I stepped up to the t-box. Put my tee in the ground and fumbled with the ball. Trying it to get it to sit still on top of the tee.
“You bastard,” I’d mumbled.
I was convinced the earth was moving underneath me and keeping the ball from sitting still. Finally, it lay still, and I stepped back. I stretched my arms and took a practice swing. Then I crouched down. Kept my eye on the ball and swung as hard as I could. I missed!
“Son of a bitch,” I whispered to myself.
Those sitting on the cart behind me didn’t say anything. Maybe they thought it was a practice wing, I hoped. I took a breath and squatted a little. Keeping my eye on the ball, I made my arms slow down and hit the ball smooth and slow. It took off, and once it was in the air, I looked up and watched it fly. Suddenly it took a hard swing to the left and was lost in the dense bushes.
“Fuck,” I shouted.
They started to laugh behind me.
“You picked your head up, try it again,” someone yelled.
I pulled another ball out. Placed it up on the tee again, squared off with it. Squatted down a little and straightened my arms. Keeping them straight, I swung slow and easy. I heard the perfect ting of metal on a ball and then lifted my head and watched the ball form the ideal upward arch as it flew up and up and then plunked down in the water. Less than a foot from the bank. Those behind me laughed even louder.
“God damnit,” I screamed as I slung my club through the air.
“Try one more time,” they yelled back.
I grabbed the last ball in my pocket. Set it up again, squared it up again and took a swing. It couldn’t have been a better hit in a hundred games I could’ve played. The ball sailed straight and true with just a slight arch over the water and landed almost triumphantly on the edge of the bank. Right where I could get to it and finally free of the water.
“Ha! Ha!” I shouted for joy and jumped up and down as I swung the club over my head.
“Damn, dude,” I heard one of them say.
I turned back to stare at my accomplishment as I cupped my hand over my forehead to block the sun from my eyes. I was proud. Proud as a little boy who had done something he wanted to show the world. Like he was a grown man and needed everyone to know it. Then I watched in horror as the ball slowly rolled backward and then slipped into the water.
“You have got to fucking be kidding me!”
They thought this was the most hilarious thing they had seen. I was blushing, my hands started to shake with rage. Who were they to laugh at me? I wanted to take my driver to them both. I wanted to throw it at the lake. What a miserable game. Damn the scots for inventing it. I walked back to my ready for them to both hit magic balls that never disappointed. The first up put four balls in the water and gave up. The second guy lost three and landed his final ball free and clear. They both howled and laughed the whole time. They weren’t driven to blind rage like me. They smacked each other on the back like every sunk ball was nothing but something to laugh at. The last guy came by and reached into the cooler next to his golf bag and tossed me a beer.
“Looks like we all suck,” he said with a grin.
“I guess so.”
“Beats work, don’t it?”
“Yeah, I think it might.”
“Come on, seventeen more to go.”
Needless to say, I didn’t murder anybody, and I even managed to par a hole. I don’t think I’ll ever really be good at golf. I don’t care for that rushed feeling of other teams coming up on you with their judgmental glances. Angry because you can’t play with the skill or pace they can or want you to. Not to mention I get pretty tired after ten or twelve holes. However, those you play with can make or break a good time. I guess I’ll keep trying. At least until I pull a Billy Madison and end.
I know I am getting better at golf because I am hitting fewer spectators.
– Gerald R. Ford