Summer days in the Carolinas start out like a dewy rose and finish like a frying pan.
Walk out in the morning to get your newspaper and you pause, look around, take a deep breath and think how perfect a morning this is.
False advertising. Fool’s gold. The organist cracking his knuckles before launching into some serious Bach.
By early afternoon, the air is like gravy, the temperature flirting with the 90’s, heat dancing off the streets.
Nevertheless, we slather on the sunscreen and go out to play. There’s golf waiting out there and, ozone be darned, we’re going to play it, reasoning that if you’re going to play golf in the Carolinas in the summertime, you’re going to have to go out where the course is and it’s not air conditioned out there.
The calendar says it’s still springtime but the thermometer says it’s summertime. That’s not spring dripping off your forehead when you bend over a putt. That’s not spring staining your shirt or blouse. That’s plain old watermelon-eatin’, gone-fishin’, thunder-boomin’, mosquito-slappin’, shag-dancin’, iced tea-sippin’ summertime in the South.
There’s actually a lot to like about hot weather golf. The courses are plush, the foliage is pretty and it’s not snowing. You don’t have to dress like an Eskimo. The ball seems to fly farther. The joints don’t creak as much. And the post-round coo-down tastes better.
And, in some places, there are bonuses. There’s a course down in eastern North Carolina that has the added summer attraction of big fat blackberries growing alongside one of the fairways. And there’s one in upper S.C. that runs alongside a peach orchard.
You don’t get a lot of blackberries or peaches in winter golf. You get frost bite.
You watch players – men and women – trudge in from a summer’s day round at your course looking like they’ve just finished a marathon in a downpour of rain and you think, you’ve got to love it.
Which, of course, is why we do it. That and the possibility that we may be a little bit crazy.