Monday, June 24, 2013

golf: a love story

Next week begins the month of July and with the month of July comes a special anniversary that began last year in Colorado. Yup, I've been playing golf for a year now.
We don't go out weekly or even monthly. Lately, with copious amounts of free time we've been hitting the course pretty frequently. It's pretty easy to golf when you have a permanent built-in golf buddy but golf has opened up our world to new friends to play with. Work friends even!
I'm at the point with the game where I'm hitting the balls in the air and moving along faster than when I started but I'm still in that honeymoon phase with the sport and am happy to just go out and play and get a solid hit or two in. Any day on a golf course is a good day as far as I'm concerned, regardless of how I play.
Right now my technique is based completely on reading Golf Digest and watching people play and seeing what they're doing and trying to imitate it and the next step will be proper instruction and get a good foundation of play for the sport. I still don't know all the terms or what clubs to play depending on where the ball lands. I'm just going with practice and feel and I'd like some more knowledge to hang my sweaty golf hat on.
It is a heart breaking sport and one of a million variables and a thousand things to think about as you stand there with this stick and try to hit that ball. And maybe that's what keeps me so interested in the game because with my A.D.D. personality, it's a miracle I'm not bored with the game yet after one year. I thought for sure those clubs would sit in the garage unused, collecting dust but no, I want to take them out and hit with them. I want to play. I want to feel the highs of that one good shot.
It's a game that pits me against my biggest foe: me. I have nobody to blame for a bad shot but myself and nobody to praise for a good hit but myself. And while in life I have the habit of really beating myself up about the choices I make and things I do and who I am, out there, I am my ally. I have to talk to myself repeatedly. Head down EvY. Focus. Loosen the grip. Ignore the water. You won't hit that bunker. Breathe. Breathe.
And of course there's the bad ass factor of being a girl and playing golf. A short, Mexican girl. Do you know what reactions I get from work and boys in general when I make some golf comment? What? You play golf? You?! It's a common sight to have it be just me and the boys and you know I love that. And my goal is just to keep up with them, to be one or two strokes behind and get those balls moving to catch up to them. I know I'll never pass them but if we can be putting at the same time, that's a win.
And golf is such a gentlemanly game with rules and manners. Letting someone play through. Waiting for everyone to hit one by one. Repairing your divots. Being quiet while someone hits. I know so many things suck about golf like how dang expensive it is and how they didn't let women on some courses (that boils my water!) and how until Tiger Woods came into the sport, black people weren't allowed to play on the courses he was winning at but it's a special game. And you can't pay Tiger Woods enough money for how he's changed the sport. Sure he's made some mistakes in his life but his role in changing the game and making it accessible for people of all ages and races to play, that's something pretty remarkable. I mean come on, my people pick strawberries and here I am.
It's a great bonding experience too. Few things bond people the way sports do. Just to be out together encouraging each other, seeing each other's ups and downs, even just shutting up and playing together. A big part of why I wanted to start playing was Matt's family. His grandpa, uncle, cousin, and dad golf and I wanted to have something to share with them, some common ground. On Sunday we finally got to play with his dad and aside from being properly impressed (Papa Dan can hit 'em dude), it was such a fun thing to do as a family. Cheering each other on from our carts. High fives and fist bumps.
And of course, bonding with this guy. I dunno a lot of husbands that consider it a treat to have the wife come along on the golf course and he does. He actually wants me around!
I think I was talking to Ali about why I enjoyed this oh whitey of rich white people sport so much and a big part of it is that right when I'm about to hit the ball, I think of nothing but Hitting. That. Ball. Work and life and the world all melts away when I'm out there, vanishes like a golf ball into the bushes. My mind takes a break from the world when I just grip it and rip it.
And that's why I love golf. 

Well, that and the outfits.

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