A Feeling of Golf Normal: Birdie and I at the golf course.

A few dreadful putts earlier in the week meant putting practice was in order.

Tonight, for the first time in a long time, sundown at the golf course felt normal again. In desperate need of putting practice, I grabbed two golf balls, my putter, and Birdie, my beloved four-legged sidekick, and headed to Gay Brewer Jr. Course at Picadome, my local golf course haunt about a mile from the homestead, with a little less than an hour of sunlight left.

I brought Birdie’s leash along, just in case any straggler’s finishing their rounds gave us a second look, though she is of the age and temperament that she doesn’t want to explore beyond line of sight of me very often. That is, provided I didn’t settle for the relatively small practice putting green. I could peel off a dozen or so putts on a given green before she got a little bored and I’d relent and walk to the next closest green, giving her a chance to capture new smells in new fun places.

Mother Nature has allowed us to string together a handful of consecutive dry days, giving the maintenance crew a chance to catch up with the rough mowing that had been borderline out of control no more than a week prior. Despite the unseasonably cool recent weather, the beautiful twilight sky above leafy trees and actively growing greens and fairways gave me the feeling like summer was just around the corner, in earnest. I’ve already played in a few formal events, but the event earlier this week required a toboggan and multiple layers for optimal comfort, a rarity for a sunny day in May in central Kentucky.

Birdie loves to hang out around the golf course. So many adventures await.

It felt right. The greens have all but finished healing from aerification, the trees are alive with the sounds of birds settling in for the night, and clear, orange sky reminded me of how much I cherish being on a golf course for the evening magic hour, and that golf course in particular, providing an oasis of calm and green amidst the hustle and bustle of the city surrounding it.

It was so peaceful, so pleasant, that for a fleeting moment, I allowed myself to forget that we’re on the back nine of a brutal global pandemic. Or at least it feels like it. There were a few stragglers chasing the last embers of daylight, and a few fellow dog walkers keeping a safe distance. I was never within 100 yards of another soul, so wearing a mask wasn’t so much as an afterthought.

Rather than one of the few refuges that help keep my sanity in tact, I was reminded of so many reasons that I love golf and golf courses during our walk tonight. Having Birdie along with me added several layers of joy to the occasion. Maybe we’re getting back to whatever the new normal will be. I do know that it is better outside, and better yet on the golf course.

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