There is a course with a driving range up the street, and for years I thought the autonomy was not good. The bullets are beaten in hell and painted with a cheap protective coating that leaves a nasty mark on your irons. There is no grass, and with a small cushion between the mats and concrete underneath, it is not uncommon to see a poor bastard groom his wrists and curse the sky. Every five minutes a voice crackles through the speaker imploring anyone who rains balls on the net – just 230 yards from the strike zone that keeps the eighth par-3 – to stop before someone does. be stunned cold, a voice ignored as golfers prefer manslaughter than refraining from whaling with the driver. A large bucket costs $ 15 and since this is a metropolitan area and the nearest public facility is 25 minutes away, there is usually a line. Calling it hell would be extreme, but Purgatory was probably too kind.

At least that was my earlier point of view, before the range closed at the start of the pandemic last year. When it reopened, the scruples it harbored were replaced by gratitude. Part of that is not knowing what you have until it’s gone, of course. But since his return, I have tried to see him for what he is instead of what he is not. It’s a lineup that allows high school players to strike for free. The punching bays are heated and covered so you can strike whatever the season (and this being the northeast, sometimes those seasons all pass in one day). There is no dress code and zero choking. A bar is a few strides away, but no one takes a second look if an iced bar comes out of a golf bag. It’s a lineup that has spotlights to work on your game at night, and a lineup that keeps those lights on for an extra 15 minutes because they sometimes know a bucket isn’t enough.

I know it’s not perfect; seriously, it would be nice to hit balls made after 1998. But it’s definitely not hell. Far from there.

In that vein, we have compiled a list of other golf places and people and things worthy of our thanks. Some are big, some are small. Some are serious and some are stupid and some are sentimental. They all come from the heart. And if they seem a little sweet, well, we’ve had plenty of acid on them lately. This is why we would like to thank:

Stories like Mike Visacki, Brett White and Rachel Rohanna. The Player Impact Program leak underscored the belief that professional gaming is powered by and revolves around a finite number of planets. As true as it may be, the tales of Visacki, White and Rohanna remind us that sport is a big universe, where even the smallest stars – if only for a moment – can shine brightly.

Bunkers in Baghdad. The association, which sends golf equipment to American soldiers stationed around the world, has donated more than 12 million golf balls and one million clubs since its inception in 2008.

Every time the broadcast sings, “And look at that line Bryson DeChambeau takes…” We are two years away from his transformation from man to mountain. You would think of the breathtaking distances and “Did you see that?” The readers would eventually wear out. They do not have.

Whenever the broadcast sings, “It looks like Bryson DeChambeau is calling a rules official.” Sorry, Kentucky Derby, these are the most exciting two minutes in sport.

Every time the broadcast sings about Bryson DeChambeau, period. Say what you want from the guy. But if you say you don’t care, you’re lying.

Maintenance teams. Breaking our tail, often for little money at the wrong times, so that we can enjoy a bit of paradise.

The PGA Championship. Once considered the major of “black sheep,” the PGA has grown into one of the more entertaining events on the program. Don’t laugh: The past five years have seen breakthroughs for Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa, with Bethpage Theater collapsing on its own, Tiger Woods winning at Bellerive finishing second and Phil Mickelson beating Father Time at Kiawah. Speaking of …

Phil mickelson. Giving us all hope that for a hole, a lap or a weekend, we can be as good, if not better, than we have ever been.

Amy Bockerstette. You might have thought his 15 minutes were up. The truth is, she’s just getting started. Becoming famous after a training date with Gary Woodland that went viral in 2019, Bockerstette has since opened the “I Got This” foundation, its mission to promote golf education and playing opportunities for people with disabilities. intellectual. In May, she also became the first person with Down’s syndrome to compete in a national college track and field championship.

Those 3-4 swings when you feel like you’ve discovered it. Every thought, every lesson and every trick, and countless hours of chasing after the sun has lined up to produce the blow and feel you have long pursued. You feel foolproof, and there are glimpses of the future of breaking the 80s and maybe becoming a club champion and even qualifying for the US Open and taking the lead of the 54 holes as you fend off Rahm, Xander and Cantlay. Certainly, “it” goes immediately, and the struggle to reproduce the feeling leads to existential angst and the question of whether there is a higher power and, if so, why it would be so cruel to give and then take away. so quickly… but for those 3 -4 swings, yeah, life’s pretty good.

Lawyers visit. For decades, the sport has pontificated on the growth of the game without doing much. The Advocates Pro Golf Association is one of the exceptions, its circuit providing a competitive environment for minority golfers while encouraging the sport to reach audiences it has historically ignored.

Nelly Korda. Women’s football dreamed of an American super star. Although her candidacy for the LPGA Player of the Year was short, Korda made that wish and more in 2021. Don’t expect her time at the top to be short-lived, either. Even with …

Jin Young Ko’s radiator. Five wins, a second and two T-6s in his last nine starts. All with an injured wrist. It is, my friends, in fire.

Give me putts. Each language of golf has gimme in its lexicon, but it lacks a universal definition. It’s an ambiguity, as the Ryder Cup has proven, that acts as an agent of chaos and controversy. So watching a playmate rake on your behalf is a sign of respect that never goes unnoticed. While we’re here …

Helpful opponents. You blew your motivation into the high stuff. I’ve never really watched it, and your research time is almost up. Just then you hear, “Hey, you’re playing a ball with two blue dots, aren’t you?” The golf version of a governor’s 11th hour reprieve.

The return of the 19th hole. As the sport flourished in 2020, many course water points and clubs have been closed due to COVID protocols. This summer, many of these bars have been back, and with their return another step towards the familiar has been taken. And to that we raise our glasses: the 19th hole, the only hole a golfer cannot bite.

Jordan Spieth becomes Jordan Spieth again. Other than a certain 15-time major winner, no golfer is as galvanizing as Spieth, but for almost three years we have wondered what was wrong with him. What a pleasure to see him succeed.

The indignation of Tyrrell Hatton. Always pointed at himself, the only thing that stood out on the business side being his club. We have been asked why we look at Hatton’s screens with charm and pleasure when the same behavior of others is criticized, and the only real answer we have is that if you have an English accent you can get away with n ‘ whatever.

Megaha Ganne. Do bigger things at 17 than most of us can dream of doing.

Starters that make you lose your mind. Don’t worry about the Thursday Night Mixed Pairs League, the man with the clipboard has you covered.

Important people who tolerate our golf obsessions. It takes someone special to realize that the guest member is as sacrosanct as a wedding anniversary.

The courage of Matthew Wolff. He was open about his battles, knowing that some would think less of him for them and stepping away from the spotlight would only make him brighter when he returned. But he did what he thought was right, not just for himself but for others. I hope he’s stronger because of it.

And last but not least, we are grateful to all first responders and frontline workers. They risk their lives so that we can continue to live ours.