Friday, September 12, 2014

Is Golf a Sport?

Golf is not so much a game as it is a mystery. Most of the time it winds up being a four hour mind game, punctuated by casual bird watching and an occasional cigar. To call a stroll through the countryside a “sport” seems a stretch. It much more resembles a recreational activity like hiking or hunting, since some of us spend quite a bit of time hiking in the woods hunting for our ball.

So, this afternoon I’m meeting my niece’s husband Ruaridh and his sister-in-law, Lauren for a round out at Royal New Kent. I’ve got a full slate of appointments beforehand so it’s going to be one of those close calls. I’ll have to run from the parking lot to the first tee. But as is so often the case with this maddening game, sometimes, running late is a good thing. Let me explain.

Ten years ago I spent a weekend with my buddy Ron Rechenbach down at his place in Nags Head for some golf and relaxation. I was late leaving Richmond and the traffic was horrible. Our first tee time was for 1:15 and I pulled up into the parking lot at 1:10 in a fine mist. Ron pulled the cart up to my car, loaded my clubs and we made a bee-line for the first tee. No loosening up on the driving range, no practicing my putting, nothing. I had been in the car for three and a half hours and was stiff as a board. I had never played the course before and I detest playing in the rain. In other words, all the ingredients were in place for a truly awful round of golf.

I shot a 79.

It was my second best score. Ever. In fact, in all of my golfing life I have only broken 80 four times, three 76’s and that 79. Oh, and it was also the last time I’ve broken 80, never having come close since. My average score is probably somewhere around 88-91. Stupidest recreational activity ever.

But, it will be fun playing with Lauren. She has recently taken the game up and I’m anxious to see how she’s getting along. Poor girl has no idea what she’s gotten herself into.