Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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It’s Time To Return To The Links

In the coming weeks, as summer slowly peaks out from beneath dew-covered lawns, countless Americans will gaze out the window, give a satisfied sigh and head for the garage.

They will rummage through their dusty possessions, pushing past old bats and racquets, before finally spotting their prize. With a hint of a smirk, they will reach out and lift a ratty, mud-covered bag carrying a 12-year-old set of Hogan blades, untouched for eight months but certainly not forgotten.

Yes, my friends, it is finally golf season once again.

While still viewed by some as simply the recreational choice of the elite, a reputation only enhanced by the overwhelming lack of urban courses, golf has ridden the Tiger Woods era to new, previously unthinkable heights in popularity. The sport has stepped away from country club exclusivity and embraced the public links.

Through the changes, the beauty of golf has remained and thrived. Few sensations are as satisfying as arriving at an empty course in the early evening, breathing in the remnants of freshly cut grass as you step up to the tee, listening to the birds and cicadas serenade as you stroll down the fairway and just as the sun sinks below the tree line, sinking that long birdie putt.

My own personal infatuation with golf stems from two sources: its solitary nature and its relationship with nature.

The first is merely a matter of convenience. For when the summer draws on and you don’t have enough people around to play team sports, golf is an appealing alternative to the athlete stuck going solo.

But perhaps more than anything, I have always been attracted to the natural splendor encapsulated within the game. Sadly, in recent months I have dwelled on how my favorite pastime and beloved means of accessing the outdoors can actually have a devastating effect. And no, I’m not referring to the agonizing strain this game of frustrations puts on my fragile psyche.

Golf courses – those havens of peaceful solitude I have sought out every summer for years – have a dreadful impact on the environment.

To start, the thousands of acres dedicated to the game are responsible for the consumption of a great deal of land that might otherwise be untouched (or at least employed in a more practical manner). In order to ready these huge plots for usage, developers often must clear vast amounts of woodlands or marshlands.

To top it all off, greenkeepers douse courses in gallon after gallon of pesticides, and those chemicals pose a threat to more than just those who frequent the fairways – they have been know to seep into water supplies by way of drainage systems.

In light of our current environmental crisis, it is hard to comprehend that a game I love so much is wrecking such havoc on the Earth. So what am I to do? Abandon golf in protest? While this appears to be one responsible course of action, it does nothing to solve the issue.

Instead, I have decided to speak with the club pros at every course I visit this year about what they are doing to reduce damage to the ecosystem and I would encourage all my fellow golfers to do the same. It takes five minutes, and you’ll feel good about yourself as you go off the first tee.

While sports may often seem blissfully detached from the real world, there are times like these when they have the potential to make a real difference. Let’s take advantage.

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
It’s Time To Return To The Links