By Norm Crerar
USGTF Contributing Writer, Vernon, British Columbia

As I write this article, I am sitting at my computer on a bright sunny day in the Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia. The wine grape harvest is on; apples are being picked; golf is winding down, and here in Canada it is Thanksgiving Day. And what a lot to be thankful for! As I said, the sun is shining after a very wet and cool fall. Snow has already arrived at our ski resort just 25 minutes away and 4,000 feet higher in elevation. That will probably disappear, but we could be cross-country skiing by early November and alpine skiing by the end of November. This is truly a great place to live!

On the bad news front, I was at a bagpiping event May 5th and, walking up some old concrete steps, I caught my toe on the top step and fell on my face. My left arm extended, and I landed toward that side. I stretched all of the ligaments in my rotator cuff and am now just able to take a bit of a backswing (I am a lefthanded golfer), so I have not been able to play golf at all this past summer season. The good news is that my wife more than made up for my lack of playing with her more than twice-a-week outings and is now a certified golf fanatic. The bad news is that I have been in a position of having to applaud her every high point: longest drive on one hole; closest to the pin on another hole; winning the deuce pot, and on and on. For someone who used to wonder how pro golfers being interviewed could remember every shot they made going back multiple years, she has certainly mastered the art. My reward for being such a good and attentive listener and staying at home with a massive to-do list: I am now caught up and way ahead on the ever-important marital points!

On the bad news front, I have to admit to having an addiction. I am addicted to big events! The good news is, I have run into and continue to have great friends who believed in the vision and are committed to what we are doing. Thank-fully, they also believed that it is as easy to do something big as it is to do something small, and we are all rewarded for our efforts. We also believe that what we are doing is great, but if we stand still and don’t strive to be bigger and better, someone else will pass us or come up with something to replace us.

And so it is with the golf teaching business. Thankfully, the USGTF technical committee is constantly analyzing teaching techniques and new equipment, and how to make use of it to get more people golfing more often. Are you as good as you are going to get? Of course not. Even as we get older, we want to stay engaged, and thankfully we continue to learn from our peers, the teachers who have gone before us, and from the young, new thinkers coming up behind us that now make up the technical squad.

On the trivia front, I was entertained the other day listening to a radio program that featured an English-language specialist. He and the host were talking about “collective nouns.” You may not have heard of the term, but you have certainly used many. Here are some examples: A flock of birds; a flock of sheep; a herd of deer; a hive of bees; a litter of puppies; a murder of crows and a pack of hounds. As I listened, I realized there was nothing pertaining to golf. So here goes: Students standing around on the lesson tee waiting for the golf pro – a slice of golfers. The foursome of old guys holding you up – a cart of fogies. The locker room after the senior Stableford – a sag of butts. The 20 ladies from the health resort next door out for a trek – a babble of walkers. Members of your teaching federation at a gathering – a company of USGTFs. I know there are bigger minds out there than mine that can come up with similar or more creative offerings. Send them in to your editor! I am sure there will be a prize waiting.

The last bad news is that my wife and I are without a TV in the summer. Perhaps that is good news, as both Canada and the USA are in the throes of national elections. Perhaps that is good news and something else to be thankful for. If you feel good about things, do not turn on cable news. But there is an antidote for feeling the world is going to end in a few years. Standing in a lift line last winter, the lift operators had a radio on the outdoor speakers, and a psychologist was explaining to listeners that if they were in the midst of a Christmas crisis, take a walk in the woods. The quiet and refreshing solitude would fix them right up. How lucky are we with golf in that most golf courses are just that, solitude in nature.

For me, the good news is that I am usually really deep in the woods, a lot!

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