Monday, June 27, 2011

One Perfect Hit

For the first time in a dog's age, I found myself on a golf's course this weekend, as part of a payback to a group of friends for a huge favor. So despite a flu that would (and still, as of this writing, not quit), a throat that felt like daggers and a 102-degree fever... well, a man's word is his word. And I gave mine that we would do this, and 18 holes in a cart isn't going to kill me. So, game on.

I had been out to the range a few times before the round, just to try to get the rust off my decade-old mid-90s to mid-110s game. Realistically, I was only hoping to get the ball in the air from time to time, and not lose too many balls in the effort. So my final 115 wasn't unexpected, but playing the entire round on one ball was. So were the dozen straight as an arrow iron shots, the occasional bunker escapes (I loathe bunker shots), and the holed-out putt or two (I had the group's long one, a 25-footer where my pace was true). If I just played this game more often, I'm sure I'd get back to my old forgettable self, and find something new to do other than to spend time cleaning my house or being a better father to my kids. Ah, golf.

But that's not, of course, the real allure of the game. No, the true appeal is what happened on one of the par threes, where I was prevented by the yardage from hitting my even more erratic wood off the tee, and instead had to pull out the 4-iron from 175 away. The course we were playing is very forgiving, with little water and forgiving rough, but this 175-yard hole has a water carry for at least 120 yards -- just enough, of course, to get in the heads of weak rusty golfers like the four of us. So when I walked up with the four in my hands, and struck it true?

Well, the landing on the green was nice, and so was the roll to within 15 feet of the cup for the day's one true chance at birdie.

And the inevitable crappy three-putt from there to bring me right back to the self-hate?

Well, there's a reason why, in the words of the comedian Lewis Black, golfer is Scottish for a word that my advertisers would rather have me not say...

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