Bowling Green course welcomes new golfers

Attempting to perfect his form, Shelbyville senior Casey Warner waits until it feels just right to tee off while learning to golf at Hobson Golf Course.

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Doing his best Tiger Woods’ crouch, Shelbyville senior Casey Warner eyed the 40-foot putt on the second hole at Hobson Golf Course. He rose, took a couple of practice swings and whacked the ball with his putter. It rolled across the smooth green before smacking the flagpole and sinking in the hole. Warner dropped his rented putter and leapt in circles around the fairway yelling, “Let’s go!” over and over. He counted this as a win for his first time golfing.

Bowling Green is home to three public courses — Hobson, Paul Walker, and CrossWinds. Hobson was a center of activity on an overcast Tuesday afternoon, reflecting nationwide increases in golf play, according to data from the National Golf Foundation.

The superintendent of the course,  Jeremy Purichia, said that the number of golfers since the pandemic began has nearly doubled. While this means more work for him, Purichia said he doesn’t mind because he gets to spend the time outdoors.

“I think this pandemic has proven that being outside is a good thing,” Purichia said with a smile. “Personally, I am just thankful I get to be outside working all day and not locked up in an office with a mask on.”

Purichia noted that he has seen several more junior golfers on the course this season, such as Warner.

After a quick three-minute lesson from a golf professional on club grip and foot placement, Warner started his day with several mulligans — a golf term for a redo — but he slowly moved the ball forward. Despite potential frustrations, he managed to stay composed.

“I think my mental approach to golf is just going to be having a good time, enjoying the outdoors, and learning a new game, because there’s not many games at this point in my life that I haven’t played,” Warner said.

This attitude stems from Warner’s experience over the summer, which he spent living alone in Bowling Green.  He described having mental difficulties, especially after a falling out with a couple of close friends.

After he grew tired of being by himself in his house, Warner chose to bike to clear his head and said the exercise gave him physical and emotional strength. Similarly, Warner said playing golf is about overcoming adversity.

“Going into golfing today, my expectations were very low,” he said. “I thought it was going to be very embarrassing, and I thought I was going to end up quitting.”

Instead, Warner just enjoyed the moment. In golf, no matter how bad someone plays, it just takes one good shot to bring them back. During his first time playing, Warner was able to sink a long putt and hit an impressive 200-yard drive. He’ll be back at Hobson soon to refine his swing at their new driving range.