2014 is the year I plan on returning to the game of golf. There was a time in my life when I played the game quite often, as many as 30 rounds a year at my peak. But then I got busier, had open heart surgery and other inconveniences, and before you know it, I had lost interest in the game. I think last year I played four times, the year before that maybe twice that. This year will be different.
My skills as a golfer are sporadic and come and go more often than cell phone reception in West Virginia. I excel in only one area…the escape/trick shot, which should tell you everything you need to know about my game. It goes something like this, the guy I’m playing with hits his drive beautifully down the middle of the fairway, while mine gets overcooked into the trees, usually on the left side of the fairway. My opponent strides down the fairway confident that the hole is his. I find my ball on a patch of hardpan soil with a stand of trees directly in front of me. I take out a four iron and proceed to perfectly execute a low, sweeping hook around the trees and onto the green. It’s the only shot I can hit with anything approaching consistency.
What’s my handicap? I have no idea since I’ve never really had one officially calculated. My best score ever was a 75 shot three different times at three different courses. If I had to guess my average score I would say 88 or so. When I played a lot, maybe closer to 85. If I played a round today I would have a hard time breaking 90. I’m a terrible putter, prone to three and even four putt greens. I hit the ball fairly long for my age, I suppose. Unsurprisingly, I am an excellent trash-talker.
But here’s the thing with golf, and what I have missed the most. It’s a beautiful, relaxing walk. What other sport do you get to walk outside in the most beautiful part of any city while smoking a fine cigar and hanging out with friends? I’ve missed that aspect of the game more than anything.
Another thing, I will never, ever practice. Nope, hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range is golf without the beautiful walk thing, and just doesn’t work for me. Oh, and my clubs are all very, very old. My putter and irons,(the original Titleist DTs) are older than my Son. The newest club in my bag is a Mizuno driver which I bought maybe 15 years ago? This is the source of a barrage of disparaging remarks from my buddies every time I play. I am constantly told that if I would buy some clubs manufactured in this century my game would improve overnight. Perhaps, but this would require me spending upwards of a thousand dollars. I would rather keep the old clubs with which I once shot 75 three times. That way if I suck, I have an excellent excuse…inferior equipment!
So, if there are any golfers in the audience, don’t hesitate to ask me to play. In 2014 I plan to say, “yes!”