I am not a golfer. I know that and have never pretended otherwise. One time I ran into a former neighbor of mine. He had lost some weight and was looking good, so I asked him what he’d been up to.
“Golfing,” he replied.
“Oh, I was never very good at that,” I told him. “I can never get the ball past the windmill or into the gator’s mouth.”
“Oh no! Not that type of golf,” he quickly replied in horror. Evidently, he didn’t grasp my sense of humor.
I managed to avoid situations in which it would be awkward to refuse playing golf up until the first time I was a duke in Mardi Gras. The King of Gulf Coast Carnival, William Yates, generously invited his entire court to Gulf Shores for a weekend of fun which included staying in beachfront condos which he graciously provided and…golfing.
It was in the late fall and the weather had turned cold and rainy. The women lucked out and got to go to the spa for the day. I briefly considered trying to opt out of golf for the spa but knew it would cost way too many man-points.
As I left the room that morning, resigned to my fate, I remarked to my wife, DeeDee, that I was going to suck at playing golf.
In some cruel twist of fate, I was paired with Jim McArthur, who could easily play pro. When Jim was still in grade school, his dad would drop him and his friends off at the golf course, where they would play golf all day long during the summer.
As we strode up to the first tee, I was pretty sure which end of the club to hold, but that was about it. I watched several of the guys tee off and knock the ball onto or near the far green. Then it was my turn.
With a sick little smile on my face, I walked up and did my best to imitate the style of those before me. I raised the club back and… smack! The ball went sideways into the rough. My next several attempts yielded similar results. I lost so many balls that they began hauling them out in bushel baskets. Were it not for the brush covering the ground outside the course, I’m sure it would have looked as if it had been snowing.
By about the fourth hole, I would rush to the tee hoping to make my pathetic effort before I had too many onlookers. It was then that Jim, who was really a trouper about being saddled with such incompetence, said to me, “Frank, I know you think you’re not doing well, but your basic style—”
I interrupted him at this point. “Jim, I appreciate your gesture, but when the ball goes ninety degrees from where I’m aiming, there is no sugarcoating it.”
I was wet, cold and miserable, longing for the warm peacefulness of the spa where the ladies were blissfully lounging. Finally, we made our way to the clubhouse, where we dried out while drinking hot cocoa to thaw our frozen bodies. Well, that wasn’t so bad, I thought to myself. At least it’s over.
But then to my horror, I learned we were only halfway finished. For an instant I considered whether or not it might be possible to somehow kill myself with one of the golf clubs but decided I’d probably miss at that too.
What seemed like several days later, I returned to the condo, where DeeDee was lounging in the glow of her massage and day of leisure. “How did it go?” she asked with a yawn.
“Remember how I said that I thought I would suck?” I replied and saw her nod. “Well, it would take years of playing for me to get to that point.”
After this experience, I decided it was best if I retired from golf as I had previously done from sailing. But that’s another story.
Disclaimer: Frank Wilem is an author, speaker, and all around funny and entertaining guy. On this blog, his stories are based on his real life experiences, often with a satirical twist.
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