Tiger Woods has no idea how lucky he is! Golf in the 21st century is awesome!, and dare I say easy. Teeing it up with a driver the size of a small bathtub, hitting a gasoline-fueled golf ball and suiting up in high-performance golf shirts is a way of life on the links these days. But to reach this peak, many golfers of yesteryear traveled through countless valleys filled with chilly-dippers, duff shots and worm burners... all to help us look good and play good in 2009!
I recently got the chance to walk a mile (18 holes to be exact) in Bobby Jones' shoes when I was invited to play in the Pikes Peak Hickory Classic golf tournament at the Broadmoor. The rules were simple: play golf the way they played when life was simple. Dressed in knickers, equipped with hickory-shafted clubs and a sleeve of reproduction mesh golf balls, I walked up to the #1 tee box. Ready to walk 18 holes with a caddy (I hadn't walked 18 holes since I was a teenager). I looked the part, just didn't play the part.
It didn't take long to realize, I was a brand new golfer all over again, struggling to make solid contact. It left me screaming for Big Bertha!Apparently, I rely heavily on technology to play golf. I'm not a great golfer, but I'm not awful either. If I had an official handicap, it would be about an 18. I shot a 104!, 59 on the front-9, 45 on the back-9 (I eventually got the "hang" of things at the turn). But the struggle was not only a challenge, it was fun! Playing golf the way Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen did back in the 1920's was awesome. But more importantly, it gave me new found respect for the pioneers of golf. Jones and Hagen played when there was little room for error. Big Bertha wasn't around to bail them out. Hagen's 11 major championship titles ranks third all-time, Jones is seventh with 7 titles. But these two ranke #1 in my book when it comes to respect. They did more, with less!
Tiger Woods will go down as the greatest golfer of all time. I love watching him dominate the modern game. But in my eyes, he has some pretty large shoes to fill. I know, because I walked in them. And it's tougher than it looks!
I encourage any avid golfer to give this tournament a try next summer. It's Halloween, golf and a history lesson wrapped up in 18-holes at one of the finest venues in golf. For more information, log onto http://www.pikespeakhickoryclassic.com
Until next time, keep living the dream! Jesse Kurtz, KKTV Sports Anchor/Reporter