There was once a time in my life when I enjoyed the game of golf.
My grandfather played the game and I remember having good times with him out on the links at the country club he was a member of. He would hit the ball around the course, swear at the close putts he missed, and I would keep score. Those were some perfect moments for inter-generational bonding.
Despite my pleadings, my grandfather never allowed me to drive the golf cart. That’s a thrill that would have to wait for me until I landed in Bangkok (but that’s another story).
However, as I said, I enjoyed golf “once” as in “not anymore”.
This is the story of how I left the game of golf.
I would surmise that there are numerous ways for a person to be introduced to the game of golf and the stories of those introductions will be as varied and as diverse as the cast of any post-2013 American drama television series.
I would also surmise that there is only one story about how someone leaves the game of golf.
For me, the story takes places on the island of Santa Catalina, just off the coast of the great state of California. During those summers in the 1970s when my good friend invited me to join him and his family for their annual outing to this glimmering isle, one of the activities that my friend and I did was to play golf. There was a nine-hole course situated next to a pitch-and-putt course. Most of the time, my friend and I would play on the smaller course because I could not drive to save my life (although with my wicked slice, I could probably take a life) and so the pitch-and-putt was more my speed.
One summer, though, my friend decided that we had graduated to the real nine-hole course and that was where we would play.
It was a beautiful summer California day (which is redundant, I realize that) with blue skies all around and the temperature hovering around the mid-70s. It is past noon and my friend and I have done most of our usual morning activities – fishing on the pier, eating donuts, swimming in the ocean – and before we partake of our evening adventures in the video arcade, we hit the links.
I do not have my own set of clubs so I rent a bag of five sticks (driver, 5-iron, 9-iron, sand wedge, putter) and buy a bag of a dozen balls.
As I tee up my ball on Hole Six, I have already lost nine of the white dimpled spheroids courtesy of all of my errant shots (and that wicked slice I told you about earlier). Sure, I could have gone rummaging around in the dried brush to look for my golf balls, but that’s where the spiders and rattlesnakes live and I was going nowhere near them.
I place Ball Number 10 on Tee Number Six and take out my driver. I address the ball, swing my club back, and unleash the power.
The ball sails to the left and into the brush.
I look at my friend, place my driver back in the bag, place said bag on my shoulder, and tell my companion that I am going to the snack bar and that is where he can find me when he is done playing the rest of this round.
I walk away from the tee.
I walk away from the game of golf.
At the snack bar, I enjoy a soda.
That is the story of how I left the game of golf.
P.S. As for other activities I have just up and quit while in the middle of…well, those are stories for another day.