Boomer on 1st Assignment at Senior PGA

A Boomer’s Journal

By Tom Anselm

This week, if weather permits, I should be out and about somewhere on the plush and lush Bellerive Country Club golf course, covering the Senior Professional Golf Association Championship, aka The Senior PGA. What, you may be saying? How did this guy get in there?  Well, a few months ago, I took a shot in the dark and applied through this newspaper for a press pass with the PGA for this event. To my pleasant surprise, it was approved.

Funny how it’s not called “press pass” anymore.  It is a “media credential.” Oh, so much more prestigious, and actually more accurate.  With lanyard and tag, I am let loose on these hallowed grounds, with free access to the press tent (sorry, “media center”), drink all the blue Gatorade I can handle, and the opportunity to wander to my hearts delight, camera and notebook in hand, as I chronicle a major professional golf event. My riveting observations will appear in on our web  site ( Facebook and Twitter and then in our next issue

As you may have guessed, this is the only way I will get on this course.

Like many of us, I am a committed consumer of the public variety of golf. These golf clubs are also known as municipal courses, or “muni’s”, usually owned and operated by a local city. Which is the focus of The Golf Page, after all.  This is the way most people partake of this game.  We put on our golf shoes in the parking lot, drop our own bags, seldom use caddies, and stoke up on hot dogs and beer before the round.  Our pursuit is as much for the best dollar value as it is for the loveliest fairways.  But cost is not the only consideration.  One of the head pros with whom I talked while putting this page together cautioned that for course managers  to only go for price was a lose/lose proposition.

“I’ve been in this business for over 30 years, and you have to offer more than bargains.  You don’t make really any more money if you only go for coupons and deals.  We have to offer a nice experience, one that invites people to come back again.” Many of us have our favorite courses, our groups, our connections to the staff.  It gives us a sense of belonging, without the membership fees.  We accept less-than-perfect tee boxes, an occasional  clump of grass in the fairways, and greens that mostly but not always roll true.  It’s the price we pay for, well, for the price we pay.  We play for the sheer joy of the game, for that occasional strike so solid that you don’t even feel it, for the robin’s-egg blue sky and soft breeze and sun on your face at the first tee, for a few hours with no real worries except club choice and whether to lag that putt or go for it.

The lovely wife Jill is amazed at this kid’s transformation into golf geek. I was the guy who scoffed at the game.  She is also flabbergasted when she asks, after I have played with a friend or relative, “so, what’s new with them?”  To which I have little to offer, since we mostly talked about, you guessed it, club choice or whether to lag that putt or go for it.  Hey, a guy’s gotta concentrate, ya know?

At Bellerive, I will be visiting one of the most storied courses in the area.  It is the only location in our region long enough to have hosted major PGA events.  I hope to get some great pictures and even better insights into what it takes to do another one.  But to use an overworked cliché, “at the end of the day” you’ll find me at one of our areas wonderful municipal courses, slamming down that last bite of dog with a gulp of blue Gatorade and imploring the “golf gods” for a decent shot off  No. 1. Hit ’em straight, friends.


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