Now That You’ve Got It…



What are you going to do with it? Spring 2014 is no longer news, but it is still arriving in its own gentle way… the trees are still leafing out, the grass is begging for its first mowing – or its second on the best groomed lawns – and the last frost is only a week or two behind us, we hope.

After all, Mark Twain once observed, “In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” Spring brings a lot of those changes we’ve all been waiting for.

We’ve been preparing for it, too. We sprang our clocks forward on Sunday, March 9 to give ourselves more daylight. Mother Nature helped with her April showers, and I know a few folks who drained the gas from their snow blowers, lubed up their grass mowers and dusted off their golf clubs.

Did you notice the difference between the first day of spring and the first spring day this year? For me, it was the day I stepped outside and felt the breezes that made my tulips nod good morning to me. Robin Williams said it better, though. “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’”

This week, the Jamestown Gazette invites you out for a top down ride in Bill Burk’s old convertible to enjoy the spring sunshine as we take a drive out to the golf courses of Chautauqua and the nearby Counties. The tees are ready, the fairways are inviting, and even the sand traps are waiting like old friends asking you to visit a while before you head for that flag.

Golf is a special game, unlike any other. Even if you are bad at it, duffers and pros alike will tell you, there’s no finer use for a spring day. If you aren’t one of those pros and you still want your card to look better at the 19th hole, take Arnold Palmer’s advice. “I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone’s golf game,” he says, “it’s called an eraser.”

If you’ve never played golf, some people say it has something for everyone. For the scientist, it’s the study of a previously unknown natural force: golf balls are attracted to water. For the politician, if offers a new insight on Teddy Roosevelt’s often quoted advice: “Speak softly but carry a big stick.” And to the newly sober, Dean Martin says, “If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt.”

And for the law abiding, it is good to know that golf is the only sport without a drug problem; it’s the only one where players aren’t penalized for being on grass. (Blame Bob Hope for that one.)

Chautauqua County is also home to a summer-long lineup of charity golf tournaments nearly every weekend that weather permits. Local golfers enjoy a tradition of great opportunities to spend a few days with friends while supporting the community’s best causes. An example is the Italian-American Golf Tournament, now in its 44th year, which has raised almost $1.2 million to support Jamestown’s WCA Hospital.

So, whatever you decide to do with spring, now that you’ve got it, enjoy it, and as always, now that you have your Gazette, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
The Jamestown Gazette

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.