Confessions of a golf addict
I knew the ball was going to go right.
Standing there on the first tee, I was afraid. The hole itself was straightforward, the circumstances were not. A crowd of onlookers ” those waiting to tee off, groups making the turn for the back, the starter ” were the problem. I’m nervous ” strange since I know none of these people and couldn’t care less what they think of me.
But it’s golf, and somehow that makes me care.
Any below-average golf junkie like me knows this feeling. It’s the first-tee jitters. You stand there over that little white ball thinking, “All right ball, you don’t like me, and I don’t like you.”
So, I take a deep breath, start my backswing and let her rip. Sure enough, the ball is going right. What’s more problematic is that my driver is going back over my head. On the follow-through, the club slips from my hands and sails into the air, over a row of trees behind me, landing squarely on the roof of two unsuspecting, elderly ladies’ cart.
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Not what the pros mean when they say “visualize your shot.”
Then it dawns on me: I am so bad at this game that I’m a hazard to innocent bystanders.
Golf is a masochistic game. It’s a hard game. Even professionals have days when they shoot well over par. So what kind of chance does an average hack like me have? But still there is something that keeps me, and millions like me, coming back.
Those who play have committed themselves to a game where pleasure is like sugar sprinkled lightly on a plate of pain. So, the question remains, what keeps us coming back?
On any given day, it could be the view. Golf in the mountains is beautiful.
Or, it could be a quality round with friends ” on the course, and in the bar afterwards. What other games out there allow a group to hang out for four-plus hours together?
Golf is a social game and that’s part of its allure. But most likely, it’s that shot that keeps us coming back. The one like I hit later that day ” after I almost killed the two old ladies. I won’t describe it, except to say it felt good ” it felt pure. Everyone who plays golf has hit one like it. Believe it or not, that’s really all it takes ” that one shot.
After that, it becomes a fixation of the mind. If I hit one like that, shouldn’t there be others in there? Then next time you might hit two or three good shots, maybe even par a hole.
And by then, you are hooked. At least I know I was when it happened to me. I’m still hooked, even though I probably only play 10 to 20 times a year.
I intend to keep playing, so if you ever see me on that first tee, wish me luck.
Then take cover.
David L’Heureux is a staff writer for the Eagle Enterprise and an avid ” if not always safe golfer.