Thursday, October 22, 2009

My b*tch

Last time I had a terrible issue with my 7-iron. So, I hit a jumbo bucket of balls with the dang thing, leaving frustrated and not quite sure how I felt about the whole "golf" thing. But, being the mule-headed gal that I am, I gave it another shot.

Ordering up another jumbo bucket, I set out to make the 7-iron my b*tch. That's right, there's no such thing as surrender when it comes to golf. If something isn't working, you keep doing it until it is. Or maybe that's the definition of insanity and not golf. Or maybe they're the same, seeing as how grown men and women spend hours at a time using sticks to put tiny balls in a hole several hundred yards away. Whichever it is, that's how it's going to be with me. Just keep doing the same thing until you get a different result. And I did.

About half way through the dang bucket, I hit the sweet spot and watched as that sucker flew all the way to the back marker (not the fence, that's just silly, but the one in front of the fence). Not only that, it flew straight. As did the next one and the one after that. You get the picture. So, after a bucket and a half of balls, I had made the 7-iron my b*tch. I could hit it as far or as near as I wanted, adjusting the loft, the speed, the direction. Everything was awesome.... until the last ball. And boy was that a doozy, but not in a good way. Same grip, same swing, same timing, different result. The ball popped a mere ten feet in front of me, but not directly in front, off to the side. And it sat there laughing at me. Mocking. I could hear the club, too, as I put it back in the bag. "Who's the b*tch" now?"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The 7-iron

At the driving range, my father said that most people warm up with the 7-iron then move on to something else. So, that's what I did, except I didn't really move on to anything else.

See, the problem with the 7-iron is that it looks like a normal club, but it's not. It's evil. The 7-iron likes to sit in your hand, cradled really, like any other club. It looks like it would hit the ball like any other club, like it would provide a little loft, or maybe distance. No. It won't. Because the 7-iron was wrought from the devil's forge, and there, managed to pick up a little bit of the bad man's soul.

From the top of the swing, it feels fine, through the swing, okay, but at the point of impact? No. Sometimes there is no impact because the club magically shortens or curves or lengthens, causing a rather painful shock when the head hits the ground behind the ball.

Other times, it'll deign to make contact, but maybe it'll just kiss the ball. This makes the ball barely dribble off the mat into the grass. It'll sit there staring at you, accusatory, like you purposely failed it. But it wasn't you, no, it was the 7-iron. And, this little yellow ball sitting a mere four feet from your mat serves a testament to your suckiness. Everyone who walks by, from the just starting tyke with his dad to the seasoned pro, knows what happened. They know that something went terribly wrong with your swing, that your grip was wrong, or your eye left the ball, or your head came up, or your swing was too fast, or that you forgot any of the other myriad of things you have to know to make the ball not sit there and stare at you from a couple feet away.

It would be bad enough if it were just the one ball, but I had a jumbo bucket. JUMBO! So, there they were a couple hundred Easter egg colored balls, laughing at me because I wouldn't relenquish the 7-iron. Wouldn't let it go. Wouldn't move on to something I can actually hit. The 4 maybe? The driver? The 9? No, that whole dang bucket of jumbo balls fell victim to the 7-iron. Their wounded bodies scattered across the outskirts of the battlefield, but never making it into the frey.

ARG! Who plays this game?!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Swing Away

I had been worried that my little heat stroke episode had put my father off of playing golf with me. True, I didn't like that part much, either, but I really would like to play golf. So, now it's October. And, for an early birthday present, my father bought me my very own set of club. He even let me take them out to the driving range. Yay!
Okay, so the good news: I have my own clubs, my dad wants to teach me to play, and he wants to go right then to the driving range.
The bad news: It's over 90 degrees and I'm wearing jeans and a black rayon blouse.
Also, there were some other female troubles going on that I really would rather not talk about.
The point is, that about half way through my jumbo bucket of balls, it's like a flashback to July. Things start to go in and out of focus, my stomach starts cramping so fiercely I can barely stand, and I'm going to throw up. All bad things. Again, I hit the clubhouse up for a spot of floor and air conditioning. Why can't I take the heat? I grew up in Texas, really my body should be used to it by now. I just spent a month working outdoors on a film set. So, a bucket of balls does me in? No way.

I regain my footing, stop the swaying, squint my eyes so I don't need to focus, and whack away at the balls. It's a tough game, golf. My nine iron and my four wood go exactly the same distance in the air. The only difference is the four wood bounces farther. I'm ninety-nine percent sure there's supposed to be a bigger difference than that. The driver, however, rocks. That thing can fly. If I can just get it straight, I may one day be able to stand in a proper tee box. Not there, yet, though.

So, as for my dad, I think he's a little disappointed that I had to lie down every fourth shot. I'm hoping he's also a little proud that I kept going. Probably not, though. Lying down at the driving range is generally frowned upon, and he takes this stuff seriously. And I think he's more than a little upset that I'm not obsessed. I want the game to be fun. I want to progress through a natural process. He'd rather I spend all day and night working on strength and perfecting my swing. I'm kind of remembering why he and I don't share interests, usually. He likes to push until the point of exhaustion, to the point where it's not fun anymore. I like to enjoy something, and get better, working at my own pace. We'll see how that goes. I'm thinking of hitting the range again today.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Beginner's Golf

I had been trying to blog about all sorts of stuff, then narrowed it down to movies, then realized that I watch too many movies to do that properly. I ended up getting behind, and for some reason it's no fun to talk about the movie you watched yesterday when you've seen two more since then (Watched Kit Kittridge today, Miss Pettigrew Lives a Day yesterday, Pineapple Express, The Heist,The Proposal, Away We Go...all this week. You can see the problem).

So, I've decided to write about something a little more personal - golf. Yes, well, lots of people write about golf, and now I'm one of them. For as long as I can remember, my father has played golf every Tuesday and Thursday. Then, of course, he goes to the golf range another three or four times a week. I had only been invited to go twice before this past Father's Day. It was "man time," too expensive a habit to take up, and besides all that it's too frustrating. At least that's what he said, so I didn't push.
This Fathers' Day, we went to the golf range, he handed me a seven iron and said, "your movement is going to be like skipping a stone." Silly, right? But it works. I may not get much distance, but I hit that sucker straight and got pretty good loft. And, I got a "hmm, good going," from Pops, which is everything a gal can hope for.
A couple days later he invites me to come to the driving range again. I hit the seven well for the first 30 minutes, then disaster - I start thinking I can hit the ball well. Golf is a mental game. You'd think positive thinking would be a bonus, but it's not. The second I was happy with my swing, I started topping the ball, hitting behind it, whiffing. Yikes. But, at least it always went straight, even when it was only going a few yards. Different club - the three wood - different story. One of the most beautiful sounds is a well hit ball. One of the most frustrating experiences is to hit a three wood well and see it only go ten yard further than the seven iron. Fortunately, before I could get too worked up, we ran out of balls.
Today we tried again. I should point out that on the previous two visits to the driving range it had been over 100 degrees. Today reached a high of 95. No problem, except when it is. There I am steadily hitting ball after ball. I've found the seven iron swing again, the head sings when it strikes the ball. I even get a few silent chuckles at the yokels behind me who can't seem to get their ball more than ten feet in front of them, that is, if they're not hitting the blessed fence that separates us. Thank goodness for that fence; I probably would have gotten some sort of concussion, or at least a tasty bruise on my rear, without it.
Feeling a little lightheaded, I drink some water, because we're very good about bringing plenty of water with us. I switch clubs - the utility club, taking the place of the four iron - three swings in, I'm going, the ball's flying further than it has before. Dad's happy, I'm happy, everybody's happy. But, I'm still a little lightheaded, so I drink some more water. Then I feel sick and not just a little. More like, I'm either going to throw up or die at that very moment and I'm hoping for die because my legs can barely hold me up. I pour the rest of my water over my head, then my dad's water. I try to sit on a log, but can't keep my balance. I mumble something to Dad about being too hot and needing to sit down, so I stumble toward the clubhouse. My legs don't want to make it, people are looking at me, everything has gone white, and I have to guess where the clubhouse it based on where I saw it last time I could see anything. And what was I thinking? Dad's never going to take me to the driving range again. Fair or not, it has taken me a very long time to get him to let me go, and now I was ruining it by sprawling on the floor of the clubhouse trying to stay conscious. I'm bizarrely proud of not passing out.
By the time the room stops spinning and I can stand again and see and breathe without wanting to hurl, I'm convinced that that would be my last outing. But I liked it; I wanted to play more; I wanted to play with my dad. And, even though my hands still tingle and I can't grip the door handle properly, I go out, determined to finish out my bucket of balls - to show that I belong with the big kids. Dad sees my coming up, hits another ball, then puts away his clubs. "It's hot," he says. Let's go home. I'm disappointed and relieved at the same time. I don't know what it means.
I hope I can play some more. I actually like the driving range. One day, I hope to go to a real golf course and play a round with my dad. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I was supposed to write a review of Slumdog Millionaire. Unfortunately, sometimes life throws something at you that has to be addressed.
Yesterday, Albert Erle Massengale died. He was healthy, fit, and an all around good guy.
While he wasn't "blood," he was family. He was the man at Christmas who always led the prayer and carved the turkey. He had a smile for all of his grandchildren and a quiet nod for everyone else. He was my nephews' and niece's grandpapa. He took them to watch calves being birthed and showed them the ways of a true rancher. He died with his boots on in a farming accident. We lost a true Texan and quite possibly one of the last cowboys.
His death leaves a hole in our lives.
Goodbye, Erle. We'll miss you.

About Me

I was born and reared in Austin, Texas, where I attended three elementary schools, three middle schools, one high school, and one university. I've backpacked through Europe, gone on an archeological dig in the Belizean rainforest, scuba dived through the Atlantic reefs, and skydived over San Marcos. And, while hang-gliding turned out not to be for me, I did give it a shot.