Why Does Golf Hate Me ?

August 28

The morning dawned foggy, windy, and chilly. Aye, laddy, ’twas a good day to be a Scottish warrior.

I half-expected William Wallace in blue face-paint to jump out of a bush wielding an ax, yelling “FREEEEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMMMMMM !!!!” That, or an enraged Mel Gibson. On this day, I wielded the club like William Longshanks.

Here it was, August 28th in San Ramon, and it felt like St. Andrews. The golf outing with my friends Dan and Gary (not Dibley and Radnich) was planned a week ago, and the golf gods decided to bring a Blue Northerner down in late August. Why does golf hate me ? What did I ever do to it, expect play badly ?

Shot control and shot consistency are not my strong suits yet. I have decided to join hundreds of thousands of masochists across America and rekindle my relationship with golf after a long hiatus, so it’s a work in progress. It’s about as painful as watching a documentary on how “Gigli” was made. Now, add teeth-chattering wind to the mix and you have a witches’ brew.

We all noticed how empty San Ramon Golf Club was for a Saturday morning at 9 a.m. I concluded that a rash of sanity had overtaken the regulars. If the arctic blast we felt off the tee wasn’t a hint, we would get frequent reminders throughout the day. Playing from the back (blue) tees, a course that normally plays at par 71.6 played more like 80.

The first hole, a 340-yard 90-degree angle around the driving range fence, is somewhat tricky on a calm day. I started hopefully enough, spanking my drive right down the middle despite the howling crosswind, giving me a clean angle about 140-yards into the hole. I took out a six-iron to account for the wind, and up the chute it went, falling short of the hole. Double bogey.

Later in the round, on the 184-yard par three 14th, I took out a five-wood without a tee and hit a home run in a silo. It, too, landed short of the green. Bogey. Stupid 40 mile an hour winds. And yet ….

Golf is like that hot chick at the bar who deigns to talk to you, even laughs at your jokes and touches you gently on the chest, then lets her short attention-span wander elsewhere — anywhere but you. Just enough to give you hope, and then crush it. It’s those moments when you see the sparkle in her eye that keep you coming back to the bar.

I had two such flirtatious moments. First, when I drained a 40-foot par putt on the 503-yard eighth hole, then when I drained a ten-foot par putt on the 503 yard 15th. That, and a simply sublime wedge shot to within two feet on the 18th hole will keep me coming back.

The result was a very hack-like 104, which actually represents progress. I whittled it down perilously close to double figures despite shooting two snowmen (eight ), on a day when it was cold enough to make a snowman. After those holes I felt like shooting somebody; of course I would probably miss.

But the brief flashes of actual competency, in my first full round off the back tees, and the generosity and camaraderie of friends, are enough to stir my golfing loins. That and a Heineken on the 18th. And another Heineken.

My friend Gary has been good enough to supply me with some Ping irons that Lionel Hebert might have used; they’re old but reliable. Now all I have to do is learn how to hit them consistently, and certain golf glory will be mine. Until that time, if you play with me, duck.

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One Response to “Why Does Golf Hate Me ?”

  1. Bob Says:

    Ray,

    Enjoy your thoughts.

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