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Giving Thanks to Golf, from Augusta to Zoysia

Is there another game that gives as much as golf and asks for so little in return? Actually, I can think of several. Golf is pretty expensive, when you get down to it.

But hey, you get what you pay for, and golf delivers the goodies like Santa in a Kangol cap. Sorry, skipped a holiday ahead. Let’s focus on the celebration at hand with a list of golf people, places and things we’re grateful for this Thanksgiving.

All-grass driving ranges. The new synthetic mats are a big improvement on the last generation, too.

Zoysia fairways.

Bentgrass greens.

The lob wedge.

Forged irons (especially Mizuno’s).

Twilight fees.

All-you-can play rates.

Gimmes.

Mulligans.

Sandies.

Skins.

Classic courses.

Augusta National admitting women. Still waiting for the R&A, though. Those boys really take the Ancient part seriously.

Giant windmills in view from Trump International Golf Links. With any luck, they’ll blow away the Donald’s hairpiece. Too bad his arrogance and ignorance are immovable.

Streamsong Resort, coming soon to an abandoned Florida phosphate mine near… me!

Municipal courses and the old-timers who play them.

Tiger vs. Jack debates.

Great golf course photography.

Satellite map imagery, which lets you peek behind the gates of ultra-private or far-flung clubs like Pine Valley and Royal Melbourne.

The next three U.S. Open sites: Long-missed Merion (2013), revamped Pinehurst No. 2 (2014) and fresh-faced Chambers Bay (2015).

Bubba Watson’s strictly-by-feel shotmaking. He proves that golf is still an art.

Phil Mickelson’s candor. Though architect Rees Jones probably wishes Phil would just STFU.

Walking a deserted course, solo, at first light on a Sunday morning.

The three-and-a-half-hour round.

Partners who quickly abandon a futile lost-ball search.

Guys who treat the beverage cart girl with respect.

Beverage cart girls who put up with the clueless bozos who hit on them.

Condo-free courses.

Hybrid clubs.

Launch monitors.

Clubfitting.

Starters who give newcomers a rundown of hidden trouble spots.

Mike Keiser, the visionary founder of Bandon Dunes and Cabot Links.

The town of St. Andrews, Scotland – No. 1 on my bucket list.

Minimalist design and the architects who practice it.

Firm, fast conditions. Brown is beautiful. So is the bump-and-run.

19th holes that serve local microbrews.

Pull carts and stand bags.

Rory McIlroy’s swing.

Seaside golf.

Lakeside, bayside and riverside golf.

Handheld GPS devices and rangefinders.

Caddies. And the clubs that still deploy them.

Casual golf shoes.

Caddyshack quotes. Especially Bill Murray’s classic Dalai Lama riff: “So we finish the 18th and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, ‘Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.’ And he says, ‘Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.’ So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

The rest of us will have to settle for turkey and maybe a quick nine. Which ain’t so bad.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Daniel MitchellDaniel Mitchell is a golf writer and Golf-Newz.com contributor who lives in Jupiter, Fla., a few miles from Tiger Woods as the crow flies but worlds away in every other respect. An avid golfer since age 12, Mitchell carries a (shaky) single-digit handicap, investing far more time in his dogs than his swing.

You can read his regular musings at a-gamegolfblog.blogspot.com

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