Earlier this year, I sunk a hole-in-one at Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf down in Madeira Beach, Florida. I fed some tiny gators and walked around with either a Bud Heavy or Michelob Light tall-boy. My reward for the hole in one? A free game that I’ll probably never use because Florida is a terrifying place right now.
But anyway, those details aren’t important. What is important is this is about as good as I get at golf. I’ve hit the links a handful of times, mostly with my dad, and I suck. Plain and simple. I have no idea what I’m doing. My grip thinks I’m holding a baseball bat, my swing doesn’t understand how to keep the ball straight, and my body contorts in ways that don’t allow me to move for about 48 hours after I play.
I spent a bit of time this past summer driving a friend to and from courses on the weekend, where he plays with his dad. Each time I’m tempted to try to join, but I hit some obstacles. I’m not talking sand traps here, though I’m sure I’d hit those, too. You won’t find a set of clubs on the list if you inventoried everything I own. That feels like a swing and a miss. My garbage play would hold them back. And, let’s face it, I don’t feel like being a laughing stock among people who have a clue as to what they’re doing.
I say all this, yet I’m itching to get my hands on a set of clubs. New or used, it doesn’t really matter to me. Anything would do the trick, though there’s no promise that I’ll be any less patient than Happy Gilmore when he learned to play. As a matter of fact, if a one handed-former pro tries to teach me, it’s likely I’m going to drop the clubs and walk away.
Back in February when I hit that Smuggler’s hole in one, I was on a trip I do every year with a few buddies of mine.
On a previous incarnation of that trip, we had found ourselves at a Top Golf. If you haven’t been to one, GO (once it’s safe, obviously). Booze, food, and you hit balls with embedded trackers out into giant targets. It’s basically what happens when you turn a driving range into a real-life video game.
Top Golf did two things for me. First, it showed me that if I make more of a game out of it for myself, I have an absolute blast. For example, if I can REACH the sand trap just before the green, I award points to myself. Second, I’m even worse at this game than I thought. Aim? Who needs it? Though maybe if I aim for that sand trap, I’ll actually hit the green…
Who can say?
This talking in circles takes me back to a time, probably six or seven years ago, when I did actually hit the course with three friends. We played somewhere just south of Boston, and I was probably 20 strokes behind the other guys by the third hole. This might be exaggeration, but it well may not be.
At one point during the day, I found myself on the edge of the green, an impossible putt away from probably bogeying for the first time that day. Which, for me, would have been an achievement. I honestly have no idea how far I was, but it had to be somewhere in the ballpark of 65-70 feet. There’s no chance this idiot is going to sink that put, right?
I lined it up like I had seen guys like Tiger and Phil do on TV. Then, according to my friend Jason who was on the course with me that day, I hit that putt as hard as I should have if I was going for a 150 foot shot. Somehow it was dead-on accurate, hit the cup with insane speed, shot up in the air, and dropped in. None of us could believe it. And to this day I can’t stop talking about it.
At that point, I thought “maybe this is for me…”. I’ve probably been on a course one time since then. So maybe golf isn’t for me.
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