I started writing this blog in June of 2004. In that time, I’ve had my golf clubs out exactly once. One time. Once upon a time, I used to play golf quite a bit, though I was never very good. I could usually hit a good tee shot, 175-225 yards pretty consistently, and straight. My fairway game was on the bad side of not good, my short game was awful, and my putting was criminally heinous. On the whole, I was a lock to shoot 95-100 on a consistent basis. In other words, I wasn’t good.
Ah, putting. Son of a bitch, I can’t putt to save my life. Never have been able to. When I was 8, my mom stopped going on our family golf outings because it was too frustrating to watch me hit a great tee shot (for my age) and then putt six times. Miniature golf is hell to me. I can remember dates in high school where miniature golf was involved and…never mind.
Growing up in Fort Dodge, I never played the nice courses in town, because the nicer the course, the snootier the players. Municipal city courses are where real people golf. Country clubs and private courses are where people who are serious about their game play. I’ve golfed a fair share of those courses, and I can’t say I’ve ever had a good time. I’ve played a TON of public courses, and I have a million stories from them.
The course we grew up playing in Dodge was called Sunkissed Meadows, a Par 3 course built along the banks of the Des Moines River on the site of what used to be a ghetto-esque neighborhood. I bet I played that course hundreds of times in my youth.
Part of the reason I stopped playing once I moved to Omaha is our company tournament always seems to fall on a weekend when something more important is going on, and it seems in recent years that the company tournament was the only time I made time to golf. The last company tourney I signed up for was in September of ’03, but Cliff Glypha convinced me that I had to make up an excuse to get out of it to go to Kearney for the weekend and see a girl. The last one I actually golfed in was earlier in ’03, and the girl I was paired up with had never played before; we ended up phoning in the last four holes and just drinking beer all the way into the clubhouse.
In ’02, I golfed in a charity tournament and drank 15 beers in 18 holes. No kidding. It was at a fancy private club in Bellevue, and I was so out of place it wasn’t even funny. I sucked on the course, but I drank all of those older guys under the table. You win some, you lose some. Anyway…
Since that last round in 2004, my clubs have gathered dust and cobwebs in the corner of my garage. Six weeks ago, the organizer of this years’ tourney asked me if I wanted to golf with them. Now, you know me, I’m game for anything, but I had some questions in this case. Were they serious golfers? Did they care if I wasn’t good?
They assured me it was just a low-key outing. I told ‘em I would love to go drink a few brews and hold down the bottom part of a foursome, as long as they were cool with me, um, not being good. Over the six weeks since then, I’ve discovered that its actually far from just a low-key outing. On the contrary, almost everyone in the tourney are avid golfers and several are single-digit handicaps. Worse yet, I get paired up with the CFO, who is quite possibly the best golfer in the company.
Actual conversation on Thursday: “Are you a good golfer?”
“No, I guarantee you I will be the worst player on the course.”
“And you’re on our team? Have you been out to practice this week?”
“No, its been raining every night.”
I don’t get embarrassed easily, but me golfing with the CFO? That will be a disgusting display. At the moment I’m just hoping — nay, praying — that I can hit the ball straight every time off the tee and keep it in the fairway. I’m not greedy. Just make me look halfway-competent, and I’ll take my 110 over 18 holes as long as I at least look OK. Please.