Recently when I mentioned the golf courses I play frequently, several people responded with disdain, "Oh, that's a muni course!" as if respectable golfers should avoid such inferior municipal courses. I suspect most private courses would be prettier and better maintained than the municipal courses I play, but I could never afford to play golf if I did not have municipal courses nearby. I suppose the parking lots filled with pickup trucks and older cars instead of newer luxury cars may bother some people, but not me. I don't have to worry about playing too slowly in front of players equipped with the most expensive clubs who think golf courses should restrict new players (or even women!) to only the late afternoons. Municipal courses may have wilting greens, fading flags, and cracking cart paths, but the friendly people who treasure the opportunity to enjoy a few hours of golf more than make up for the few problems I see on the course.
The photo is from Indian Trace, a municipal course in Chatsworth, Georgia. When I left the course yesterday afternoon, the driving range exhibited the diversity usually found on muni courses. A father was teaching his young son to play, a young couple who may have been playing golf for the first time helped each other as they struggled to hit the ball as far as others on the range, and an older gentleman in plaid shorts and black socks struck the ball awkwardly with a swing that apparently had declined through his later years.
While most municipal courses still require collared shirts, most now allow blue jeans. Maybe that's it - municipal courses are the best courses for the blue-jean crowd, and I'm just fine with that crowd.
Because of the bad economy that led to hundreds of teacher lay-offs in my school district, I decided to retire in June of 2010, the end of my 32nd year of teaching. I'm still trying to discern how I feel about retirement. Until recently, I maintained a blog about teaching. If you would like to read my thoughts about teaching, please visit: http://www.gladlywoulditeach.com/