If you had asked me three years ago whether or not I considered golf to be a "manly" sport, my answer would have been a resounding "No." This would have been promptly followed by "No...no...no, no, no." So when my editor asked if I would be interested in covering the top 18 golf holes in Mobile as a feature for our 2011 men's issue, why did I say yes? I don't know.
Let me be clear. My vast knowledge of golf begins and ends at nothing. So in preparation for this assignment, I did what every seasoned journalist has been trained to do. I typed "golf" into Wikipedia and pressed Enter on my keyboard. Later that day, I downloaded a golf dictionary (Yes, they exist.) to my iPhone.
It turns out golf isn't so bad. Sure there's no physical contact between players or risk of severe injury. (Minus that caddy who stood too close to my windup swing. Rest in peace, Dave.) There is, however, an excruciatingly intellectual aspect to the game, one which I now appreciate. Carefully crafted strategies, painstakingly high levels of concentration and patience make golf a sport of precision, improvisation and finesse. With every swing, you risk not only vital ball placement, but your reputation, as hundreds of silent spectators and fellow golfers critique your every move. I now see the often misunderstood manly side of golf. And it has nothing in common with the blunt force of a linebacker's tackle or the power of a boxer's properly executed right hook. (Whatever that is.)
Here's the story - The Ultimate Golf Challenge
Special thanks to Tim Gressett at Springhill Golf Course, Bryan Clarke at Lakewood, Paul Martino at Magnolia Grove, Eamonn Coghlan at Azalea City, David Musial at Heron Lakes, Kevin Whitney at Rock Creek and John Zimet at Country Club of Mobile.