Golf is a funny sport.
You put on your collared shirt and your orange pants and try your damndest to hit a little ball into a hole. You put up with snotty golf shops, angry golfers (have you ever seen a golfer who looked happy?) and goofballs ahead of you who feel the need to take 10 practice swings before every shot.
At one moment you're playing well and at the top of the world, and the next moment you've quadruple bogeyed the hole, lost half your balls in the woods and feel absolutely disgusted with everyone in sight.
And the clincher is that you willingly shell out an exorbitant amount of money to go through these shenanigans.
But when Mark Twain said, "Golf is a good walk spoiled," he forgot to mention one thing. Golf is addictive. Its like a narcotic or a bad gambling habit.
Only until you've felt the crack of a ball hitting the sweet spot of your Big Bertha or the rush of sinking your first par putt can you know just how powerful and alluring this sport is. There is nothing like smashing a ball to kingdom come to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
Sure, golf is a good walk spoiled. I've played golf in some of the most beautiful places in the world and been completely oblivious to my surroundings because I was having a bad round.
And yes, golf is human nature at its worst. Last year a guy almost beat a hapless Canadian goose to death on a golf course because he flubbed one of his shots.
But there is something about the game that has people literally flocking to golf courses around the world.
Almost every golfer thinks each time he goes out that this is going to be the day when he fixes that wicked slice on his drive or stops three-putting every hole and will shoot the round of his life. It usually doesn't happen, but it's part of the fun of the sport.
And when you do chip in from twenty yards out for birdie-whether through luck, skill or prayer-you have done something that even the most skilled PGA Pro cannot consistently equal.
In short, golf is simply great entertainment. It's a perfect way to get some exercise outdoors and break out of the doldrums of academic life. Fortunately, there is a nine-hole golf course nearby at Fresh Pond that is open to the public for a reasonable price (for golf).
On the weekdays, the cost is $15 to play nine holes and $22 to play 18 holes. Throw in $12 and you can even rent a bag of clubs for the day.
There are no tee times on the weekdays which means that it is first come, first served. It is advisable to call ahead of time because there is a women's league that plays on Thursday mornings and high school matches that sometimes take place in the afternoon.
The weekend rates are a few dollars higher and you must call ahead for tee times. The golf shop number is 349-6282.
The course itself is not overly challenging but offers plenty of opportunities to foul up your score. There are three par 3s, four par 4s and two par 5s.
Getting to the course is extremely easy from Harvard Square. Just take bus # 74 from Harvard Station (65 cents for a one way ride) and get off at the Huron Towers stop (the bus continues to Belmont Center). The golf course is right on Huron Ave and borders the Fresh Pond reservoir.
Here is the schedule for bus #74:
Outbound from Harvard Square: 7:11, 8:07, 9:05, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., and 1, 2:20, 3:20, 4:15 and 6:05 p.m.
Incoming from Belmont Center: 12:25, 1:55, 2:50, 3:50, 4:40, 5:40 and 6:30 p.m.
And one word of advice if you decide to play: remember that golf is just a game and you're out there to enjoy yourself. It will save you an ulcer by the time you are 30.