Secret of the game

— I love the game of golf, but golf doesn’t love me. For years I’ve tried to master the basics of the game putting, chipping and driving.

I was a good golfer through high school and college, but I never broke through to that upper level that most players seek to reach and then maintain.

These days my clubs sit in the corner of my garage (to the dismay of my father, who always wanted me to be a golfer) collecting dust instead of pars, birdies and eagles. In fact, most of my clubs would now qualify as antiques by today’s standards believe it or not, my driver is made of wood, and the only other thing made out of wood in my bag is the pencil that is stuffed into one of the side pockets.

I have long since stopped searching for the secret of the game that little bit of knowledge that separates the really good golfers from the hackers like me.

Don’t get me wrong.

I still like to play 18 holes once every five or six years, but I don’t miss the frustration of trying to figure out why my drives soared 100 yards down the fairway before taking a sharp right turn past the tall snake-infested grass and into that big lake I was trying to avoid in the first place.

But last week I had a flashback to the days when I thought golf was the greatest game on earth. I wasn’t playing, but watching, 84 of the state’s best young players (all of which have discovered the secret of the game) battle for a state title at the Boomerang Golf Links in Greeley.

Watching them almost inspired me to go home, dust off my clubs and head over to the golf course. Luckily for me, it snowed before I got the chance.

It’s too bad, because following the final round of golf Tuesday, Steamboat Springs senior Cody Sherrill let me in on the secret.

For him, the key to playing a good round of golf is eating a peanut butter sandwich on the No. 15 hole.

“It helps me finish strong,” Sherrill said. “My dad told me to always eat a sandwich after the turn and it would give me energy to finish strong.”

Sherrill did finish strong last week. He didn’t win a title, but his rounds of 77 and 76 on a very challenging golf course helped the Steamboat Springs High School team secure second place overall. Not too bad for a guy who is just heading to college. He listens to his father and plays a pretty mean game of golf.

But before all you wannabe Tiger Woodses go out and buy a truckload of Skippy, I want to let you in on another little secret.

Sherrill’s ability to play the game of golf doesn’t have anything to do with downing peanut butter and bread.

The real secret to golf is discovering a love for the game and finding the time it takes to pursue it. Those traits could be seen in almost every one of the young golfers who took to the course last week especially those four guys from Steamboat Springs who have worked to make their program one of the best in the state. Congratulations to Jeff Franks, Kenton Gamache, Ryan Brees and Sherrill. You guys make us all want to play like champions.

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