Monday, January 17, 2011

Walking Around Charleston, One Hole At A Time

There is so much pleasure to be found in just walking around in the Holy City. So many opportunities for taking pictures, seeking out living history, and viewing beautiful people and homes. It is not hard to imagine that a blogger might choose a walk around Charleston as motivation for a blog post. No, today I am not blogging about a walk down Church Street, or a street by street tour of the area just "south of Broad." My inspiration is a different kind of walk, a walk on the various golf courses of the Lowcountry.

Over the years since the invention of the golf cart, walking around the course has lost it's popularity. And understandably so, first of all golf carts are a blast to drive and ride in. This is evidenced by the growing popularity of golf carts for non-golf course related transportation. Just go past any neighborhood pool in the summertime and you will likely see various colored golf carts with floaties and noodles bungied to the roof all decked out for a summer day at the pool. Secondly, from a golf perspective, the golf cart has made it possible to play a round of golf with less of a time committment, not always, but usually. The popularity of a round of golf with a cart may be leveling off and possibly even reversing, at least based upon my observations from golf courses around Charleston. And being somebody that prefers a push cart to one of the motorized versions, I am glad to see it.

A quick Google search of "walking on the golf course" lead me to alot of information that confirmed my suspicion was not mis-directed. In fact there are countless studies, articles, blogs and websites dedicated to enjoying the game while exercising by walking. I was shocked that some of the well designed medical studies have equated that walking an 18 hole round is equivalent to upwards of 45 minutes of high impact cardio-aerobics. My theories were not the result of work done in a lab, at least not a lab in the traditional sense, but recently while playing a round of golf with friends at Snee Farm Links in Mount Pleasant, I noticed more walkers than riders on the course.

And yesterday, while walking 18 holes at my home golf club, The Summerville Country Club, I noted several groups of walkers of all ages were out taking advantage of the break in the weather.

Interestingly enough, one of the things I enjoy most about walking while golfing, especially if I am the lone walker in a group, is the ability to think as I walk from shot to shot. Now when the competition is intense and I am really "in the zone", of course that thinking involves staying in the moment and focusing on my golf game, but that state of mind seems to be the exception rather than the rule lately. You would be amazed at the kind of things that you can sort out on those little 200 yard walks from tee to green on a good par 3. Yesterday, for example, I wrote this blog a hundred times, reflecting on what I wanted to say in a blog about walking rather than riding. Well, of course I also thought of some neat birthday gifts for my niece who celebrated her birthday last week and considered some landscaping plans for the backyard this spring.

Some golf courses are better suited for riding rather than walking, and sometimes it is the conditions that determine that riding as opposed to walking will be preferential. For instance, Charleston has two golf seasons, the hot and humid season from mid-June through mid-September, and the rest of the year. There are dozens of golf courses here in the Charleston Area that are walker friendly and a good quality push-cart makes your walk so much more enjoyable, as does a fair share of pars and a birdie every now and then. So, get out there and enjoy a walk around Charleston, hole by hole.

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