I am passionate about the game of golf despite rarely taking the time to play anymore. It feels like a major time commitment and in my opinion, unless you play at least 1-2x a week, you’re not going to be remotely decent let alone good! It’s frustrating to me that when I play on occasion now, as you see via my score card from yesterday’s game, I pretty much STINK. Still, I do LOVE the game.
I learned how to play when I was a young girl and owe my love of this sport to my father! This blog post is dedicated to him and in appreciation for passing on his love of the sport to me. I believe his passion for the game definitely inspired the rest of my primary family and a few of his grandchildren too. My father occasionally played golf with his father as a young boy. He grew up during the depression though and recounted: “Neither my father nor I played often as it seemed there was not as much time devoted to leisure back then.” He caddied for a time in his youth at a club in Minneapolis and dreamed of joining a golf club in his adulthood. I believe he realized this dream when he joined the Lafayette Country Club in the late 1960’s.
Considering his background as a child of the depression era and his education level, it was a something I know he was proud to achieve. Suffice it to say, golfing is and always has been a priority in his life!
He believes he is the second oldest living member of Lafayette Club. (Soon to be 89 years young!). I learned to play the game of golf at that club and STILL love playing this course.
My Mom and my siblings learned how to play there as well. My Mom never quite took to playing the game but still watches all the tournaments on TV, is completely well versed on current players and current events surrounding golf. I can be assured that if a game is televised, it will be “on” at my parents home. My two brothers adored the game and basically lived their childhood summers on the course. They competed in all (and sometimes won) the club championships. My father told my brothers he would give them 100$ on the day that they played a round and beat him. I am fairly certain that offer kept them motivated to practice and improve for years. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing he never extended that offer to me. Hmmmm. I wonder why? Had he done so, he would still have his $100. My sister learned too but has been quoted as saying: “Why would anyone want to hit a little white ball into a small hole?”. (Still, she can really drive a great ball-even now-despite her lack of consistent play. Not me! I am a super LOUSY driver and have never mastered that skill ). When at the club playing at the same time as my brothers (no, they would never have played WITH me back then) they cavalierly tossed me their used, cracked titleist golf balls.
The mentality being, that my hitting with cracked balls, wouldn’t REALLY effect my game in any meaningful way. They also demanded I count EVERY single WHIFF. (Of which there were many). There were many times when I recall counting into the upper 30’s while attempting to hit out of the sand traps. This is what my sister in law refers to as playing “Whack-Expletive”. The epitome of golfing frustration!!!
They taught me well, though. I never have too much trouble getting out of traps at this stage of my game! Counting every whiff in my past and having incredibly large single hole scores has made me all the more appreciative of getting the ball in the hole in under 10 strokes!!! Of note, I DID actually come in second place in the girls junior league club championship one year circa 1974? That said, there were only two of us girls competing. (Ha Ha Ha).
I think anyone who loves to play or watch the game appreciates the tremendous “strategy” element golf entails in addition to a required athleticism, form and most certainly TIMING!
Have any of you reading this who consider yourselves golfers, considered yourself a nature lover too? One of the things I have always enjoyed and appreciated are golf course’s inherent natural beauty. Usually pastoral, serene, tranquil and soothing, I find playing golf connects me with nature as well. OK, I realize it’s nothing like rugged hiking or scaling a mountain but it is definitely a place to surround yourself amidst luxurious greenery and a peaceful environment.
Some may even classify these clubs as vintage !!!! My father and brothers tell me: “For your type of playing, those clubs are just fine!” In your opinions, should I still believe them? I have tried the drivers with the ginormous heads and I must say, I may have a better chance of hitting the ball?
I had a few years in my life when I considered myself a decent golfer-it was during a few of the years I lived in California when I played consistently. I played on a weekly hospital golf league where I worked. Additionally, I played once a week on my own at a phenomenally beautiful public course in the Berkeley Hills called Tilden Park. The visual of the verdant course, hills and valleys containing gorgeous low-lying fog and the smell of the distinctly fragrant eucalyptus trees are deeply etched into my psyche. I vow to play the course again before I leave this planet! I am profoundly sentimental about this course too.
I became friends with a guy my own age while playing this course who was an avid golfer. He taught me a useful golf tip that I still use whenever I am playing:
He used an acronym D-R-U-L (pronounced DROOL) when assessing the foot placement on a “lie”. “Down Right, Up Left”. I still mutter it to myself while setting up my shot on hills.
Humorously, I also remember him saying this: “Hitting a three iron perfectly (on the sweet spot) feels better than an orgasm!” At the time, he was certainly more seasoned than me in golf and I’m thinking in other areas as well. Golfers reading, care to comment on his opinion rendered in the late 80’s?
During the summer of 1990, I spent a several weeks in europe with a friend. I bought a one-of-a-kind golf watch in Lausanne, Switzerland. Only months later, the rapist took that golf watch (along with some other misc. jewelry) off my body after committing his acts of violence. I still feel a bit angry he took my unique watch in addition to taking my sense of freedom and dignity. My carefree life and golfing days came to an abrupt halt as quickly as the golf watch on my person was removed!
Roughly 6 weeks after the rape happened (and on my 30th Birthday weekend) my family met up in Arizona to make sure I was “ok” (I think). The family golf trip served as an excuse to gather and the golf was a family commonality that bonded us together in some way. Here is a pic of me and my Dad in a golf cart during that trip:
Moving on: Flash Forward: New Life as Wife and Mother
During my career as a Mom and wife of an executive, I had the privilege of getting to attend some golf tournaments and meet some players. Among them, the legendary Tiger Woods. (I once spent an entire evening in the company of Earl Woods with my husband, his “Boss” and some of his co-workers). My brothers, father and other friends attended “The Target World Challenge” on one ocassion after buying guest attendance via a charity live auction.
At one of this particular tournament cocktail parties, my father felt compelled to give golfer, John Daly, some advice on his swing. John Daly gave him a simple two word expletive in response. I think the player’s comment was all in good fun but to this day, I am not entirely certain??? YIKES! ( I wasn’t present for the actual interaction so it will always be a “story” but one that will go surely down as a classic family story to be re-told many times and perhaps embellished along the way).
Only a few years after attending this tournament, I gave my Dad a trip to Pebble Beach as a Christmas present. A few months later, my daughter Marit, was diagnosed with Cancer. Throughout the treatment period and years beyond, my younger brother Dave used to support and encourage me by repeating this quote that Earl Woods allegedly often repeated to Tiger: “Just keep living!” I found it helpful, because sometimes I have felt that simply living is all you CAN do! (Especially during times of despair).
Finally, only a few years ago after many years of living with the Cancer diagnosis, treatment and aftermath, I was able to take my Dad golfing in Pebble Beach as I had desired. It was a major life highlight for me. My brothers joined me on this very special trip that I shall always cherish. Of course (pun intended), I would love to go back again. Oh and for the record, we all played well together and none of the balls I played with had cracks. My brothers have both turned out to be superlatively supportive in countless ways over the many years since our shared youths.
Though my golfing outings are still few and far between, yesterday I joyfully played as a guest at the Wayzata Country Club. Despite being a pool and tennis member for nearly 20 years, I had never played this course before. I got to see my friend, Wendy, play golf. She is the most beautiful golfer to watch. Her swing and elegance is unparalleled. I loved witnessing every one of her balls lofting in the air and listening to every club “pinging”. She’s not only elegant but gracious as well.
In closing, it occurs to me that whether you play the game or not, some of the lessons and principles of golf apply to many circumstances in life, in general. It behooves me to consider a few of these principles both realistically and metaphorically speaking! These 7 simple little golf instructions/lessons/observations may have bigger implications/more significant meaning in the grander scheme of things: What do you think?
“Timing Matters!” = Timing is everything. There is a time and purpose for everything under heaven.
“Form is important” = How we approach things and in what way, matters.
“Keep your eye on the ball!” = Know what you want!
“Keep your head down and your eye on the ball!” = Mind your own business and concentrate on achieving your goals
“Swing easy, hit the ball!” = take things as they come while having a distinct goal to strive for.
“Count your whiffs” = admit your shortcomings/mistakes
“Keep swinging!” = keep trying. Never give up on pursuing your dreams!
“Keep Living! = Don’t give up on this wonderful LIFE !
I have some regret that I didn’t pass on the love of the game as well to my own children but I know it is never too late to give up on any dream!!!
Happy Golfing and Living ahead to all of you!!!