To my surprise, I am pushing a tee into the grass preparing to hit my first drive of the day. How the hell did I get here? I have certainly never identified myself as a golfer… perhaps these are the types of things you do when you love someone. In my case it’s three people, my husband, my mother and my father. It turned out, on our latest Christmas excursion, that my family finds camaraderie and connection on a golf course the way that others may find it camping or skiing.
I sidle up to the ball and try to remember all the things I am supposed to remember about hitting a golf ball. The problem is that the rules are endless and the second I begin to focus on one, like bending my knees, I completely forget about the others. Ah! Keep my eye on the ball… I’m pretty sure that one is important. I raise my club back in the most unnatural way possible and swing the ever-living-shit out of it. I clip the top of it and swing around, losing my balance. Looking out on the fairway, the ball is nowhere to be seen. I hear a thump about six feet in front of me. There it is. For this one, my ball has achieved great height with comically little distance.
I decide that I hate golf.
I make a mental note that my best holes should be on 1 and 9 because those are the ones that are fully exposed to the smug ‘pros’ and other excellents hanging out in the clubhouse. I can feel free to swing myself into a frenzy on the back holes with no one to judge me but myself, my family, and perhaps a few squirrels.
I would like to note here that playing golf as a woman is hilarious. It seems the segregation lines have faded but there is still a palpable awkwardness to the whole thing. Just today, my husband and I decided to try a new course by our house. We walked in and gave our names to the pro. “First hole’s right out there” he says “And, Katherine, there are bathrooms between holes 5 and 6 and 8 and 9.” Seriously? Thank God because if I don’t have access to a bathroom every ten minutes then I just might have a meltdown and pee all over the course.
Anyway, moving on.
In golf, it is a huge deal to make it to the green. I find this cruel because once you are on the green you have to putt which is no treat at all. I stand in the middle of the fairway (after a generous pity toss out of the trees) and notice a man on the green waving at me. I wave back and realize it is a greenskeeper. He is hurrying off as quickly as he can and I want to tell him that the safest place he could be is near the hole. I am handed a 7 iron and go through the whole thing again. This time, however, I really nail it. There is a loud and satisfying crack and I wind up only a few feet from the green!
I decide that I love golf.
We carry on like this for another 8 holes and I wonder how anyone would voluntarily go through the emotional turmoil of 18. It’s exhausting! My infrequent successes are what barely keeps me going through the course and there is always that possibility that the next shot is going to be a beauty. I guess I can see, once success becomes more frequent, how golf might actually be enjoyable. Sometimes it’s just hard for me to believe that anyone is able to wade through all the crap it takes to get there 🙂