Sunday, July 3, 2011

Damn, I Feel Like A Golfer

So the second of three eventual thank you golf outings happened yesterday, at the same place that I went the week before. I had done a long range session the day before, and felt like I had actually worked some things out with the driver. I'm one of those hacks that generally doesn't hit that club any longer than the 3-wood, but with my clubs getting to the age where the grips are starting to come apart on the more used clubs (that would be the 3-wood), it was high time to get that club moving. Two large buckets later, some hope.

So after the front nine of one shot worse than the week before -- and yeesh, isn't that the story of golf in a nutshell -- I was starting to feel a little bent, with my hands hurting like hell. I'd been in way too many bunkers, and even though I played them a little better than I usually do, there's still nothing happy about being there in the first place. We tried to get something to eat or drink at the turn, and got shot down; this was starting to be Not Fun, and while I'm pretty good at getting out of my head and turning those situations around, annoyed and in pain is a tough combo to overcome. I had also lost a wedge, like an idiot. That's always a winning move, and good for your mental state.

At which point... golf happened. I holed out a decent putt, the wood gave me a decent shot or two, and the ball got in the air a little more consistently. Nothing too miraculous or lucky, nothing too revelatory or earth-shattering... just actual golf, with the feeling of control, some nice straight pretty parabola arcing shots, and just the overall sense of Hey, I Can Play This Game. I wound up a dozen shots better than a week ago, all of it on the back nine. What pain? Who needs that wedge? If only I had more time and money, I'd be sure to shoot good enough to... I don't know, spend more time and money on golf? And be much more annoyed when I shot badly. What a game!

(Oh, and the real secret to scoring lower in golf when you aren't, you know, good? Not trying stupid recovery shots after your earlier drive goes badly, and being OK with little unhappy chip layups back to the fairway. Ah, maturity. It sucks. But a little less than immaturity, especially when you are filling out the scorecard.)

Today, of course, I feel like hell. Part of that is not just playing 18 holes, but also doing hours of yardwork and housework, and having summer allergies that generally go into overdrive a day later. But having found a course that (a) isn't too crowded, (b) is pretty close, (c) isn't unfair, (d) isn't overly expensive and (e) has given me a couple of good rounds, all things considered, where I've only lost one ball in 36 holes?

I'm back in the swing of things. There's really no such thing as an ex-golfer.

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