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KIRBY: In defense of golf - The Sun Chronicle Online - Sports


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34 South Main St., Attleboro, MA - Directions - (508) 222-7000

BY MIKE KIRBY SUN CHRONICLE STAFF

Sunday, April 29, 2012 2:08 AM EDT

Top Headlines

Golf is too often made a punching bag by politicians.

If there's a scandal involving misuse of taxpayer funds for luxury outings, there's always a mention of "rounds of golf at a swank course."

President Barack Obama's critics have pounced on him for "spending more time working on his golf handicap than the economy." (Reports are that his swing is actually in worse shape than the economy - a scary thought.)

I'm not here to criticize politicians, but rather to defend golf.

Golf is not an elitist sport. The vast majority of golf is not played on Bushwood Country Clubs, like in "Caddyshack." It is one of the few sports that can be enjoyed throughout a lifetime, one that teaches life lessons in many things, including sportsmanship, discipline, honesty and self-control. And it generates a lot of money for the American economy. Here are a few facts: - Seventy percent of the golf rounds played in the United States take place at courses open to the public.

- Only 10 percent of the nation's 26 millions golfers belong to a private club.

- The average price to play 18 holes on a weekend, and ride a cart, is $40. Considering that most weekend rounds take at least five hours, that's $8 an hour.

- Golf is a $43 billion industry. Throw in another $23 billion when you take into account golf real estate and tourism.

- Golf employs nearly two million Americans.

- Golf generates more than $3 billion in charitable contributions. And that's not even getting into what golf does to preserve the environment.

So, please, criticize the president and any politician. But please don't drag golf through the mud.

Save the date

Here's a reminder that the sixth annual Attleboro Youth Golf Day on Saturday, May 5 (rain date is May 6).

Attleboro youngsters ages 6-18 are invited to participate. The owners of Locust Valley Golf Course have donated the course for the free event. Signup is at ,8:15 a.m., followed up by a golf clinic sponsored by the Attleboro Area Golf Association and headed up by Highland Country Club pro Drew Chapman from 8:30-9:15 a.m. Participants can then play a round of golf, followed by a cookout and a raffle.

To register, visit http://cityofattleboro.us/rec . The registration form is available under the Youth Golf Outing tab.

For more information, contact Recreation Director Dennis Walsh at 774-203-1889.

Look who's buying

Thursday was a good day for Gregory Donahue.

Playing with Stone-E-Lea Golf Course in Attleboro with his brother Kevin, the 55-year-old Mansfield man pulled a three-wood from his bag on the tee of the par-3, uphill, 185-yard fourth hole. His shot flew straight to the hole for his first hole-in-one.

Got a hole-in-one or other golf accomplishment to report? Contact me at the phone number or email address below.

And play well.

MIKE KIRBY covers golf for The Sun Chronicle. He can be reached at 508-236-0344 or at mkirby@thesunchronicle.com .

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