Chris BaldwinThis Week at TravelGolf.com: August 29, 2006

Is Paris Hilton tougher than most average weekend hackers?

Ask a golfer what their favorite hole is on a course and you’ll almost always get back a snappy, "The one I birdied!" These numbers run even higher than the four out of five dentists who don’t recommend that you spend 24 hours straight with your jaw wrapped in a death grip around a dripping, oozing chocolate candy apple.

Everyone wants to tell you about the Paris Hilton easy par 4 they managed to score on. Or the par 3 that’s so short and obstacle-free that three pitch & putts turned it down, but which they nevertheless sunk a putt on.

This all begs the question: Are most golfers wimps? Is our sport populated by the type of people who’d run faster to a slice of cheesecake than into a burning fire to save Tiger Woods’ new Labradoodle?

It’s already been established that most modern showcase courses are simply too hard for the average golfer. But do golfers actually secretly just covet fairways so easy street that Charles Barkley could par them blindfolded.

Spend any time talking to golfers - the ones actually on the courses - and you cannot help but wonder. This isn’t just the rant of a golf writer who’d like a top hole answer besides poetic waxing about the pushover toppled either (OK, maybe a little).

But really, what other sport brings out such celebration of the easy ones? Know any adult rec basketball players who gush about the time they dunked all over a team of 9-year-old girls on seven-foot rims? I’m sure there are hunters out there who would happily shoot at turkeys with 10-pound steel balls shackled to their legs. But even they wouldn’t advertise it. And do you think Peyton Manning sits around in the offseason, reliving all those times he carved up the Texans?

Sure, every birdie deserves to be celebrated. This game is hard enough. Even Michelle Wie plays fast and loose with the rules. But everyone swinging sticks for fun could use some toughening up.

As always, TravelGolf.com welcomes your comments.



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Saratoga Horse RacingPutter in the backstretch:
Horse racing and golf
make a natural exacta

It's no secret that most golfers like to gamble and it's no mere happenstance that Saratoga, N.Y. area courses are busiest during the six-week horse racing season that typically ends around Labor Day. There's plenty of crossover between racetrack enthusiasts and golfers. Saratoga Springs boasts some seriously daunting golf nearby, but it's not alone. From Hollywood Park and Santa Anita out West to Pimlico and Monmouth Park back East, here's the primer for golfers who love to play the ponies.

Also: Swimming with the fishes makes Cabo a unique golf hot spot



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PodcastBeauty of New England,
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TravelGolf.com blogger Ron Mon loves the scenic beauty of golfing in New England this time of year. National Golf Editor Tim McDonald breaks down the high-end Naples, Fla., scene where it’s rich greens fees, rich courses and “you can barely find a fast food restaurant.” Host Dave Berner uncovers some tunes that could be your golf anthem too.

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Hilton Head - Oyster Reef Golf ClubOyster Reef Golf Club in
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Oyster Reef Golf Club is like a journeyman fighter who was once an exciting young boxer with an unblemished record. He started out strong, got a little complacent and was introduced to a little humility. Now, he's ready for a comeback. The golf course opened in 1982 to accolades but let its guard drop when it replaced its Bermuda greens with bentgrass and was KO'ed. Now, a new owner is bringing it back to top form.

Also: Beat your husband silly at these gal-friendly courses in Hilton Head

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