Saturday, December 13, 2008

Golf .... It's a game I love to hate !!

That's right, it's where you hit a little ball with a stick, then chase after it so you can hit it again, chase it some more, and finally feel like you've accomplished something wonderful when it goes into the little hole...oh yeah, I love this game.

Some years ago a friend of mine was an avid golfer, and I just couldn't make myself understand why. Then one day he talked me into trying it out. Took me to a driving range, we bought a couple buckets of balls, and off we went to the line. This was so simple, after all, the ball just lays there while you hit it, there's nothing to it...not!

I could not believe how foolish this simple thing was making me feel, not to mention how I must look to others there on the line, not being able to do such a simple task. Then after a while I actually started to make contact, and by the time we left I was feeling pretty good about myself as a golfer. So, the next day, back we went. Things only seemed to get better and better. The third day when he came by and asked if I would like to go play some golf, I was ready, but when we drove past the range I was a little confused, until we turned in at the regular course, 18 holes of beautiful landscape, with people all over it playing this game of champions. Then when he said the best place to learn was on the course, the confusion I felt turned to icy cold fear. Oh, never mind all the people, they aren't watching us. Ha! Even the birds and squirrels stopped and stared when I got to the first tee. How glad I was that I had on long pants so no one could see my knees shaking.

Ok...rare back and let the big dog eat...right into the woods. Try again, into the lake. After hitting several balls, a tractor, three or four trees and the clubhouse a time or two, we were finally off the first tee, going down the fairway. Wow, I'm now a golfer. But you know what, by the end of 18 holes I found a love for that game that only grew after that. I started practicing every day, going to the range, reading all the tips I could find, and finally I broke the magical 100 on my scorecard. Weeks of more practice, breaking 90, then I couldn't believe it, I was shooting in the 70's. Now this is where you learn to love what you hate. By this time you're able to make the ball fade, hook, draw, hit it high, hit it low, just like the big boys on TV. And it's also where you can make the biggest mistakes, when you hit the worst shot possible, and the words that suddenly come out of your mouth makes your partners want to call a priest and give you an exorcism right there on the spot. You look around and want to know "who said that"? But then you hit such a beautiful shot, it feels like butter coming off your iron, You wish Tiger Woods was standing there to see that, and you know inside that you can't wait to get back so you can do it all over again.

Yeah, this is a game I love, and a game I hate, and the better I get at it, the more I realize it's the only game you can never master. You can only go out there and do your best, and for all those bad shots you might hit, there's always those one or two that make you feel like you're really doing it right.

So after the cold weather fades, and the days become longer, I know where I'll be; right out there on the course with those like-minded people, playing the game I love to hate.