The Spirit of Golf is all about being thankful.
From the father who watched his son score an ace from the other side of the world, to a herculean effort by a big golf pro with an even bigger heart, to the golfer who proved that no age is too old to pursue golf dreams - our newest series has been all about gratitude and appreciation for the most celebratory moments in golf. But as Thanksgiving Week dawns upon us, I thought I'd take a moment to share the thoughts of the person who perhaps has the most to be thankful for in the golf world....me.
The Spirit of Golf: Never too old to chase a dream
For a guy who has no particular talent to play (barely hanging on to a single digit handicap) and started with no real connections or background in the game; golf has provided me several lifetimes of friends, memories, experiences and adventures. And though my opportunities are more than most, I also know that there are millions of people who share the exact same sentiments I have regarding golf and what it means to them. There's no way to list everything that I'm thankful for...but I'm going to try to get as many as I can.
- I am grateful for a warm day, a cool light breeze and a blank scorecard signaling 18 great adventures ahead of me.
- I am grateful for the sound of the ball rattling around in the cup. It's the audible affirmation of a job well done - even if it's my fourth putt of the green.
- I am grateful for smooth greens. Slopes and tucked pins are fine, but reward a good stroke with a chance to go in. Good greens can define a course.
- I am grateful for golf carts. They make golf more enjoyable for millions of players. That said, I prefer to walk. (Though I'm always grateful for caddies too!)
- I am grateful for golf technology that allows me to still have a little distance on my drives and some forgiveness on my poor iron shots. At this rate, within 100 years, my swing will produce perfect shots every time.
- I am grateful for Bucket List golf courses. They allow us to dream big, reach goals and provide lifetime memories on some of the most beautiful places on earth. This year, Bandon (4 courses), Bellerive, Peachtree and Baltusrol were checked off.
- I am grateful that I've played 32 of the Top 100 courses. Each was a dream come true. I'm also grateful I have 68 courses to keep chasing and dreaming about.
- I am grateful for the 7th tee at Pebble Beach, the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2. the 16th hole at Bandon Dunes and the opening tee shot at Riviera. I'm not that grateful for the 17th hole at Kiawah's Ocean Course...mainly because my average score on that par 3 is about 100.
- I am grateful that the people I've met in golf; from random strangers I'm paired with on the first tee to lifelong friends from years gone by - they almost always validate the idea that the best people and the best relationships seem to congregate around the golf course.
- I am grateful for those who like to talk golf. The folks who allow me to share my stories, thoughts and experiences are enabling a pretty severe addiction. Mine and theirs. The folks who follow me on Twitter are some of the most knowledgeable and fun golf fanatics in the world. I love all of them. (Well, except two - and they know who they are.)
- I am grateful for the dozens of tips and lessons I've received over the years, many from pros just walking the range as I warmed up for a round. Almost all have been spot on - and my high scores are not a fair testament to their expertise. But seriously, golf is also about learning. And we should never stop trying to learn.
- I am grateful that I have somehow lucked into a career where my vocation is also my avocation. Sharing the greatest aspects of golf is the best job ever. Ever.
- I am grateful that I have been privileged to represent two of the sports organizations I respect the most the past seven years. The PGA of America and Turner Sports are innovative leaders in their fields and even more, have the finest people I know on staff.
- I am grateful to have traveled the globe and all four corners of this great nation while sharing golf's best moments. I'm also grateful for the muni course down the street that provides just as much joy from a birdie (or even par!) as the one on Whistling Straits or Chambers Bay. Loving golf has no boundaries or fences.
Finally, I am grateful you took the time to read my thoughts and appreciations of this game. Now I'd love to hear yours. Tweet them to me @johnkim.
The Spirit of Golf is a celebration of the most important stories in golf - your stories. Though magical moments are associated with major championships or the Ryder Cup - the very best times are found when playing with family, friends, in helping a greater cause or traveling to a bucket list course. We invite all golfers to read, share and contribute their own great memories as we all work together to enjoy the "Spirit of Golf". If you have a good story for the "Spirit of Golf" - you can contact John Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org