

  2. Love the one with the yucca and the gorgeous Nebraska sky!