Silver Spring, Maryland—There are 34,011 golf courses in the world, according to a report released in 2015 by the National Golf Foundation.
Upon visiting Glenn Greenwood's apartment home, it is fair to ask if he has seen them all.
With his wife Amy, Mr. Greenwood lives at Riderwood retirement community in Silver Spring. In their den is a closet filled, floor-to-ceiling, with shoeboxes, each containing golf scorecards.
Thousands of them. Some duplicates. Sorted alphabetically. Separated by domestic and international categories.
Many record the personal rounds from a lifetime of golf trips. Still others have come his way via a worldwide network he now enjoys.
Either way, the collection is a tangible expression of his lifelong love affair with golf.
Mr. Greenwood learned the game from his mother Ruth growing up in the city of Chicago. "She was a gifted player who not only taught me the fundamentals but also the etiquette of the sport," said Mr. Greenwood. "I'm forever grateful because she gave me a gift that has lasted all my life."
Though he starred in tennis at Senn High School in Chicago, golf was his game moving forward.
He played while attending the University of Michigan for undergrad and Northwestern University for law school. Sometimes with friends, he would drive a hundred miles to find the right course. One time, he even walked 73 holes (four rounds plus one hole) in one day to say he did it, shooting 84, 87, 82 and 80.
As an accomplished practicing attorney, he had the opportunity to travel, something he loved doing dating back to his semester abroad at the University of Vienna in Austria. Naturally, he brought his clubs on those road trips.
Then he met his future wife, Amy.
"Glenn's Mom gave me great advice," said Mrs. Greenwood, a retired art teacher and administrator. "She wanted me to learn to play so I could share a hobby with Glenn. So she bought clubs for me. I took lessons and hit many buckets of balls during that summer. Thankfully by the time school started in September, the swing clicked."
So did their shared passion for the game. The Greenwoods, now married for 55 years with two children, traveled throughout the world to traditional golf destinations like Ireland and Scotland as well as exotic locales such as New Zealand and Rio de Janeiro.
"We've had so many fun times and great memories," recalled Mr. Greenwood. "She still loved me even after I unknowingly rolled her out of a golf cart while driving away from a tee box one time."
Mr. Greenwood lists Cypress Point Club in the Monterey Peninsula of California as his favorite course, though rounds at Pebble Beach, the Old Course at St. Andrews and Ballybunion Golf Club in Ireland rank near the top of his list.
Now enjoying retirement, the Greenwoods play nine holes at courses near Riderwood such as the University of Maryland Golf Course in College Park and Needwood Golf Course in Derwood.
But the scorecard collection is a source of pride
"I started to collect them in high school. The more I traveled, the more I became interested in bringing a scorecard home," he said. "I estimate that I have more than 25,000 cards. Some of them are blank, and others are filled in with scores from total strangers. It doesn't matter. Each one tells a story."
Decades ago, Mr. Greenwood could never imagine that he would make new friends with this hobby as a result of technology.
"On our computer, Amy and I would research missing information from a scorecard like an address. We noticed that other people were doing the same thing and eventually found forums created for enthusiasts to share stories and trade scorecards," noted Mr. Greenwood.
A few even surprisingly sported autographs from a legend (Sam Snead) and accomplished PGA Tour pro (Edward "Porky" Oliver).
"Those are found treasures," described Mr. Greenwood.
With each trade, Mr. Greenwood writes a note, a practice that has created cherished pen pals. He even met a fellow collector from North Carolina.
Ironically, what makes a memorable playing experience can also make a prized scorecard.
"There is nothing like being on a beautiful course to take in nature's scenery. Those are breathtaking moments," said Mr. Greenwood. "But a shiny scorecard that features a photograph of a stunning signature hole can trigger your imagination. That's priceless, too."
About Riderwood: Riderwood is one of eighteen continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living. Located in Silver Spring, Maryland, the scenic 120-acre campus is home to more than 2,500 residents. Riderwood is the ideal greater Washington, D.C. retirement destination offering a true sense of community, convenience beyond compare and a sensible financial structure.