Do You Believe in Golf?

October 17, 2010 at 3:22 am 9 comments

Yesterday I had my “Golf Final.” I passed. Let’s call it a C+ on nine holes, par 3. We didn’t keep score, my short-term memory is shakey at best, and I’ve read but not memorized the penalty stroke rules, so I honestly can’t tell you my score. But I got a couple of drives to the green and had a couple of very long putts that (nearly) went in. I also had a couple of terrible drives and on two, maybe three, occasions, had to pick my ball up and walk on due to the three drive/three putt limit.

I avoided the trees. I stayed out of the water. I didn’t hit the ducks on 2 or the cars near 9. More important, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. So, let’s add golf to the very short list of sporty activities that I can suck at but still have fun playing. (The others are darts and pool.) Most important, I took a step toward overcoming what I think has to be my biggest handicap:  I don’t actually believe that golf is possible.

I find it incomprehensible that a person can hit a small ball a hundred yards or more and have it end up in that tiny little hole in the ground. And that’s not just a euphemism for the difficulty of the game. I mean I have never believed with my brain that it can happen.

I know that 2 plus 2 is 4. I know if I set a volleyball, a hitter will be able to take a good swing. I know if I take my vitamins, I won’t get sick. I know that, if I mix flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, egg, vanilla, and chocolate chips, some darn good cookies will come out of the oven.

But. That tiny ball that sits much too close to my feet as I fight the urge to back away. That far-away hole (which some talk about aiming for). That club that transmogrifies into a softball bat as soon as it leaves my line of sight on the backswing.

I just don’t believe it can be done.

For many years, that disbelief kept me from playing the game. Me not having a set of clubs didn’t help either.

Friends played a lot and I always felt left out, But I also had no desire to go out and make a total fool of myself and/or mess up their good time. So I did not play golf.

Then something changed. A very dear friend passed away, and a special group of friends began an annual golf outing to honor his memory. How could I care if I made a fool of myself for that?

So I blatantly warned some friends about my lack-of-skill level and put a team in. (And a very special thank-you to life preservers Steve and Nancy who put friendship above winning, not just that first year but each year since, i.e., even after seeing me play. I hope you know how much it means to me. Your kindness and humor and sincere tolerance—well, that’s exactly what that day is all about, isn’t it?)

At these outings, I discovered something. I actually enjoy this odd sport. So, this fall I signed up for lessons via CCAC, the local community college, and ended up at Denise’s Golf Academy. (If you’re looking for a great instructor, I recommend this place.)

Yesterday, the class ended with nine holes of par 3. It was a gorgeous day to be out and about. And on one or two occasions, I got that ball where it needed to go without feeling totally awkward or completely lucky.

I was feeling pretty good afterwards—excited by the lessons learned, uplifted by the gorgeous fall weather—and just not ready to be done. Instead of going home, I stopped at a driving range. Got a bucket.

And, let me tell you, the golfer on the next tee was so impressed with how I was hitting them that he exclaimed more than one loud and boisterous “Wow!”

He was five years old.

Got any golf tips for me?

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary, Life Preservers. Tags: , , , .

Happy Columbus Day Happy Halloween, Kids

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Meg A  |  October 17, 2010 at 3:35 am

    For awhile, every year I focused on improving just one thing – for example, aim or putting or chipping or in the beginning, being able to follow my ball so I could hit the 2nd shot…it seemed to help in terms of making success on that one thing I was focusing on equaling a good round. I just played last week in a work sponsored effort and a good golfer asked how I did, “great” was my response. He laughed and said that no one ever says that…but I told him when you stink, playing great is not that hard!

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    • 2. boatdrinkbaby  |  October 17, 2010 at 3:39 am

      That’s funny about playing great. And thanks for the one thing at a time tip. Sounds like good advice. If I work on one thing a year, I night be a decent player by the time I’m 100 :)

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  • 3. Stephen Graham  |  October 17, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Enough with the sentimental stuff – we are going for the WIN this year!!!!

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    • 4. boatdrinkbaby  |  October 17, 2010 at 7:09 am

      And that is also in keeping with the spirit of the Dman. You are too funny. ;)

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  • 5. Ken Jordan  |  October 18, 2010 at 12:50 am

    I believe in golf. No less than two people credit me with teaching them the game. Both of them can beat me and I am very proud of both of them. The first is my younger brother Mike. I took him along when he was in his early teens. He is now teaching the game to his son.
    The other is my daughter Kate. I gave up golfing when she was born so I could spend more time with her. I took it up again when she was 12 for the same reason. Six years passed, eight tournaments, four varsity seasons, two Section championships. Now she’s considering playing in college. Yes I believe in golf.

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  • 7. ruth  |  October 18, 2010 at 4:43 am

    I believe in golf…I think it was a requirement to be part of my family. My dad loved the rug in our house because he could use it to practice putting (no fancy deep piles, not funky woven patterns–just nice tight loops that mimicked a dry green so that he could master his short game). He also loved the fact that both my sister and I wanted to learn how to play.
    I played my first round when I was 11–the manager at Oakmont East knew our family well-enough that he overlooked mine and my sister’s inexperience.
    Teenage years flew by, and our father died, but my sister and I finally got back to golf by taking a class at CCAC—taught by the incredible Denise Boeh (of Denise’s Golf Academy)….she can translate her love of the game into skills that you can use….and help recapture memories of a dad who loved golf, too.

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    • 8. boatdrinkbaby  |  October 18, 2010 at 5:40 am

      Ruth! What a small world. (I thought Denise was awesome as well.) If you are able to tolerate a beginner, we will have to go sometime!

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  • 9. ruth  |  October 18, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Absolutely! If I had known you were picking up the clubs, I would have invited you to the Pink Steel celebratory scramble last Monday. I am Quite rusty myself (Monday was the first I had played in about 2 years—finally got my swing back by about the 14th hole!

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