As a football writer and lifelong fan of the Minnesota Vikings, it is difficult to write a story about playing golf rather than watching football on Sundays. But the truth of the matter is, Sundays in the fall are a great time to play golf in Minnesota — and it’s often better than watching football.
That’s hard to believe when football is such a popular sport, and you have four fantasy football teams to preside over all Sunday afternoon. But let’s be honest, your vigilance in front of the television has absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of those games, and you could shoot you next best round this coming Sunday. Don’t wait until your team’s bye week to play golf—play this Sunday. Here are the top 5 reasons it’s better to golf than watch football on Sundays.
5. Fall Weather
Fall comes once a year in Minnesota, and if you’ve spent any amount of time there in autumn, then you know that there are fantastic days outdoors in the state. The cool, crisp fall air provides the perfect temperature for an active day on the course. The smell of the season fills your nose and invigorates your whole body—perfect for a stroll down a local fairway. And frankly, there are some days in the fall in Minnesota–when the sun is shining, there’s a nip in the air and the light is perfect—that there isn’t a better place to be in the country than one of this state’s great courses. Unless you are dragging the plasma TV out onto the deck, you’ll miss those days watching the football game.
4. Autumn Colors
Minnesota was made for the fall, and a golf course is one of the best places to experience it. The bright green fairways are the perfect accent for the fall color display going on all around you. From the great northern woods courses, and golf in in the central lakes area through the glorious golf of the Twin Cities to the incredible vistas of Minnesota bluff country, the tapestry of reds, golds, oranges, yellows and browns are spectacular. With all due respect to the Vikings, if you go the stadium you’ll just see a lot of purple—which is not a typical color of fall leaves.
3. Course Conditions
The summer sun has retreated a bit, and sheds more beautiful light on golf courses than stifling heat. The result is that in the fall, Minnesota golf courses are in their best shape all season. The grass is not stressed and the superintendents can bring the courses to their optimal conditioning—grass so perfect you’ll be afraid to take a divot. In football, they have to use synthetic turf to simulate these conditions. Go to the golf course and you can actually smell the grass.
It’s a well-known fact that 12-ounce curls in front of your television (while enjoyable) aren’t really that good for your health. When watching football from your living room couch on Sundays, you generally eat and drink a bit more than usual because your favorite team is making you anxious. Hit the golf course to relieve that anxiety and check the scores after the game. A walk on most golf courses is at least a five-mile hike and the physical activity is a great stress reliever. There is nothing worse than watching your team lose and then going to the scale and finding you have gained a few pounds. That will never happen when you walk one of the great Minnesota golf courses on Sunday afternoons.
1. Empty Golf Courses
Some golfers don’t heed this advice—they simply have to see the game because of their favorite team, their fantasy team or they are just obsessed. In fact, there are a lot of golfers who would rather watch football on Sundays than golf, and that’s exactly the reason you should get out there.
The courses are empty on Sunday’s and not just because of church—a lot of golfers are kneeling and praying before their big screen TVs. Now is the time to go out and play that three-and-a-half hour round (about the length of a football game) on the course that you can never seem to get on all summer. That is golf the way it’s meant to be played. Time it right, and you can still get back for the final two minutes of the football game when outcome gets decided anyway.
Once again, this time only comes once a year and it is quickly gone. There is too much to enjoy in the outdoors in the fall in Minnesota to spend it inside throwing a foam rubber purple brick at the TV. But if you simply have to watch the game, then at the very least make sure to hit the links on Sunday afternoons when your favorite team is playing on Sunday, Monday or Thursday night. You will find out what you have been missing.