Sure, Sunday has the excitement of deciding the winner and the three other tournament days proper have their charm.
In fact, you might say there is no such thing as a bad day at a golf tournament when playing the role of observer.
However, for this scribe at least, there is nothing like the practice days to gain a true and deep appreciation for players’ skills, see their personalities on display and learning so much more. And Tuesday at Royal Queensland was one of the best in recent memory.
There was the usual press conferences that go on early in the week to attend and other things to keep a golf writer busy, but there was time to escape the media centre and walk most of the course. In this case, alongside Mike Clayton, Elvis Smylie, Su Oh and Ian Triggs.
For many, that cohort will be enough to understand why today’s walk was a special one. But delve a little deeper and it becomes a pinch me moment for a golf nerd.
RIGHT: Mike Clayton takes a call from a radio station while Elvis Smylie puts in work. PHOTO: Jimmy Emanuel.
Clayton, of course, redesigned the course and shared insight into what, where and why of the layout changes and what it used to be as he caddied for Smylie.
Oh is one of the best Australian players in the game, and was working hard at her craft while willingly engaging in back and forth banter and conversation with the rest of the group.
Smylie was clearly focused on the task at hand, and watching the 19-year-old’s preparation was something to behold. So too his character when relaxed and chatting with his playing partners, caddie, this reporter and coach, Triggs.
Triggs was working too, but took moments to tell stories of his time working for Charlie Earp at this very golf club, including the occasional yarn about one of his fellow former staff members who you may have heard of. Greg Norman is his name, and after leaving RQ, the bloke went on to do pretty well out of the game of golf.
All four added their own element to a special walk, but the enjoyment was more the sum of all the stroll’s parts. And is another reminder of why golf has been poorer over the past two years with a lack of major tournament golf played due to COVID.
The mix of men and women adds to this of course, how often do you get the chance to witness players like Oh and Smylie alongside each other working out the best way to play each hole from their own tee and with their own particular skill set.
"All four added their own element to a special walk, but the enjoyment was more the sum of all the stroll’s parts. And is another reminder of why golf has been poorer over the past two years with a lack of major tournament golf played due to COVID." - Jimmy Emanuel.
The fountain of golf knowledge that is Clayton of course is always worth walking a golf course with and listening more than talking, even when he casually takes a call from a radio station to speak on his late mate Bob Shearer, all the while carrying the bag and stepping out yardages.
But like a pro’s golf game, there needs to be more than one good to great element to create something special on a practice day.
Practice makes perfect the saying goes, and while there is no such thing as perfect in golf, a practice round in person is pretty close to it.