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Senior Golfer - On The Green

Itís June and golf is in full bloom

The Putting Green

June is the official start of summer, Fatherís Day, and the time when this yearís U.S. Open is played at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. It also marks the longest days of the year, giving senior golfers in Chicago the opportunity to enjoy the daylight hours with marathon rounds of golf. Itís June and golf is in full bloom.

Take time out this month to enjoy the game. Smell the flowers, enjoy the fresh air, the green grass, the creeks and valleys, the rolling hills and the well-manicured greens and tee boxes. The sun shining in your face, the wind blowing in your hair are not there to make the game difficult, but simply to refresh you.

Put golf into its proper perspective. That last branch in that little tree that you couldnít hit unless you were trying to miss it isnít out to ruin your game. Those southwesterly winds that came up and plunked your golf ball out of the air and deposited it in the sandtrap are actually refreshing, not distressing. That four-foot putt that was headed straight for the hole, but came up one roll short was to remind you that golf is just a game.

Instead of bemoaning those terrible rounds of golf, those misdirected shots that ended up 20 yards right or left of target, recall the good times, those good shots that brought a deep sense of exhilaration and satisfaction. I, personally, will recall that three hybrid shot that I hit into the wind on a par three of 203 yards that landed just short of the green, bounced onto the putting surface, took the break from right left toward the hole, and ended up six inches from a hole in one.

Donít forget to recall the social interaction that you so enjoy when playing with your golfing buddies. From the trash talk about how well or poorly youíre playing to the post round discussions on why the pace of play is so glacial on certain courses to the drinks you hoisted when one of your buddies had the most memorable of golf shotsóa hole in oneóthese are fond memories.

June marks the halfway point in the year, but itís the month when golf is at its best. Although no one can predict the weather, everyone should be able to enjoy their rounds of golf. There are two very good reasons why you can enjoy golf in the Chicagoland area: the number and variety of courses.

Donít let high gas prices and rising costs stop you from exploring the wide variety and beautiful golf courses that dot the landscape. The area Iím describing extends from Rockford to the Indiana/Michigan border, and from Wisconsin to Peoria. There is no shortage of courses for your golfing pleasure and there are more than a few that will take your breath away.

While not slighting any golf course, I want to highlight two courses that I recently played that have been wonderful and are not in the Chicago area per se: Aldeen in Rockford and Weaver Ridge in Peoria.

Aldeen Gold Club is one of the finest municipal golf courses in the state. I heard about it from my golfing buddies, but it wasnít until a recent Friday that my friend Larry and I made the trek to the course. Before you go, check the Web site and the course for senior specials.

Well, the course is beautiful, the pace of play is fine, the price is right and Aldeen was host to the Illinois State Menís Amateur in the mid-2000s and will do so again in 2014. If there are any weaknesses in your golf game, this course will expose it. And, the 9th and 18th holes are among the toughest on the course. But donít fret, the courses is playable for seniors as long as you play from the correct tees. So, play it forward!

Weaver Ridge has been on my list of courses to play for several years. Itís not inexpensive to play, but then, given the price of Chicagoís top public golf courses, itís not overboard. What takes your breath away is the hills and valleys and that wandering piece of water called Big Hollow Creek. Youíll enjoy the views and most certainly youíll experience a rush when playing a certain downhill par-three.

So, take time now to enjoy the golfing season because golf is in full bloom.

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