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The Afterlife of a Golf Ball

Found on the Butterbrook driving range

All Dogs go to heaven.

But where do the golf balls go?

Every golf ball has, or will have, it’s final flight. That one last strike, be it pure, thin, fat, or somewhere in between is part of a ball’s existence.

Some golf balls spend their eternity clanging around in a drawer or a compartment in the trunk of a car. Others sit on a wall plaque commemorating a hole-in-one or a favorite round. Others rest deep in the woods, after rattling through the trees. It hears the occasional group crunching through the forest but can’t call out for help. It watches time go by, leaves turning and growing, rain falling, sun blazing. The cycles of the year slowly helping the ground swallow the ball up until it’s completely buried, never to be found by another golfer again.

Other golf balls rest at the bottom of the ocean or a pond or lake. It zoomed off the open face of a driver or the hosel of a wedge, plopping with certainty into the middle of a watery abyss. Other golfballs might have clung on for dear life, cursing the superintendent for the low setting on the lawn mower as he slowly rolled into the water, disappearing in the silty mud.

Sadly, others sit in plain sight, forgotten by a far-sighted golfer on a fall evening only to be discovered by the blades of the lawnmower, left behind to trick some hopeful golfer in the future (“I think I found it! Never mind, it’s just half a ball.”).

If there is a golf ball heaven, what does it look like? Is it like a sun-kissed Augusta with it’s the wondrous plush grass tickling every dimple?

Or Is it a putt-putt spot off the side of the road. A simple, colorful life rolling around on astroturf on awkward first dates finishing each round zipping through a pipe and back into the clubhouse for the next round?

If there is a heaven then there must, by law, be a hell. What might that be like? Is that the life of a range ball? The endless cycle of getting hit, picked up by some machine, and hit again. Is it any ball that meets Bryson DeChambeau?

Is golf ball hell sitting on a pro shop shelf crammed between two other balls in the sleeve knowing that you’re never going to make it out?

Could golf balls be reincarnated? The ones that behave, even if they end up deep in the woods, come back as another golf ball in the future. Is a Titleist the equivalent of reaching enlightenment or nirvana?

As the winter descends on the golf courses in the northern states, think about those golf balls out in the wilderness, their last flight behind them. Keep your eyes peeled and ask yourself if you can save a golf ball and give it a warm home for the winter, only to put a rusty swing on it in March and start the cycle again.

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