Although this blog is typically written to help you find things to do along the UP-West Metra line from Chicago through the western suburbs, when something as rare as the Ryder Cup comes to town, I have to leave the tracks. The Ryder Cup is an event that is bi-annual and rotated between a European golf course and an American golf course.
I live in the golf world. Not as a golfer. Not as a spectator. I am deeply entrenched in the golf world as the wife of a golf pro. Not a tour pro. A worker bee. A PGA, Lesson Teaching, Shirt Selling, Club Fitting, Club Repairing, Outing Running, Line Painting, Mens' League, Ladies' League, Senior League, Junior Golf Organizing, Wrinkle Smoothing, Country Club Golf Pro.
For the last 20 years, I have lived all things golf. By default...Golf.is.my.life.
Fortunately, I like the aspects of golf. The nature, the quiet, the colors, the beauty, the civilized competition. All of these aspects are wrapped neatly in one package this week at the Ryder Cup.
In a golfer's mind, a true "beauty" is hosting the Ryder Cup this week.
Medinah. Medinah is a one word club. No need to put Country Club after. Kind of like Madonna, Beyonce, or Prince. One word is enough.
In a PGA golf pro's mind, when walking the grounds at Medinah, they aren't thinking about the shots, they aren't thinking about how to get pole position at the rope. They are thinking about logistics, how they would do this if they were in charge. That means attention to detail. Where else do they actually carpet the sidewalks?
And when I say "attention to detail" I mean attention to detail. Who else do you know that thinks to carpet around a tree? PGA golf pros, that's who.
You know who notices that? My husband. He said to me, "Will you look at that tree? " That tree is not sitting on the carpet. It is going through that deck into the ground. That tree has never been fancier.
For those of you who love a good golf shop. This is the mother of all golf shops.
You can't miss it. It is the biggest tent holding all of the best most current fabrics, logos, and "detail". My golf son is working for Ralph Lauren this week, helping you to find your favorite, most perfect logo wear.
People love anything with the Medinah logo, or the PGA embroidery, or the Ryder Cup emblazoned on the sleeve, bill, chest, marker, ball or bag. Be patient, people, the lines are long, but they keep you moving. Attention to detail.
This looks like it could be the world's largest scoreboard. I'll bet those golf pro's have THE BEST handwriting in the business.
These screens help you to know what hole your favorite tour players are on. The Ryder Cup is match play so it is not typical in that they probably won't play all 18 holes. You can check the screen to find a good spot to watch.
On the weekdays, prior to the actual event, members of the two teams play practice rounds, hit range balls, practice putting, and the atmosphere is a little more relaxed and lighthearted. It is not as crowded and the pros seem more accessible than during their weekend do-or-die rounds.
This is the tee box on 17. The little ants wearing red pants are the golfers hitting to the small green over the water. Notice the spectators taking their life into their own hands by sitting under where the ball will fly. Pretty trusting group, eh? No need to worry. If the pros wanted to hit them, they could. I still wouldn't sit there though.
And another thing...see this golf cart?
When your club pro tells you to be careful driving the cart on the hills, they are not kidding, they are not just being bossy. This golf cart went from here...
...to here...by sliding down the hill sideways. People (namely, Steve Stricker) were jumping out, clubs were falling off, the gallery was gasping. Listen to your golf pro, people. Golf carts are dangerous. Hills don't mess around. You think they are kidding, don't you. They're not.
This is the 17th green. The players hit over the water, land it pretty confidently near the hole, and look really spiffy, if you don't mind me saying, in their red pants. Not an easy task on all counts.
Since this is a practice round, they can throw a few balls in the sand traps to practice getting up and out, they can get a feel of the sand and they can humor us, the spectators, at how easy they make sand shots look.
A practice was being executed for the opening ceremony; the t's were getting crossed, and the i's were getting dotted. Attention to detail. The PGA sure knows how to put on a show. And Mother Nature did her part, too. (Put your house up for sale this week. With weather like this, everyone will want to move here. We won't tell them about the other 51 weeks of the year in the Midwest.)
But let's not forget the reason we are actually here. We are here to BEAT THE EUROPEANS!
But civilized competition is truly the name of the game in golf. These Scottish guys couldn't have been friendlier or happier to be here, couldn't have hugged me tighter (I thought they were going to lift me off my feet!), or had been dressed better for a good round of watching gorgeous golf in spectacular weather. For me, the practice rounds are the ticket. I prefer to watch the real deal on TV with my feet up, on my couch, with my snacks, and listening to a quiet professional commentary. (No one yells, "Get in the hole!" in my living room.)
Go USA!! And go thank your club pro for their attention to detail.