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.

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.