Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chasing the elusive white ball…

   In an attempt to share my husband's love of golf, I've tried numerous times to play the sport. I think I've only made it through eighteen holes a handful of times before I got completely frustrated and traded the clubs in for driving the golf cart. That, I'm good at!
   Golf appears to be the easiest sport on the planet…until you step into the tee box.
   There is so much that goes into hitting that little white ball. I usually spend five minutes trying to remember how to line up, how to grip the club (should I lace my fingers or not?), how to stand and how far to put the tee in the ground. I'm mentally exhausted before I ever tee off!
   I'm not much of a practice swing golfer, which drives my husband crazy. He'll always ask, "Don't you want to take a practice swing?" The tone in his voice is always more of a statement than a question, but after 26 years of marriage he knows what my answer is going to be.
   One of the last times we played, I was prepared to play the best golf game of my life. On the first hole, I stood in the tee box and mentally pictured myself smacking the ball straight down the fairway within feet of the green. This was it…I was pumped and ready for the next LPGA tour.
   I pulled the club back, my chin touched my left shoulder and I swung through with all my might. I looked into the air to spot the ball, but knew I must have hit it farther because I still couldn't see it. As I stood there with my hand shading my eyes looking for my ball in the distance, my husband quietly said, "It's still on the tee."
   The look on my face must have been a good one, so my quick thinking husband said, "It's okay, it's just a practice swing."
   After another attempt, we were finally able to begin playing. I hit it straight down the fairway, just not quite as far as I envisioned. You see, this is where the game of golf tricks you into believing you are good. On one hole, you'll hit it straight to the green and sink the putt of a lifetime for a birdie. On the next hole, you spend five minutes in the rough looking for your ball and then miss a two foot putt by a mile for a double bogey.
   Out of all the golf lingo (eagle, birdie, par, bogey) the one I'm most familiar with is mulligan and trust me, if you play golf the way I do, a mulligan is your best friend.
   I admire those who play the game and have come to realize it's more than who can shoot the lowest score. It's about challenging yourself and enjoying another day we have not been promised.
   As of late, I've taken to just riding along in the cart with my husband, camera in hand, taking in the scenery.  My hometown is fortunate to have a beautiful course, which provides for some amazing shots for the photography lover.
   As I look out over the breathtaking course and watch golfers chase that elusive white ball, I'm reminded of a quote by the legendary Bobby Jones. He said, "Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots — but you have to play the ball where it lies."

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