Like most affluent country clubs, Cordillera is something of a temple to organized leisure, which may make it sound trivial. But then, in America, organized leisure has grown into a vital industry all its own — and golf is one of that industry's most thriving sectors. According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, there are now some 15,195 golf courses in the country, an increase of 33 percent from 1974. More than 27 million Americans play some half a billion eighteen-hole rounds of golf every year.
The Mountain Course, the first of four golf courses that Cordillera operates, opened for business in 1994. Webster joined the staff that summer as an assistant professional, when the club had only sixty members. This year, there are more than eight hundred whacking tiny balls toward small holes in the thin Colorado air.
"Most of them are just picking up the game," says Webster. "They're typically successful vice presidents and presidents and company owners — self-made people for the most part. But because they've made their own money, few of them have had much time to play. Truthfully, a lot of them struggle with it."
But if their struggle isn't enough to break the sculpted peace of the fairway, then the conflict over college athletics might be. This year, a collection of coaches, athletes, celebrities, and politicians are all taking aim at Title IX, the law that governs sexual discrimination in education, and thus in collegiate athletics.