Through many changes in my life, golf has been there for me like an old high school buddy that always has the right thing to say. The driving range has been my yoga studio for many, many years.
And although golf has always had a way of affording me a few hours to “check out”, it hasn’t stopped me from trying to be competitive.
And that’s where The Azalea Amateur comes into play. I started playing the tournament about six years ago and haven’t missed a year yet. Palatka Golf Course is a Donald Ross designed, 5,800 yard long beast with greens that can be as abusive as an alcoholic step-dad. They’re as tiny as a meth addict’s attention span, and as undulating as Hillary Clinton testimony. You can hit every fairway and still shoot 80, EASILY.
But this story isn’t really about golf, or the course. My yearly experience in my home town that I love is about the people. It’s about Nutty, Tappy, PY, Travis, Buddy, Rocky, Joe, Andy, Tanner, Kyle and all of the other interesting guys that show up every year for the love of the game and friendly competition. It’s odd how I’ve grown to know about 30 guys from all over the country and the only thing we have in common is the Azalea. But when we see each other, it’s like we’ve been next door neighbors for years. The conversation picks up right where it ended exactly one year before as it were just paused with a remote control. I hope that everyone finds something like the Azalea. Something that makes you happy and gives you a sense of tranquility if even for just three Spring days.