Posts tagged ‘lessons’

Do You Believe in Golf?

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?

October 17, 2010 at 3:22 am 9 comments


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