In far north west Illinois the Illinois Associated for School Curriculum Directors (ASCD) held a conference attended by mostly school administrators and Common Goal Systems attended to showcase it’s new module to support 1-to-1 computing in the classroom. A good 2-3 hours from my home I woke up early and soon found myself driving up and down the hilly Moraines of Wisconsin, but only this time in Illinois. For those unfamiliar, a Moraine is a hill. And for some odd reason when the Glaciers formed and scraped the landscape flat, as is most of Illinois, it skipped the Wisconsin along with this lone portion of Illinois. The conference was held at a resort not far from the touristy village of Galena. Galena is known for a quaint downtown that hearkens to a time when mining was king, access to the Mississippi was quick and President Ulysses Grant was a only a mere General. Now a bastion of ice cream parlors, restaurants, wineries and knick knack shops, Galena has found new success where other towns among Illinois have only found dust.
Eagle Ridge, the conference center, boasts of two big golf courses, the North and the South. The conference ended earlier and my colleague and I decided to try the North course since it was said to be easier and closer. I was happy to pick the easy one since my golfing skills are severely limited. Carved throughout the Morrianes, the course weaves among the trees. This is no links course, where a stray ball land can land safely in a fairway adjacent. No in this venue, stray balls become the property deep woods and tall grasses. Both Jim and I spent signiciant energy combing the wildnerness in search of our ball, often times finding many others lost and wayward Titleist, Pinnacle and Calloways. We both played poorly but it was a extremely intense, focused, and despite the hot dry heat, incredbily enjoyable.
And during the round I kept thinking of the podcast I listened to on the drive up that morning. Stephen Leavett, the economist on Freakonomics, was talking about his addiction to golf. And how he is trying to make up for his lack of tenacity on the high school golf team. How golf is incredibly frustrating and yet it teases you into thinking that maybe you’re finally getting it. Maybe you’re swing is reaching a level of trust and consistency. As an economist he loves that golf has an intellectual element with numbers and yardages and pars and distances and all the various and intricate uses of the clubs to used here and there and only sometimes. He loves the fact that it is a physical sport and you’re outdoors walking among a beautiful park. But he also know that it’s an isidious sport, with rules designed to give you the illusion that you can excel when in brutal cold reality you will never tame it, you will never own it and you will always be it’s whipping boy.
On the 18th hole I took a 3 wood and placed it half way down a Par 4, smack dab center of the fairway. With my hybrid the placed the ball just to the right of green and with a quick chip I was on the green only to two putt. Not bad for me and it was great to finish up the round and feel like a real golfer, whatever that is. Again the sport gave me a quick hit of joy and endorphins to again give it a try tomorrow. I’m feeling the itch right now…..