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Ain't that America: GPS, koozie cups, range finders and more

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

Canoa Ranch Golf ClubCHARLOTTE, N.C. - With the British Open next up on the major rotation, our attention should be turning toward Royal Troon and the storied tracks and time honored traditions of the British Isles. After all, the U.S. Open is in the rear view and the PGA Championship seems as distant as the start of football season.

But how un-American would it be to turn the spotlight completely off of our rockets' red glare? Especially with our country's birthday on tap this weekend. Ah, yes, the 4th of July is a time of reflection upon our contribution to the world's geopolitical constitution. It is also a day in which we hardened hacks raise our watered down, low-carb swill to the pursuit of life, liberty and breaking 90.

We toast you, America, for all your monumental contributions to the grand game:

Here's to the mother of invention, namely golf carts, and coolers on golf carts that when taken collectively, can accommodate a 12-pack of canned beer. There's nothing like watching 100 golf carts iced down with 1,200 beers make their way to the first and 10th tees in Myrtle Beach. Gee, is the game ever in good hands.

Here's to technological advances, such as GPS on golf carts, range finders, digital stroke counters and cell phones so small we can wear them while we play. Now, at any point during a round of golf, we can accurately feed our lat and long coordinates to a Coast Guard search and rescue team and determine the exact distance to a green we'll never hit, all while digitally ignoring the footwedge we just used in the woods and assuring the fairer sex we'll pick up a carton of milk on the way home.

Harding ParkHere's to American golf course development -7,800 yard behemoths set amid amber waves of stucco housing and irrigated with enough water to sustain all of Namibia for two years. You know, the ones with 18 signature holes that are challenging yet fair and provide a "championship" golf experience for players of all skill levels.

Here's to those All-American golf destinations, like Pinehurst Resort (The Home of American Golf), Myrtle Beach (Golf Town U.S.A.), Palm Springs (The Golf Capital of the World), and the American Club (host resort for the 2004 PGA Championship).

Here's to the American Golf Corporation, purveyors of the great American concept of profit margin and the defendants of record on more members vs. management law suits than perhaps any golf course operations operation in the history of this fine country. Litigious is nothing, if not American.

Here's to the great American golf courses, the ones that put us on the map: Shinnecock Hills, Winged Foot West, Augusta National, Pinehurst No. 2, Pine Valley, Pebble Beach, Cypress Point and about 100 more. And to the ones keeping us on the map: Pacific Dunes, Bandon Dunes, Sand Hills, Whistling Straits and about 100 more.

The GalleryHere's to the United States Golf Association - love 'em or leave 'em, the blue blazers know how to stir the pot come U.S. Open time each year. The folks in Farhills, N.J., know that Americans love to watch other Americans struggle on national TV. Otherwise, how do you explain Punked, When Animals Attack, Cops, and Three's Company?

Here's to the golf road trip, a uniquely American undertaking that entails icing down the cooler, spreading the map on the hood of the car and setting out with a trunk full of overpriced gear. Once there, it's 36 holes a day and poker by night. Food and sleep are optional.

Here's to the upper echelon of American golf destinations; the ones we aspire to visit - 17-Mile drive, Scottsdale, Bandon Dunes, and the Homestead. Here's to the ones we can actually afford to visit - Gulf Shores, Ala., Myrtle Beach, and Tucson, Ariz. Most importantly, here's to the Great American muni - pull carts, questionable conditions, head scratching designs and all.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.


 
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