Where delusions go to die

When you’re as bad at golf as I am, you define “success” differently.

Eagles are out of the question unless you see one flying overhead. Birdies and even pars are usually too much to ask.

Instead, you accept the modest victories. For example, I have yet to kill anyone with an errant shot.

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There are also achievements such as “drives that actually fly relatively straight through the air” or “approach shots that somehow don’t wind up in the sand traps on either side of the green” or “not hitting a drive into the yard running parallel to the course like I did last time” or “putting to within a couple feet of the hole from a gravel cart path.”

If I’m really feeling it, I may hit two of those good shots on the same hole. Usually not three, though … let’s not get greedy.

But during Mix’s and my latest golf outing, I realized about halfway through that I had a chance at unlocking another achievement that I don’t think I’ve ever done.

I had a chance to play a whole round — nine holes, anyway — with one ball.

While I still wasn’t playing “well” — Mix and I agreed to an eight-shot limit on our scorecard, and I had at least one by that point and a couple other guesstimates because I basically lost count — through five holes I was doing it with the same bright yellow ball I had started with.

When I play golf with my father-in-law in Connecticut, I pretty much write off a ball for each of the first two holes. The first hole has a severe dogleg left bordered by woods and weeds that’s perfectly in my slice zone, and there’s a stream running across the second hole just about as far as I can hit a ball.

Then the course opens up at the third hole and I’m usually fine, just often on my second or third ball.

Where Mix and I play, however, is far more forgiving, and early on, I actually used some of my good-shot ration to clear potential ball-eating obstacles. In particular, on one shot, I managed to not psyche myself out over the watery pit and bunker up the hill ahead of me and calmly lifted the ball over both.

Of course, it also went over the green. (I really need to replace my broken 9-iron.)

While I still wasn’t playing “well” — Mix and I agreed to an eight-shot limit on our scorecard, and I had at least one by that point and a couple other guesstimates because I basically lost count — through five holes I was doing it with the same bright yellow ball I had started with.

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But then, a worm-burning drive off the sixth tee rolled and bounced and rolled some more before stopping either just short of a stream, in the roughly ankle-high grass right in front of the stream or in the water.

Since I never actually found the ball, I’ll never know where it ended up, although I found two other balls people had left in the tall grass, so by that point I was still one ahead.

Well, I was one ahead until I plugged my next shot into the bank on the other side of the stream … a stream that’s only a couple feet wide. My next shot almost met the same fate, but was just high enough to trickle over.

Wheels firmly off the applecart, I resumed shanking my way around the course, even dropping one more ball in another stream for old time’s sake.

However, I did manage to neither curse nor relieve myself at the one hole that specifically banned it, so I guess you can call that another accomplishment.

I struggle to see the point of Nike’s “Play New” ad, and not just because I have trouble believing that a world-class athlete like Sabrina Ionescu could toss a tennis ball into the air and not hit it at all, even if she’s a basketball player and had never picked up a racket.

Actually, I do get the point — that people should try new things, even if they’re terrible at them — but I’m such a perfectionist, I get angry about sucking at anything … even when I first start doing it.

It’s a weakness. I know this.

But after playing golf at least a couple times a year for most of the past 25 or so years, I’ve just come to realize that I’ll be terrible at it forever, and for the most part — I wasn’t considering not peeing on the course to be the test of willpower — I basically accept it.

Most of the time, anyway.

Maybe it’s because I play with Suzi’s dad and one of my best friends in Mix, so the company’s always good and I can just try to have a good time.

So perhaps that’s a kind of “success”?

 

 

3 thoughts on “Where delusions go to die

  1. Pingback: The week gone by — June 13 – A Silly Place

  2. Pingback: When long ago isn’t so long ago – A Silly Place

  3. Pingback: The week gone by — June 20 – A Silly Place

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