April 2007

P. Venus - Golf is a Four Letter Word

Author: P. Venus

You could say that golf and I got off on the wrong foot almost immediately. One of my earliest memories of spending time with my father was on a golf course. For whatever reason, Dad got stuck lugging around a five-year-old in addition to a golf bag. Lucky for him, I was the lighter of the two. Unlucky for me, because it was on that very first golf course that I was literally blown over by a huge gust of wind. Not only did I have to fight for my father’s attention, but I also had to fight just to stand up.

I always told myself that I just needed to learn to play the game in order to appreciate it. So I paid attention when it was on TV and even went to a couple of tournaments. But I couldn’t convince myself. No matter how much my dad or anyone else told me how relaxing it was, I didn’t believe them. (Kind of like how new moms were telling me that the pain of childbirth was worth it. What a bunch of hooey!). Nothing could be relaxing about chasing after a ball like a dog that can’t quite pick up on the meaning of “fetch”.

I stayed on this steady path of stubbornness until I was almost thirty years old, when I finally picked up my first golf club. It was at a driving range inside a big dome, where I couldn’t be bothered with annoying distractions like wind, or birds chirping, or some guy with a beer belly yelling, “Get in the hole!”

My first clue that I was going to be in trouble was shortly after I listened to my father rattle off about a dozen quick instructions: “Keep your head down, your shoulders square; twist your body; bring your club up smoothly; make solid contact with the ball; twist your body again…” How in the world was I going to remember all of that, recall it in a millisecond, and keep from falling over? But I stepped up bravely to the tee, took a deep breath, brought back my swing and proceeded to whiff the club past the ball like a four-year-old playing T-Ball.

Now, years later as I wander the Harbour Town Golf Links watching the Heritage tournament, the irony is not lost on me. For as much as I tried fighting it, I have at last found my peace with the game of golf. Only I took a different approach. Golf is a chance to commune with nature, bond with friends, and take advantage of all of its spoils (as in sweet hospitality tents). You can appreciate the game just as much behind the ropes, as you can on the tee box. And as long as you can score enough tickets to the tournament to bring your dad along, he’ll be just fine with that, too.

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