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36 Reasons to Love Golf Now -- plus 10 bonus items!

36 Reasons to Love Golf Now -- plus 10 bonus items!
Courtesy of Kylee Seely
Kylee Seely, beverage server, SunRidge Canyon Golf Club, Fountain Hills, Ariz.

No. 16: YOUR GOLF BAG IS NO LONGER AGAINST YOU
The capacious bags of yesteryear used to wear a slot in your shoulder. No more. Today’s models are light, colorful and packed with bells and whistles, like über-light material, dual-strap technology and water-resistant pockets. These bags—like Callaway’s Hyper-lite 3.5 ($149.99, callawaygolf.com), Nike’s Sunday Carry ($140, nike.com/nikegolf) and Sun Mountain’s Sunday X-Strap ($79.99, sunmountain.com)—are low maintenance and easier on your poor shoulders than a hot-stone massage.

No. 15: YOU CAN DRINK WHILE YOU PLAY!
How to get freebies from the cart girl:
“I treat all players like they’re special, but groups that catch my attention often open a tab and slip me a tip. I’ll buy them an extra round when I know they plan on taking care of me—or just if they make me smile or flirt in an innocent way. But I get tired of cheesy pickup lines. The worst I’ve heard? ‘Honey, are you from Tennessee? ’Cause you’re the only 10 I see!’ ” –Kylee Seely (pictured), beverage server, SunRidge Canyon Golf Club, Fountain Hills, Ariz.

No. 14: THE HOME OF GOLF IS STILL MAGICAL
Acclaimed designer Tom Doak caddied at the Old Course in his youth. He shares his No. 1 favorite St. Andrews memory.
“I once caddied for a California family. The mother and father were avid golfers, but the two girls had never played 18 holes before. So the younger sister played the odd-numbered holes, and the older sister played the even holes. It was a fascinating loop, because I found that if I could keep them out of the bunkers, even two complete beginners could get around the Old Course and have some fun. On No. 18, the older sister hit a solid 3-wood that rolled through the Valley of Sin, and she just missed a 20-footer for birdie before the usual assembly of onlookers—none of whom could tell it was her first career par. I still hear from them 30 years later.”

McIlroy, Fowler
Stan Badz, Andrew Redington / Getty Images

 

No. 13: THE DAWN OF RORY VS. RICKIE
If you were standing by the practice green at the Quail Hollow Club at 5:49 p.m. on the first Sunday of May, you could not help but let out a small whoop.

It was there that Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler bumped into each other before a playoff at the Wells Fargo Championship, exchanged a hug and a hearty soul handshake, and set off to ensure the future of the game we all love.

It always happens this way, doesn’t it? Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen give way to Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus take ownership of the game, only to be shadowed by Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. Who saw Seve Ballesteros coming, or Nick Faldo and Greg Norman? And who could have possibly foreseen the brilliant and sustained dominance of the Tiger Woods era?

The beauty of golf is that one wondrous generation gives way to the next and, once more, we are at the beginning of a new cycle. Our first glimpse of the future came one year ago at the U.S. Open at Congressional, where McIlroy dusted the field by eight shots and announced himself as the game’s next big thing. Fowler’s ascendance has unfolded in waves, first at the 2010 Ryder Cup, where he closed with four birdies to halve his match, and at the aforementioned Quail Hollow, where he defeated McIlroy and D.A. Points in a playoff for his first PGA Tour win, birdieing the first playoff hole with three perfect shots. With a second eight-shot major win, at the PGA , McIlroy seemed to be saying, “Come and get me.”

McIlroy and Fowler (both age 23!) share much in common with their forebears: a love of the big stage; style, but also a certain grace; a recognition of the genius within, but also an appreciation of the majesty of others.

Rory and Rickie have been bumping heads since the 2007 Walker Cup, and they have forged a healthy rivalry built on respect. Their duel at Quail Hollow gave us two marvelous, likable players beginning to grasp their powers.

After years of doomsday scenarios about golf’s future, we can exhale. For the next decade, the game will be carried in the interlocking grips of Rory and Rickie.

Even at Quail Hollow, a sense of wonderment prevailed. Late in the final round, Rory’s father, Gerry, recognized the meaning of his son sharing a leaderboard with Rickie, the meaning not only for the tournament but also for the game as a whole.

“It’s good for you to write about,” Gerry said with a knowing smile.

Yes it is, Gerry. Yes it is.—Damon Hack

No. 12: CARL PETTERSSON KEEPS ON WINNING
It seems everyone on Tour is lean and ripped, so we salute the soft-inthe middle Swede who won April’s RBC Heritage and finished T3 at the PGA. He inspires those who find most of their birdies in a bucket of KFC.

No. 11: ARNIE IS STILL THE KING
On Wednesday of Masters week this year, Arnold Palmer strolled out of Augusta’s stately clubhouse for lunch on the patio. He could’ve grabbed a chair anywhere on the spacious, sun-drenched lawn. Instead, he parked himself at a table next to the thin rope that separates the patio from the public, resulting in what must be a record for the most photos taken of a man eating a turkey sandwich. Now 83, the King still can’t get enough of the fans or Augusta. “If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be sitting here,” he said that day. “The tradition and the fans have been a part of me since 1955. The Par 3 [contest], the dinner, the tee shot—these are special days for me.” The next morning, he ripped his ceremonial opening tee shot down the middle, just like Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. These are special days for us, too.—Jeff Ritter

No. 10: GOLF IN THE OLYMPICS!
As of October 1, there’s only 1,403 days, 19 hours, 4 minutes, and 27 seconds left until the 2016 Olympics in Rio. But hey, who’s counting?

No. 9: YOU’LL OUTLIVE YOUR BOWLING BUDDIES
Golf is good for you. According to a study in a Scandinavian medical journal, golfers live five years longer than nonplayers, and the lower your handicap, the longer you live!

No. 8: TRUMP IS GOOD FOR GOLF
This year he bought Doral Resort, so a welcome makeover is coming, and Trump Scotland drew raves. The Donald? Good for golf. Just ask him.

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