I golf

I might complain that I’m sore from my two days of golf over the last week, but when you’re married to someone who has spent the last five days shoveling dirt, they win.

Yes, Rick is still sweating and digging a giant hole in our front yard – it’s like watching an old prison movie. Any time now, he tells me, he will locate the rest of the sprinkler pipe damaged by the people looking for the other damaged pipe. I don’t really understand and I don’t want to, but I do know I want to rent “Cool Hand Luke” tonight.

Besides all that, I have a golf career to look after.

I don’t actually play golf. But I do have new shoes, a new glove (who knew it goes on your non-dominant hand?) and a new shirt from Kohl’s that isn’t really a golf shirt per se, but kind of looked like it to me and it goes with my long shorts that really aren’t golf shorts but looked like they would pass.

All I’m missing are clubs.

Rick thought I didn’t really need the shoes or the shirt. But after years of turning down invitations to golf outings, I finally accepted one last week and after showing up with borrowed shoes a full size and a half too big, and an outfit that was not nearly as cute as what the other women were wearing, I needed the upgrade for the outing this week.

I used to turn these things down because, well, as I said, I don’t actually play golf. When I say I don’t play, I mean I have never set foot on a real golf course except to cover the British Open (thank God they didn’t know that) and assorted other tournaments. I have hit balls at the driving range and I have gone to a local, kids’-caliber nine-hole course out with my 12-year-old son Alec but mostly to carry his bag, so I don’t count that.

I’ve always felt a little left out, as I’d guess other women do, when it comes to golf. Men have a definite advantage in this area, using golf to network and schmooze and make important business connections while drinking large quantities of beer and missing work.

But as I have found out, it’s not easy.

I tried to suggest to my friend Peggy Kusinski, who recruited me for last week’s charity event, that maybe I shouldn’t actually play. That instead, I could just hang around and talk to people – do the schmoozing part without the golf part.

But I guess I missed the point of the golf event. Hanging around the clubhouse while everyone else is playing would leave you alone in the clubhouse. So, in her infinite wisdom, Peggy put me with four extremely nice, extremely fun women she thought I would enjoy playing with.

By extremely nice and extremely fun, I mean they cheated.

Like many tournaments, it was a best-ball format, which means whoever makes the best shot, everyone takes their next shot from there. In our case, if our best shot was anywhere but on the fairway or on the green, we made certain adjustments. Frankly, after playing like this, I don’t know why anyone would want to do it any other way.

What amazed me is that despite the cheating and using golf carts and stopping after the 18th hole even though we started on the third, it still took us five and a half hours to play.

I don’t get this. Is this supposed to be one of the game’s attractions? No sporting event, especially one in which I participate, should take five and a half hours. Even with really great company (who let me use their clubs), I was still hot, sweaty, had a headache and was ready to pack it in after nine.

At the risk of bragging, I wasn’t bad. I mean, I actually made contact most of the time, a testimony to my athletic ability and the fact that they now make drivers with heads the size of a bowling ball. And no one hardly noticed when I failed to make contact or hit the ball straight up in the air or sliced it into the woods.

Women are understanding that way. We spend most of our lives telling each other that our shortcomings (bad golf games, bad hair, big hips) are not only OK but great. We do this because we are the gentler sex. Also because we count on our friends to return the favor.

And so I left last week’s tournament feeling really good about myself.

And then yesterday, I found out I was playing with men.

Now it’s not like I’m not used to being around sweaty men. I make a living out of this. And I did feel better with new shoes that fit and a glove that went on the correct hand and that shirt from Kohl’s. But I had a feeling the men wouldn’t cheat (they didn’t) and might not be as impressed when I made contact but only hit the ball 20 yards.

As it turned out, I was lucky and they were also extremely nice and extremely fun. By extremely nice and extremely fun, I mean they drank a lot. And they stopped to let me out at the ladies tee on each hole without so much as rolling their eyes.

I suspect this is what contributed to our round of golf lasting more than SIX hours. A person could drive to Ohio in six hours.

Learn Italian. Have a day at the spa with time for lunch (not that I’ve ever done that but I’m just imagining you could).

Again, I developed a migraine (though that could have been from the Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, which if you haven’t tried it, you really should. Nice and fruity). And I was surprisingly exhausted despite the cart (all that getting in and out at the ladies tee, perhaps. Or again, maybe the Leinenkugel).

But it was a nice day. I rented clubs, but the guys told me which ones to use. And they really inspired me. Not to be mean, but even really non-athletic looking men can hit a golf ball a very long way, so I aspire to do that some day.

And I aspire to play in another golf event.

I mean, now that I have the shoes and all.

4 Responses to “I golf”

  1. Nancy

    Went back to Sunday’s entry and read it to Ken (for background.) Now just read him today’s entry. As former golfers (perhaps “duffers” would be a better description) it brought back great memories and provided many laughs. You’re a wonderful writer. Thanks for sharing these experiences with us.

  2. Don

    Melissa, great blog. I laughed so hard that I had tears in my eyes. I know what you mean about the differences between men and women golfers. As a North Shore Senior Center golfer, you have to try one of the all par 3 nine hole courses we play on. We have lots of fun and it only takes 1 and a half to two hours tops to play. Oh, some pretty good golf is played also. And no one cheats–everyone in your foursome is watching.

  3. Eric

    Great read. I enjoyed it very much!!

  4. Linda

    I am so glad to finally see in print the fact that golf is far more fun when one “adjusts” … cheating is far too harsh a word …, that best ball is a wonderful format, that nine holes is plenty, and that golf is truly enjoyable when played with other nice, fun golfers.

    P.S. Had a blast playing with you Melissa!


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