I had the chance to hit the golf course for the first time in 20 years last week. It was a partial fundraiser for one of my networking groups – $20 for an hour and half group lesson. We learned some basic fundamentals and then were allowed to whack balls from the driving range the rest of the time. Considering I haven’t done anything more than PuttPutt in 20 years, I was pretty pleased with my performance. Read: I managed to make contact with the ball more often than not. It was a fun afternoon and was made even better by having the bestie, my friend and business partner as well as my very own Little Mama out there. I had a great time but good God was I sore for the next few days. Who knew that driving balls down the range could use so many butt muscles.
As I stood there listening to Brian the Golf Pro (I want a job where my title is Pro… ) speak, I couldn’t help but remember the first time that I hit the links.
I was living the single life in Chicago and my friend Darren was visiting. Brief history lesson, Darren is the cousin of my high school sweetheart, Adam. He lived in Fort Lee, NJ and when we were all growing up, would always came down for a couple of weeks during the summer. He’s a fun guy who has always lived large. I think the majority of the groundings that I had in high school, Darren had some involvement in. We’d be at a party and it was coming close to my curfew and Darren was nowhere to be found. By the time we’d find him and convince him that it was time to leave, I was at least an hour past curfew which didn’t sit well with my dad. The funny thing is that I haven’t talked to Adam in at least 18 years but lucky for me, Darren and I still manage to stay connected.
So… Darren comes to Chicago for a visit and we decide that heading to the golf course for the day would be a fun thing to do. Darren wasn’t exactly the ultimate coach (remember, he’s from Jersey which means the lessons are quick and they’re brash) but somehow, everything he taught me that day stuck with me.
What were Darren’s lessons?
- You really only need 4 clubs to play a round of golf. A 5 and 7 iron, a putter and a driver. If you have those 4 clubs, you can get through a round of golf.
- Never take your eye off the ball. Oh. My. God. did I learn this lesson that day. Every time I missed hitting the ball, Darren would yell at me “what are you looking at?! WHAT is so important, other than this ball that you need to see?!”. Yes, it sounds brash but hey – it’s Jersey, baby and you know what? When I was at the clinic last week, I never took my eye off the ball.
- Fore is a legitimate thing. This particular day of golfing resulted in one of the worst injuries I’ve ever received in sports (okay.. the ONLY injury except the time I got a toe pick in my leg). There was a foursome playing very closely behind us and as Darren and I were standing on our green ahead of them, out of nowhere came a ball barreling towards me. Because of the way I was standing, it made contact on BOTH of my calves. Holy. Crap. Worst pain ever. In a page that is NOT included in the book of golf etiquette, Darren literally charged after the guy yelling some pretty impressive profanities about the fact that he hadn’t yelled Fore to let us know that the ball was coming. Lesson learned – when in doubt, yell Fore.
- Never get medical advice from cops. Okay, so this one has nothing to do with golf but everything to do with my injury. I had to work at the bar that same night (a “cop-shop” in Chicago terms) and made the mistake of asking the Coppers what they thought about my enormous bruise. At least 3 of them told me that it was a hematoma and that I was at risk of dying. Uhm. Yeah. Thanks.
Flash forward to last week… I can still drive the hell out of a ball. I still keep my eye on it and I still think too much about my form. But, I think that I am ready to hit the course, at least with Jen and try to get my game up enough to hopefully play with Mackenzie (who’s a pretty decent golfer!) or the Rooster which is my ultimate goal. Nothing would be better than a golf date with the besties.
Even if I hit it from the tee that’s way out in front.