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Why Golf Is Called the Brain Game

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GOLF Executive Editor Dave Donelson at  his hometown course in St. Joseph, MO.

If you’re like me, the mental side of the game is wonderfully engrossing. It helps us turn off the stresses of the outside world while we focus on our strategy, visualize our shots, and control our emotions to complete our round in the fewest possible strokes.

But the mental game is more than just an escape mechanism. It’s actually the key to success in golf, which is why this issue examines the many ways golfers can develop realistic mental strategies to score on the trickiest holes in Westchester and use data to improve their games.

A real demonstration of how much the mental game matters comes when the U.S. Open is held at storied Winged Foot Golf Club. In this issue, we take a look at some of the most mentally demanding holes on the West Course, as well as an overview of the county’s historic impact on the championship, beginning in 1894 — the year before it officially began!

Another part of the brain game is your teammate on the golf course: your caddie. We talked to five of the best in the county to find out how they help the golfers whose bags they carry. In the process, I revived memories of my own preteen introduction to the game, when I looped at Fairview Municipal GC in St. Joseph, MO. As the photo above shows, I had a great time playing the course when I visited my hometown for a high school reunion last fall.

I also added to my collection of golf memories with a fabulous buddy trip to Scotland that’s detailed in these pages. The official occasion was to celebrate my friend Dan Berger’s birthday, which we did in style with Eric Berger (no relation) and Lokesh Reddy. We also celebrated the memory of the late Westchester Magazine publisher Ralph Martinelli, who was prevented from joining us because of a tragic medical accident. I was fortunate to have traveled all over the world playing golf with Ralph, and he would have absolutely loved this trip to the home of golf.

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