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Hitting up the links

July 31st, 2008 · No Comments · Personal

My father has been a semi-pro golf player since he was a kid. He’s played in tournaments and such, so when I was growing up it was of course one of the things I learned as well. I took lessons for a year or two when I was about 8 or 9, and my family used to own a condo down on Hilton Head Is, South Carolina, about 45 minutes north of Savannah, Georgia. Hilton Head has at least a dozen golf courses crammed onto that tiny little island, and so visiting several times a year for a week and doing nothing but playing lots of golf really got me into the game.

Of course, when I got into my teen years I started getting a bit… crabby. I’d throw clubs and get frustrated very easily and usually stop playing all together about halfway through an 18-hole round and just drive my dad around in the golf cart (I loved driving golf carts – my dad would let me drive when I was 13 as long as no golf course officials could be seen. Got busted a few times tho :P). We ended up selling the condo while I was in high school and although we have plenty of good local courses which my dad and I visited from time to time, being home led me to want to do other things. So eventually around 16 or so I pretty much stopped playing altogether, although I still enjoy watching it on TV at times.

So today my old friend Lucas, who’s lived down the street from me my whole life, finally got me back out on the course, a local country club called Bamm Hollow. It’s only about 7 minutes from my house, which is awesome, and apparently he gets on for free or something – I didn’t ask! We just hopped in a golf cart and drove off to the first tee. Sweet.

Now, Lucas can also be considered semi-pro like my father. He’s played in and won tournaments. So obviously I knew he’d be sitting around a lot waiting for me to catch up to his shots, but he’s a cool guy and didn’t complain at all when it would take me 3-5 shots to match his one 😛

While on a whole I played pretty crappily (no surprise!) and came in 28 over par, I actually pulled off a few shots that reminded me of the fact that I used to be somewhat decent on the golf course. My first drive of the day landed me on the left side of the fairway, which was nice. Besides that I was hit-or-miss a lot throughout the round (we managed to get in 15 holes before darkness set in) until I remembered to keep my head down until I actually hit the ball. Otherwise I’d top it or bring the club down too far behind it.

I was surprised at how much I actually remembered about gripping and swinging the club, and Lucas confirmed that my stance is great – I just have to work on the little things like not taking my back-swing too far and keeping my head down. If I do that, I actually get a great connection on the ball, although my slicing issue (hitting to the right) is still present and most of the time the ball curves so far right I end up on the fairway of another hole 😛

Still, I had one chip shot from a good 50 yards out that actually struck the pin (but bounced off several yards). A few good clutch shots, including having to stand practically inside a pine tree, with its nettles poking turning me into Swiss cheese – I took a 7 Iron and whacked that sucker a good 100 yards somehow. One nice 9 Iron shot carried up and over a tall tree in front of me, taking some leaves off the very top, and came straight down on the green. I never was good at chipping, but a few nice shots I really got under the ball and laid it up right next to the pin.

of course, there were more bad shots than good. I lost a total of five balls, three on the same hole. I think I hit about six or seven trees. Took three shots to get out of a bunker (though the shot out was awesome). I ended up off one tee in a sand trap on another hole and accidentally hit someone else’s ball. One hole I practically played on another hole. I redid three tee shots. Ended up lying against three or four trees. Hit the cart path twice. Oh, and the lowest score I got was a bogey (on just three holes).

But it was a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Maybe because I’m older and more mature, I can better keep my frustration in check. Maybe because I can acknowledge what I’m doing wrong in my swing and work to fix it. Maybe it’s the company – Lucas is a good friend and he brought along a buddy who was also a great guy.

Or maybe I just have to do a few more rounds before I lose it and start throwing clubs and wanting to drive golf carts into water hazards again (remember that old commercial?). We’ll probably find out because I definitely plan on hitting the links more often now that I have access to a course so close to my house.

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