Don’t get me wrong—I’m Not suggesting every muni is a paradise. Not every round has been enjoyable; in fact, many I try to forget. On the same course where John and I had our match, I once endured a six-hour round with three young doctors who were just learning the game. They managed to dress the part—billowy shorts and shirts, with matching caps—but a couple of these guys could barely get the ball in the air. One of them, after standing interminably over his first tee shot, dribbled it pathetically. Most golfers I know would have walked away, but I’d already shot most of the morning getting to the course and waiting to tee off. I wasn’t about to go home now.
As much as I romanticize the munis, I look forward to one day joining a private club. Since my junior membership at our family’s club ended the autumn after I finished college (sixteen years ago, but who’s counting?), I’ve missed being able to show up, find a game and get around in three hours. The fact that my two brothers belong to clubs only adds to my longing. Sociologists call this "relative deprivation."
But envy aside, I have nothing to complain about. The rounds I get to play as a part of my job take me places my brothers will never see. As for life at the munis, well, it’s still golf, and ultimately that’s what matters the most. Regardless of how long I’ve waited for a tee time, how slow the round is going or what spotty shape the course is in, when I stand over an approach shot to a guarded green with a mid-iron in my hand, I could be playing anywhere. At that instant it’s just me, the ball and the target. The fact that the shot will land in the Bronx and not Ballybunion takes nothing away from my enjoyment of the moment.