FROM MY FRONT PORCH
The most aggravating, rewarding game ever attempted by mere mortals
Sam Houston is the publisher of the Hood County News. He is also an actor, author, playwright, performer and entertainment producer/promoter.
Being the fall of the year, it is time when most golf clubs have a major golf tournament. For some it is their “club championship” in which the competitors play to win recognition as being the best player on their home course. A week or so ago, the DeCordova County Club near Granbury in Hood County held its annual Club Benders tournament, with members and their guests competing against other golfers for prize money, and for the glory of the title.
I wish I had learned to play golf when I was very young, I never took up the game until I was in my late teens, and since everything I knew was self-taught, I later learned that I did almost everything contrary to what is recommended. It took time and some hard work, and after spending hundreds of hours on the driving range and reading and studying every instructional material on the planet, I was able to make some changes that allowed me to be somewhat proficient at the game. When I say somewhat, I was an “average” golfer at best. I came to understand, the golf course is one place on earth where being average is an accomplishment.
In the beginning, being average at golf was very frustrating. I desired to be good, even very good, but my swing had too many flaws. Common sense told me a golf swing should be like a baseball swing or shooting a basketball. It is a repeated motion, and once establishing muscle memory, the swing should be consistent and effective. Yah, right! It was not until I went to the PGA Championship that I realized even professional golfers hit bad shots.
No one, anywhere, hits good golf shots all the time. The difference is the pros simply hit fewer bad shots and can make great shots to recover from the bad shots. For myself, like most other “duffers,” there were always bad shots and the great recovery shots were few and far between. Golf requires a player to accept occasional failure, to play within themselves, and to understand the interaction between their game and the golf course. The game can be very, very frustrating and sometimes downright maddening.
I came to accept my shortcomings and learned to enjoy the game for what it is. Working in an office all week long made being on the golf course a welcome respite. The course had fresh air, trees, beautifully manicured green grass and fairways. Just being on the course made a man forget about the pressing business at the office, and the exercise it provided allowed the frustrations of life to drift to the wayside, even if only for a short period of time.
The best part of golf was the guys I played with. We were grown men with responsibilities and obligations, but when we played golf the yokes that weighed heavily upon our shoulders were lifted. We would cut up, tell jokes, tease each other mercilessly, and gamble on the results of the game. Occasionally there were libations involved, but for me the fun was being with other men, having harmless fun, and playing a game we enjoyed. Sometimes I wish I played better, or that I won more bets but mostly I went home smiling and laughing because of the pure pleasure or the company of my playing partners.
Due to some unfortunate back injuries, I have not played golf in years. Recently I did go to the course and watched the Club Benders tournament. I saw some contestants competing to win so hard they were as stressed as a tightly wound eight-day clock. I saw others who were there to have fun, eat, drink and have a good time.
My observations made me miss the game I once enjoyed, but mostly it made me miss my old golf companions and the good times we had. I remember very few great shots I hit during the hundreds of rounds I played during my life, but I can recollect a treasure trove of stories about the guys I played with. Maybe that is the best part of golf.
Thanks for the memory, boys. The next round is on you!
Thought for the day: My partner’s golf score seems to improve significantly when he has control of the score card.
Until next time.
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