The last few years I have been lucky enough to be able to go out and walk the historic hallowed grounds of the Firestone South Golf Course during the event. Of course the PGA is in town, and that's great. But to be honest, I go there to see the real star of the week. Firestone! Seeing some of the 80 greatest golfers in in the world is just a bonus.
Firestone south is an amazing place. Virtually every player there raves about this gem. Commentators on TV go on and on about how fabulous Firestone is. It isn't near often enough that it's unanimous you have one of the greatest of anything right in your town. But we do. Firestone in its design, and sheer grace is among the greatest places in this country to play golf...period.
Firestone South is a living, breathing thing. It has to be. There is so much life out there, so much color, so much beauty, it can be easily forgotten in a simple stroll that it is a golf course. Greens of all shades, water that is bluer than blue, fantastic flowers, unspeakably beautiful trees that have seen the decades pass by with elegance and strength. All mended and tended with the greatest of care by craftsmen seemingly working on a masterpiece painting suitable for a museum, rather than for drivers and five-irons.
As I walk the fairways and watch, I can't help but think of the years in the making. I envision the players of the 7 previous decades playing and walking on the same grass I am. I see both pro and amateurs, the members, the original members who could play for 5 dollars. I imagine the fun had, the cigars smoked, the money won and lost between friends, and the hands shaken at rounds end. I hear the laughter, the cheers, and see the smokey memories of those special weeks when the greatest players from the PGA came to town to play. I see the thousands of trees that line each fairway and protect each green. I try to imagine them much smaller.....I can't. They've been there since the beginning, and like the memories, grow stronger, taller, and become more inspiring. Just like the course itself.
Firestone South also has a soul. It accurately reflects the people of its area. It's big, and strong. It rewards, and respects hard work and likes good play. Hit in the fairway, and you'll be rewarded with a fair chance at par. If you challenge it, take risks or try to take advantage of it. You are penalized...but not out of malice. But out of design. You see, it has stood the test of time and it has been here longer than you or I.
Firestone South is wise. As strong and as powerful as it is, it knows the game. It knows that if you are really there for the right reasons, it will not only reward your smart and accurate play. But it will supply you with the most fantastic of canvasses for you to paint on, in your minds eye for the few short hours you're there, that will without question go by too fast and end too soon. But you will remember forever.
Even if you've never touched a golf club in your life, still be glad that we have one of the greatest, most beautiful and most respected places in the country to play the most gentlemanly of games. For through the decades its light continues to shine brighter and longer and its heart beats quicker and stronger.
Firestone South is a living, breathing thing.