Column: Golf offers challenges, excitement

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Southridge senior Aidan Blessinger watches a shot during Tuesday evening's match against Evansville Christian at Huntingburg Country Club. Blessinger finished with a final score of 46.

By JIMMY LAFAKIS
jlafakis@dcherald.com 

HUNTINGBURG — Golf has always fascinated me. The sport presents a paradox — how can an activity as challenging as golf elicit so much enjoyment out of its players?

Tuesday evening’s match between Southridge and Evansville Christian gave me another chance to answer that question. I traversed up and down Huntingburg Country Club’s fairways, preparing for new twists and turns at each hole. I’ve learned that golf courses are like snowflakes. No two are exactly alike.

Therein lies the first part of my inquiry’s multi-faceted answer. Each course brings something new to the table. Although I don’t play golf, I’ve always been amazed at the natural beauty of venues like Augusta National and Pebble Beach. It would be an honor to photograph those courses one day.

Golf implores its players to think critically. So many factors are involved in each swing of the club. I have the utmost respect for any sport that requires such strategy, and golf has a rightful claim for the ultimate thinking man’s game.

While I studied up on the sport that has constantly made its presence felt in my life, I came across an intriguing quote from the legendary Gary Player. These folks know a lot more than I do, and I have a lot to learn. In his quote, Player described golf as a “puzzle without an answer.”

What a fascinating quip. One of the all-time greats admitted his inability to figure out this tricky sport. He is a maestro and a champion, but even he cannot solve this puzzle.

As I peered out past a pond on the course, I had a sudden flashback to April 2019. I was less than a month away from graduation at Butler, so I made sure to spend some time with my roommates at our house. They were watching a movie, but I had other ideas. Tiger Woods was closing in on his fifth Masters Tournament victory, and I needed all of us to witness history.

My impulsive decision was a bit uncharacteristic. If I had to choose two sports to watch for the rest of my life, I would pick baseball and basketball in a heartbeat. This was different, though. All of us were in awe as one of the best athletes of our generation claimed the esteemed green jacket once again.

That moment provided another answer to my initial question. Golf is a sport for all ages to enjoy. As I write this, I am a few months removed from turning 25 years old. If I am fortunate enough to live to 85, I bet golf will still captivate me. It is a social game, and I might want to partake with my contemporaries. None of us are too old for some friendly competition.

The aforementioned puzzle is complex and intricate. Golfers dedicate their lives to shooting a small white ball into a hole, but that simple fact signifies the tip of the iceberg. I admire their persistence. I respect their dedication to their craft.

I had a first-hand look at the Raiders’ fortitude on Tuesday. The squad endured a windy evening and posted a final score of 185. That total secured the win, as Evansville Christian shot a 236. Southridge junior Cory Abell shot a 44 and captured medalist honors for the team.

“It’s a blast with all of those guys,” Abell said after the victory. “They make it a lot of fun. They really do.”

A memorable evening, to be sure. I will continue my quest. Much like Gary Player, I will attempt to put the pieces together.




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