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Get excited, golfers, spring is officially here

PGA.com

Aside from the first day of the Masters (just 20 days away now for those counting), today is a very special day for golfers across the country -- especially golfers like me, who have endured yet another long, cold, icy, snowy, New England winter.

Why? Because today, March 20, is officially the first day of spring. While there's still a little snow on the ground in my neck of the woods, there are all kinds of signs that we're just about out of the woods with this brutal winter.

The temperatures are rising. Just last weekend, I visited the nearest outdoor range for the first time since November. There was a good 30-minute wait for a hitting bay.

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Sure, if you love golf, you can still work on your game during the winter months -- golf-specific exercises, indoor practice with putting, or chipping and hitting full shots into a net. I've done all that, but it's not the same as getting outside, breathing in the fresh air and watching the ball travel more than a few feet.

There's nothing better than golf season. The time spent with friends and loved ones on the course is priceless. There are laughs. There are great shots pulled off that we didn't think were possible to pull off. There are bets won and lost involving crazy circumstances that provide great, lifelong stories for the 19th hole and banter for the friend who came out on the short end of the stick.

For many of us, there have been months of watching golf on TV in locales such as Hawaii, California, Arizona and Florida after coming in from shoveling yet more snow. But with the season changing, we finally get to embark on a new season of golf of our own at home, instead of dreaming about those other destinations.

Many of you will set goals and that's terrific. It doesn't matter the goal either: break 100, break 90, break 80, cut down on your number of putts per round, hit more fairways, heck, play more golf -- they're yours to chase down and it makes the new season all the more exciting.

Get out there and play. Play often. Work toward something. But, most of all, have fun.

Winter, you were pretty while you were here, but we're happy to see you go away for the next several months.

Here's to wishing you all a happy spring and a fantastic new season ahead.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

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