I am a new golfer. Not technically. I had a few lessons and played in a couple of father-daughter tournaments in my 20s. The last few years I fantasized about weekends free of youth sports that would allow me the time to pursue golf. It seemed like something that wouldn’t happen for many years into the future. But this spring, with the clear weekend schedules brought on by the cancellation of everything-that-matters and in May when Governor Baker gave in to pressure to open up golf courses before I could even get a haircut, I decided this was the year. In April, I thought golf on the front lawn would be enough. I bought practice balls (thank you, Amazon!) and set up buckets on the front lawn. Rick and I had an afternoon of chipping and putting while Teddy the Wheaten Terrier enjoyed the festivities. But at the end of June, things got real when we went to Dick Sporting Goods and I bought golf shoes. I was equipped with hand-me-down clubs, new shoes, a new glove and a fresh sleeve of balls. I was ready.
On July 4, Rick and I celebrated the nation’s independence and freedom from quarantine by hitting the links. It was thrilling. I didn’t totally suck! I could hit the ball! We were outside on a beautiful day doing something people did before the pandemic! Rick, always a patient teacher, didn’t mind my asking at every hole which club I should use. Bless him.
What I didn’t realize is that golf involves just as much time trying to find your ball as it does hitting it (maybe even more). Luckily, Rick and I share a cart and we drive around looking for the little white dots together. I had no idea golf was like participating in a scavenger hunt! And when you hit it you have to pay attention where it goes so you can lessen the amount of time searching for it. And for Rick and my youngest son (who has rediscovered his enjoyment of golf after many summers of playing with my dad), who can really drive the ball, sometimes it totally disappears and it becomes a complete mystery where it went. And then sometimes it is found in the most unlikely of places. It can be a magical experience!
There is nothing better than the thrill of a good game and even a good performance at one hole. But of course those celebratory moments can be few and far between. I learned that Rick and our friend Bruce will exclaim, “Golf is fun!” as a reminder to themselves when they have a bad shot or an entirely bad hole (or worse, an entirely bad game). Golf IS fun, but can also be very humbling.
The warm days are starting to fade and soon the sun will set on this year’s golf season. I’m considering setting up a putting green in our kitchen hallway . . . .