I met my first golf ball in 66 outside the Thornhill Gardens Country Club in Toronto and it was love at first bounce; I was mowing lawns in the nearby freeway interchange, the kind of job one gets when the foreign accent is still fresh on the lips.

The name Titleist ignited my inventor’s imagination and the ball felt just woundrous to the touch, and to the eye after I had cut it apart to reveal the rubber bands; I was hooked and with three quarters of my first paycheck rushed, by love possessed, to the pawnbroker on Dundas St. to acquire a
tattered Arnold Palmer club set I had been visiting daily in his window.

The kindly old man took immediately a liking to me and added as a bonus regular reminiscing sessions about the days before his leg surgery when he was a player; his son is in a Jerusalem yeshiva and we share an occasional pizza at my restaurant “Luciano’s” in Me’or Modiim but he does not play Golf. When I can I meet him in Tel Aviv to play pool instead.

And I started taking a different club to work each day, and practice unaided this incredible feat of co-ordination on the club’s driving range instead of eating my lunch, this too thanks to the pawnbroker’s phone calls to his old fairway friends, who got me in disguised as their caddy; I did not know then that my tennis shoes fooled nobody and it really was the intensity of the passion in my eyes that waved me in like a Munkackzer passport past the club’s security.

I never got to play a real game then, left the clubs behind in Canada when I went back to Italy 1n 69.

The second hole of my fairway to Heaven was a set I eagerly purchased while living in Tallahassee in 74, but I was so busy that I never got to use it, except for practicing my swing without even the ball as morning gymnastics; I spent my time with computers and running “The Piscean Connection” a
food co-op which on the side catered to Bluegrass concert audiences when the weather was good.

These clubs too were left behind when I made Aliyah in 77 and I just kept on reading books about Golf and occasionally watching championship games on TV, but it was only in 97 that I succumbed again to the urge of owning a club set; this time it came with almost new shoes which fitted me perfectly
and just trying them on was sheer ecstasy of the nearly religious kind.

A regular visitor to Moshav Modiin is a gifted Dutch Golf Course Architect and we took long walks in the nearby Ben Shemen forest where near Kfar Daniel HaSh-m had created a naturally landscaped 9 hole course which must be seen to be believed; at every one of his family visits to Israel we hashed out the dream of building at least a driving range on the land, which to this day is cultivated for wheat.

Finally, in May 2001 my determination to see this project through reached orbital speed when I met a new friend from the States; here was a kindred searching soul whose body had played the game all his life and we went together to try the clubs on the just harvested Promised Wheat Field, shot some balls together and tried meeting the local authorities, armed with an excellent article the Jerusalem Post had printed about Golf three months before.

Jonaton rented a car and took me to Caesarea, where the only Golf Club in Israel is found, and on whose lush green he had already played eight years before; he paid the fees, gave me his top quality first lesson in the Game and despite my 56 years I was again 19 for three magic hours of unbelievably
peaceful concentration.

We had already started networking through the Web and right away put together a small group of people to start the driving range initiative on its way; the plot is only a mile from the country’s main interchange of the Trans-Israel Highway and two and a half miles from Ben Gurion Airport across which is the Airport City High Tech Enterprise Zone.

The main reason I am writing this letter is to share my conclusion about the Game’s benefits for a Jewish soul: the experience added oodles to my capacity for concentration, the inner peace I had found on the green proved itself with the lighting speed and clear understanding of the Torah lesson
we took in Netania on the way back from the game and I am thoroughly persuaded that it is an ideal complement to the life of a religious Jew.

We are still lining investors for a Shomer Shabbat Golf Club and the local politicians seem well disposed to help; B”H it wont be long before my High Tech neighbours will come to play, learn and pray at the Beit midrash on the premises, to become better Jews together.

If you want to join us, please contact me at , and a joyous blessing to y’all.

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