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Where the deer and the nincompoop play
Every day as I drive to work, I pass a driving range. Before you make the assumption I know the difference between a birdie and a bogey, let me assure you that I had to ask someone what the place was called where all the golfers were swinging their bats, because I thought it was a putting green. My dear friend gave a deep sigh, told me they are called clubs, and then proceeded to explain the difference between a green and a range. (Did I mention she is a saint?)
There was a moment, as I asked yet another golf-clueless question, when I thought she was going to use the club on me (thank goodness for bunkers, is all I have to say!) but because people who play golf are for the most part pretty refined, she refrained. I know they are refined because they have a tee time. I’m hoping someday to get invited to a high tee time because I like the little sandwiches.
When I was growing up, my father loved to watch Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus play. At that time in our lives, he was still actively supporting a growing family, so he didn’t have the money or time to actually become a golfer. Being a terrific father, he did the next best thing. In the summertime he would take us to play miniature golf.
Even as a 10-year-old I knew I had what it took when I could get a golf ball to pass through the blades of a windmill, or chipmunk’s teeth, or across the moat into the castle to make a hole in one. Are there handicaps in golf? Because, if there are, it should definitely be noted my hands were usually stuck to the club as a direct result of the cotton candy or other sugar-coated treat I’d snatched from one of my tantrum-throwing siblings. Jeez, talk about poor sports!
As I became a pre-teen, golfing lost its allure. Sure, I would still go on group outings to the local miniature golf course if boys were involved, but my heart just wasn’t in it. My disdain had nothing much to do with the game itself. I simply was such a maven of style I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing any of the clothing I’d seen most golfers sport. Admittedly, at that time most of the golfers I saw were men – but really – bright orange or green plaid with white shoes? Are you kidding me?
And while I’m on the subject of shoes, I suppose that also has something to do with why I began to earnestly look for something other than golf. To my mind, shoes with sharp, spikey objects attached to the bottom just make no sense (unless they are 4 inch heels!) Heck, I’d already tried wearing my tap shoes to the Saturday matinee. Believe me, those in attendance were less than enthusiastic each time I “quietly” made my way to either the bathroom or snack bar. Shuffle ball step, shuffle ball change … shuffle ball … run for your life because someone is chasing you up the aisle.
Did I ever find a sporting pastime that met my requisite need for fashionable attire? I’m afraid not, although I dabbled in volleyball, tennis, bicycling – even fencing (now there’s a sport that could definitely use some fashion tips, if you ask me). Tennis seemed to provide the best possibility of looking fabulous and wearing great shoes. Unfortunately for me, I have no natural athletic ability, so my game was more than a bit lacking. Fortunately for me, tennis shoes have been acceptable foot gear for as long as I can remember, so I can reap the rewards without actually having to break a sweat.
I did recently sign up for a golf outing where the proceeds were going to benefit our local breast cancer resource center. I figured even I could dust off my old plaid pants to help a worthy cause. Imagine my surprise when I showed up and saw women wearing really fashionable outfits. Well, okay, they were fashionable for someone riding around in a funny little cart.
Did I discover a long-buried calling to the gentlemens’ sport? No! But I did have a good time meeting women who really love and understand the game. And I loved how hard they laughed when I inadvertently spent the first 9 holes talking in whispers because I thought that was how everyone spoke on a golf course. In my defense, I’d only ever seen it on television! When someone finally asked me why I was whispering, I was grateful not to have a replay of my run up the movie theater aisle. Bless their hearts – not one of them chased me with her club or cart!
Tee time anyone?