So, we are average guys right? How did some of us get into the game… Caddyshack of course. Now obviously not a sole in that film (save for the kid who played Danny) had a decent swing, but the movie itself made me think that ‘hey, maybe this IS a fun sport’. Of course, as any Golfer who has played more than one round a year will tell you, the movie has very little to do with actual golf. But it is what initially introduced me to the sport that time long ago.
It was through my father that I first got a club in my hand. Out in the backyard of my childhood home in Sterling VA, he was showing me and a couple of my friends how to use a putter. Of course, emulating the swings I saw on the aforementioned training film that is Caddyshack, I took a full swing, driver style… with a putter; and proceeded to whack my best friends sister right upside the head (she was standing behind me). She needed a trip to the hospital and several stitches. After that, and the buttwhoopin I received for ‘being irresponsible’ I gave the game up for a while.
Nine years later, after the passing of my father, I was left his clubs. At the time, I thought I had gotten some REALLY nice clubs. Apparently just because they say the word “EXECUTIVE” on them, doesn’t make Spalding the club maker I had envisioned them in my head to be. After a bit of ridicule from my buddy’s father (who felt like an ass after he found out how I got them) I was invited to my first round of 18. Twin Shields Golf Course in Dunkirk MD. Looking back on that day now, I don’t remember a everything… just bits and pieces. Instruction, looking for a ball, more instruction, looking for a ball, lots of “practice swings” and finally, just waiting until everyone else got to the green to where I would join them and putt out.
Another self imposed hiatus passed and I found myself stationed onboard the USCG LEGARE. Patrols would take us to the most exotic locations in the Caribbean, and as a bonus, a great deal of the courses down there let us play at a great discount. Not wanting to gamble or hang at the beach… my circle of friends golfed… Alot. I ended up eventually dragging my clubs with me on patrol and slowly taking up the game. Lots of WONDERFUL and BEAUTIFUL courses down there… but I never kept score. No not because I was some Ty Cobb wannabe; more like after I got past 100 (in the front nine) I stopped counting.
I kept up with the game for the social aspects for a couple of years. I was always the one who volunteered to drive the cart (hey, I was GREAT at that) and I always brought a ball per hole… expecting to loose at least that many. About 3 – 4 years ago, I moved my wife Sarah and daughters into our first ( and only, if I have my way…) single family home. Our neighbors had a great deal in common with us and since they had children of the same age as ours… it was a match that you normally only see on those dumb sitcoms. Sure enough, after a discussion or two, my best friend Paul and I decided that while we had “played” before… we should maybe make it our thing… and start actually trying to enjoy the game it was meant to be.
Since then, I have upgraded my clubs from my Dad’s Spalding Executives (that had a WOOD driver, a 3 WOOD, and both a 1 and a 2 iron) to a Walmart Special, then to a sporting goods store set to finally what I currently have, and from what I’m told by Sarah, I have to keep for a while (see link above).
In the 3 years that have now passed, Paul and I try to play at least once a week if we can get away with it. (even in the winter… we played on New Years Day) I have, since taking the game seriously, joined up with the golf association at work. Once a month they go to courses around the area and play for local / PGA standings. (I’m no where near good enough for that… but I play for practice). I don’t know my handicap, but I can honestly say I shoot in the high 90′s consistently (though I did have a 112 not too long ago) I find myself watching the Golf Channel any chance I can, much to Sarah’s chagrin and last year for Fathers Day, all I asked for was to watch the US OPEN final round… probably the same thing I’ll ask for this year. The past few Christmas’s and Birthday’s have been sooooo easy on my family as they know now the best thing to get Dad is golf stuff.
I love the game now and Sarah would say I’m obsessed with it. Golf Digest, Golf Channel, Golf Apps, Golf Books, Golf Golf Golf Golf. Tin Cup once said “…such a pure feeling as the pure struck golf shot”. I couldn’t agree more. Now if I could only get Sarah to play…