Bucket lists motivate and inspire us so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that any serious golfer has a bucket list of courses to visit in a lifetime.
While the game of golf was first formally introduced in this country in 1787 in South Carolina, it didn’t really start to catch on until the 1920s. After the Great Depression and WWII, the popularity of golf exploded and now there are over 16,000 courses in the United States and more than 38,000 worldwide.
Golf courses have now been built on some of the most impressive pieces of real estate and designed by the best course architects available. These courses incorporate the tradition of the game itself, but they also represent the newer traditions inherent to the area, the club, and the history of the living landscape.
But why does playing on fantastic golf courses rank up there on the best of bucket lists? Perhaps it’s because it is one of the easier bucket list items to accomplish. For instance, it took Hank Aaron his whole life to accomplish one item on his bucket list and only one day to accomplish something else on the list.
"It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it (crossed off a bucket list item) in one afternoon on the golf course," Aaron once said.
Baylor University golfer Britta Snyder said that while she has seen her bucket list course, she has never yet been fortunate to play at Pebble Beach. “It’s a lifelong goal for a lot of people to be out there and play that kind of a course,” she said recently and that she looked forward to making memories with her friends and family there.
Paul Leahy, Director of Golf at the Margaritaville Lake Resort, looks back fondly at the time he was able to take his father to one of his bucket list courses -- the St. Louis Country Club -- to play golf on his 80th birthday.
“It was just fantastic to play some of his bucket list courses with my Dad,” Leahy said. “My father, who was a well-known amateur in his day, loved the fact that I got into the game he loved so much and was able to make it into a career.”
For me, Whistling Straits in Wisconsin remains on my bucket list along with St. Andrews in Scotland. Not only do I want to play, but I want to also fulfill an item on my wife’s bucket list – a picture of her “boys” on the iconic Swilcan Bridge.
With any luck, we’ll be able to make that trip before my boys will be able to beat me in a round.
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