When thinking of Washington D.C., golf is certainly not the first thing that comes to mind. And it certainly was not a reason factoring into my decision to attend The George Washington University, a school located just three blocks from the White House. City life has its perks: great food, nightlife, and job opportunities just to name a few. But, for an avid golfer, it also poses many challenges.
1. Finding a course. Space is limited, and there simply is not enough useable land in metropolitan areas to house many golf facilities.
2. Transportation. If you are lucky enough to find a course, how do you get there? Taking your clubs on crowded busses and subways is not exactly the easiest or safest activity. Taking a car both ways makes the cost of a round almost too much to even think about. And let’s not forget the awful traffic you are sure to encounter.
3. Playing Partners. Chances are most of the people who go to city schools went there for the city lifestyle. Finding a foursome amongst urban folk is not the easiest thing to do.
With these factors in mind, I had basically given up on the idea of bringing golf--which had been such a huge part of my life in high school--to college. Little did I know that the NCCGA and GW’s club golf team had answers for all of these problems.
After signing up at a student organization fair, I found out that our team had access to an indoor simulator. Every Tuesday and Thursday night the team has practices in the basement of our gymnasium. Naturally, the simulator cannot compare to the actual experience of being on the course, but it offers two key benefits:
1. Winter Practice. We all know how cold this winter has been. But aside from a brief frigid walk down the block, this has had little effect on our team’s practice routine
2. Saves Time. The simulator is a great way to save time. College can be overwhelming, and dedicating four or more hours a week to golf can be a challenge. But, in the simulator, your foursome can play courses such as pebble beach in less than two hours
Still though, never getting on the course seems like torture for a golfer. Luckily, with the benefit of being on a team, we can utilize services such as Zip Car and carpool to the course. And when you get there, you find that golf in the city is quite the experience. Standing on the tee on several holes at East Potomac Golf Course, I use the Washington Monument as a target, much more interesting than a flag or a tree to say the least.
So, working golf into your life at a city school is not as impossible as it might seem. However, the NCCGA takes it to an entirely new level. With their regional tournaments in the Capitol Region, our team can take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and spend a weekend relaxing and playing some of the top courses in the D.C. area. Regardless of where you go to school, the feeling of being off campus for a weekend getaway is always refreshing, and when you add friends and golf to the equation, it makes the experience all the more memorable.
In spite of being in one of the busiest cities in the world, I have still gotten my fair share of golf in over the past few months. Every Tuesday and Thursday night I grab my clubs and take a stroll down the city streets to a simulator in the basement of a basketball court. I imagine that it is a strange sight to see for most people on campus, but I feel right at home.
**Pat Geiger is a members of the George Washington University Club Golf Team. You can reach him @Geiger_Woods