Saturday, March 17, 2012

The sharing of the green

Spending winter skiing at Albany Muni Capital Hills has been one of my favorite outdoor activities for many years.  The quiet beauty of the Normanskill, the cardinals and bluebirds, the sense of isolation in the midst of a residential neighborhood in a small is a special place.

This winter, there wasn't a single day's worth of skiing there, for me.  The right conditions never arrived this year to entice me out to ski those hills and paths, yet,  I probably spent more time on those greens than ever before.  Running.

The coincidental timing of lack of snow and my excess of interest in running was perfect. The consolation was an easy one to swallow during the most mild winter I can recall and, as the almost anticlimactic seasons shift, I am struggling with giving the course exclusively back to the golfers.  With the date of the course opening moved ahead to today, St. Patrick's Day, I'm wondering if there isn't a way runners and golfers could share this wonderful jewel.

From what I understand (total hearsay), runners are not permitted on the course during posted hours.  The rationale I've heard involves the perils of golf balls and the distraction of Lycra clad joggers.  I understand how these may be dangerous to both those with the clubs and those with the Nikes, but are the risks to a runner greater than the dangers of riding in one of those golf carts?  Wouldn't the odds of a rider being hit by an errant golf ball be similar to those of a runner?  Has this been studied?  Damn it, is there empirical evidence?!?

I don't play golf but imagine there is a certain focus required to be an exceptional golfer. Seems to me that professional golfers hit the ball with thousands of people surrounding them.  The only behavior of the crowd that I've seen (on television when absolutely nothing else was on or I couldn't find the remote) corrected was their volume.  I mean, I've seen some shushing.  When I run, I don't really talk, so that wouldn't be a concern at all.  Promise.

With some creativity, mutual respect and a wee bit of luck I am certain golfers and runners could share the green.  No malarkey.

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