Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My golf education

I did the unthinkable yesterday. Played golf on a holiday. It was predictably brutal. One of the ironclad rules for living that I have always lived by is …don’t play golf on the weekends and especially if a holiday is involved. Don’t get me wrong, I love golf, the great outdoors, the camaraderie of the fellas, and the opportunity to smoke a fine cigar. But for me golf is a sport to be participated in on a weekday with an obscure tee time like Tuesday at 10:45. If a round of golf cannot be completed in 4 hours or less it morphs into something ugly. It becomes a tedious slow motion death trap. You find yourself watching from a distance 50 year old men plumb-bobbing 4 foot putts. After taking three shots to advance the ball 200 yards, some 65 year old retiree in lime green Bermuda shorts stands in the middle of a fairway confidently waiting for the foursome on the green to clear before he hits what is sure to be a fabulous 225 yard 3-wood. Meanwhile back on the tee you and your buddies debate the ethics of firing a drive over his balding head. Although all agree it would be “freaking hilarious” the decision is made to be patient. After all, it is pointed out, he is probably somebody’s grandfather.

On this particular day I was graciously invited to join a group of guys from my church who had an early tee time on Memorial Day. I agreed to violate my ironclad rule of living in this case because I actually felt like playing golf for a change. My enthusiasm for the game has considerably waned in recent years what with two kids in college and my only getting worse with age impatience with anything that forces me to wait for stuff. But on this day I was excited to get out on the golf course. At this point I should point out that my last purchase of golf equipment occurred pre-millennium. I bought a driver which at the time was all the rage 15 years ago. It was called the “Blue Rage” and it was manufactured by a company that no longer exists I think. I have a set of Titleist irons that are the same age as my son. My putter is the putter I bought back before I got married. Anyway, you get the picture.

When we get to the first tee it started. I look around at the equipment that these guys are packing and I feel like an old man sitting on a plastic chair at the Royal shop waiting to pick up his repaired typewriter! When I pull out my trusty old Blue Rage the fellas start with the jokes…” Nice driver Mr. Trevino, can I have your autograph?” I look around at the drivers around me and they all look like croquet mallets only shiny and metallic and quite intimidating with all sorts of cool technology like little screws that you can turn to alter the balance or to play a fade or a draw. And it wasn’t just the drivers, these guys had incredibly gleaming irons and space age looking putters. The best part was when one of the guys in my foursome whips out the “Laser Range Finder 2000”. All you had to do is point this one-eyed monster at the target, peer into the monocle and BAM, the exact yardage to the hole appeared on the screen. It was as though I had walked off the set of the Flintstones and found myself playing golf with George Jetson. I promptly responded by carding an 8 on the first hole.

Thankfully my woefully under-equipped game did improve and I didn’t embarrass myself too badly. My Blue Rage actually out drove her high tech competitors on several occasions and I ended up in the middle of the pack with an 86. Although I was happy with the score and the fellowship, spending 5 hours to do it in 95 degree heat was about as dreadful as it sounds. The cigar was good though.