Linda Stamper Boyne: What golf is all about
Vail, CO, Colorado
This is it. The time has finally come. From this point forward, this will be known as the Summer of Golf.
Years ago, back in the intensive parenting days when one boy was still in diapers and the other was just hitting his stride as a full-energy preschooler, their father, with what I believe were the best of intentions, suggested that I take up a hobby, perhaps golf.
Since showering was how I spent my free time during the period, I laughed out loud, looked at Small Boyne, then 2, and said, “I will start playing golf in seven years.”
He was amused by the proclamation and its randomly assigned specificity. “I shall not touch a golf club until seven years hence. Not six, not eight, but seven.”
In my mind, it made perfect sense. In seven years golf was something I could potentially do with the boys. Small Boyne would be old enough to have mastered the basics and The Little Man would be able to give me tips to improve my game. It would be a family activity.
So, this is year seven. And my premonition about the boys’ skills was quite accurate. So now I have to polish up my game.
I have taken lessons several times over the years, so I’m not completely without skill. In college I chose golf class as a required PE credit. Spring quarter, senior year. Preparing myself for the real world. With two of my closest girlfriends, we endeavored to learn the fundamentals.
Our instructor was a bit of an overly-muscled Neanderthal who took himself and the game of golf a bit too seriously. I don’t remember his name, so we’ll call him Thor. Thor was not impressed that my girlfriends showed up to the first day of class in flip-flops. They did not come to play. It set the tone for the entire session.
One day at Aquagolf, the driving range where we hit buoyant golf balls into a big, smelly pond, Thor stretched out on the grass to instruct us from a reclined position and happened to land in some duck excrement. I kindly pointed it out to him, to which he responded, “Oh, well. It’s just a little duck doodoo.”
One or both of my friends snorted and said, “Yeah, you seem like the kind a guy that wouldn’t mind a little duck doodoo.”
I got an A. They both got B’s. Lesson learned: Golf is a game of respect.
Fast-forward a few years. Once again taking lessons with girlfriends, this time at a municipal course in Denver in an attempt to gain professional advantage on the golf course or perhaps just to meet men, I don’t recall exactly.
This poor pro didn’t know what to do with us. We’ll call him Wilbur. There was a lot of laughing during instruction, which Wilbur dismissed. He also suggested that perhaps I should use a softer voice while playing, clearly indicated I was too loud an individual to be on the links.
Wilbur really wanted us to do well, and he did his best to impart his knowledge. In the most euphemistic manner possible, he summed up my game by saying I had a strong swing and a lot of enthusiasm. Lesson learned: A good attitude is important in golf.
There were a few rounds of golf here and there over the years, including one in Oregon where I hit a tee shot on a narrow, heavily-wooded hole and my ball went about 90 degrees off course, hit a tree and landed back in front of me.
And another on a beautiful day in Palm Springs where I picked up my ball on the 12th hole and became a conscientious objector.
Now jump to today, the Summer of Golf. In retrospect, I think my problem all along may have been trying to learn from men. No offense gentlemen, but we’re different.
I’ve signed up for a series of women-only clinics with the lovely Erica Webster at Eagle Ranch Golf Club.
It’s all falling into place now. The grip, the weight transfer, lining up to the target, dialing back my enthusiastic swing, the significance of club choice, the importance of the right outfit.
Lesson learned: It really is all about the shoes.
Linda Stamper Boyne of Edwards can be contacted through email@example.com