I’ll be completely honest. I’m not the biggest golf fan.Don’t get me wrong, I recognize it as a game requiring certain skill and patience. I play it on occasion, I try to keep up with the majors. I enjoy golfing with my father when he’s in town.But when it comes to finding ways to spend 4.5 hours of my time, playing golf long had not been near the top of the list.But this week, I think I can firmly say: I’m really excited about golf.And the rest of Lawton should be as well, as the time-honored tradition of the Firecracker Open makes its return to Lawton this week.I covered the Firecracker my first two summers here at the paper. And I probably took it for granted. It would be hot, long days spent out in the sun, and I would go home sweaty and gross. But I still enjoyed watching many of the local guys and college players alike compete.Then, it went away last year. And I saw what its absence meant to a lot of people. And I saw what it meant to Lawton Country Club pro and general manager Johnny Wilson. This event is about more than just golf. It’s a yearly gathering of friends and family. And you don’t need to be a fan of golf to believe in that.Flights B, C and D will play Friday and Saturday, while the A and Championship flights will play Friday through Sunday.But it all starts on Thursday with practice rounds and the annual cookout dinner and fireworks display. The buffet will be held in the ballroom at 6 p.m., free to players and sponsors, with all others paying $24 (tax and tip included) and $11 for kids 12 and under. The fireworks will begin at dark.Wilson said he expects a full field, projecting close to 100 total participants, including 30 players in Championship flight (there were 24 on the final day of the 2019 Open).STAMP OF APPROVAL FROM COACH STOOPSFor those wondering what kind of shape the course is in, the verdicts were pretty positive from those who participated in this week’s Mayors Council scramble. And one of those golfers happened to be former Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops.Although he’s a man who has played his fair share of golf, the coach said he had never played Lawton Country Club before. When I asked what he thought, he eyes lit up and told me it was a really nice course. As someone who has heard plenty of lip service in my short(ish) time on this earth, this seemed pretty genuine. For Coach Stoops to be as complimentary as he was to something Lawtonians can call their own, that’s pretty special.