Valentine's Day displays, Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow—these are all dependable benchmarks in recognizing another winter is at least entering the back nine. But for golfers, especially those of us holed up in northern climes, there are also subtle indicators that real golf is no longer just a distant fantasy. Among them:
Your pulse quickens upon hearing the first notes of a Masters TV commercial.
You shovel snow with exceeding caution knowing your back can't give out on you now.
The faint light at 5 p.m. casts a mystical spell.
You are abnormally excited by the sight of Ray Romano on your TV.
You start imagining snow-covered landscapes as drivable par 4s.
Whatever caused you to snap your putter in half at the end of the season now feels like a rash decision.
Suddenly those late-night Medicus infomercials make a lot of sense.
You begin laying the groundwork of a necessary medical procedure that happens to coincide with a mid-week member-guest.
You now really regret not sending the first tee starter a Christmas card.
You subconsciously begin blocking out four-and-a-half hour windows in your calendar.
You decide the annoying guy in accounting who happens to belong to a top 100 course is actually just misunderstood.