At first, I was whacking at the same ball so furiously and frequently without actually hitting it that it sounded like a helicopter was trying to land. But then I made contact. And man, it felt good.
I kept at it. Started hitting more than I was missing. Got faster at working my way through the mental checklist prior to swinging the club. Feet. Knees. Elbows. Head. Eyes. Swing. I even managed to occasionally work in a few of those muttered expletives like the other golfers were doing.
In no time, I'd gone through my first bucket of balls and went back for another. By the time Didier threw in a few more words of encouragement, the hook was firmly set. I was smitten with golf.
I'd never given the game much thought before, but it's perfect for me. Other sports, they generally have sleek or sexy-looking clothes -- but golf seems to pretty much celebrate ugly pants. Plus you get to wear these special shoes that make the coolest noise when you walk on concrete.
The part that surprised me most is, not only is it expected that you're going to drink beer while you play, but some courses will actually drive the beer right out to you. It's the grown-ups' version of ice cream trucks. I doubt nongolfers even know these exist. I'm not even a big beer drinker, but still -- how tough and frustrating must a sport be that its participants need alcohol while playing in order to deaden the pain? Clearly it's only for the most dedicated and resilient of athletes.
Oddly, most of the golfers we've run across the times we've played haven't hit very well. It seems like they get the occasional good shot, while the rest of the time they're squinting as they wander around the edges of the fairway or poke through deep grass, looking for their ball. Those occasional good shots seem like the outdoor version of a gambling joint where, once in a blue moon, the machine dumps out some coins. Golf is like that. You get just enough long putts or straight drives to keep you coming back.
Since I'm so new to the game, I'm not all that embarrassed that I once lost a Titleist in the ball washer or that I'm probably going to need to have my ball retriever regripped before any of my clubs.
I've heard the challenge with golf is to find people to play with who are worse than you in order that you can feel like a better player than you actually are. To that end, I expect many impending invitations to golf. A service I will happily provide.
My email address is provided below.
Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinful...@gmail.com.