Golf Day was Friday (… friday, friday, gotta go golf on Fri-DAY!… yeah… I went there…), and I couldn’t possibly leave you all out of the loop about how it went.
Our golf day organizer sent out a detailed map showing where we were to drive to get to the correct parking lot. With this murky-dark map in hand, regretting that I didn’t choose the ‘print in colour’ option, and unsure which road I was actually starting on, I led a train of 5 cars on a merry chase to ‘not where you’re supposed to go’ with the outward appearance of the Pied Piper’s confidence. By the time I figured out I wasn’t going where I was meant to go, there were too many cars on the narrow dirt road for me to easily turn around. So I drove around the pylons blocking the road, followed by my merry gang of confused road-warriors, and found myself in a mostly deserted parking-lot overlooking a field which was overlooking the golf course club-house. Unwilling to retreat, I figured I’d just amble down to the clubhouse, abandoning my car to the dubious safety of parking next to a barn whose plaque claimed it was built in 1917.
I waited around for some time, becoming more and more convinced that all of my team-members would fail to show up. A fellow abandonee and I bonded over buying pink golf balls, and argued over who would have to drive the cart if we proved to be entirely abandoned and had to team-up (SHOT NOT!!!). Each of us had a teammate show up, though, so we went our separate ways, each with a sleeve of three pink balls, certain that it would be enough. Each completely wrong in that certainty.
The pink balls are awesome, and I’m a bit in love with them. They are strangely shiny, like they should light up, glow in the dark, or glow under black lights. I am excited at the idea of showing people my balls. Minds out of the gutter, people! Golf is full of balls, gripping of shafts and putting things in holes, and if you’re going to spend that much time in the gutter, you ought to go bowling instead!
A quick reshuffling of team found me on a new team, with one guy I knew and two from another office… all four of us pale as white lab-mice, and blonde or strawberry blonde. I was the darkest skinned and haired person there.
After a slightly harrowing golf-cart ride down a steep incline, I found myself being hushed at the first hole. Apparently, even if you aren’t talking to the person who is shooting… swinging… planning to hit the ball… it is impolite to ask questions about golf when someone’s mid-golf. Who knew?
My lesson in driving (not the cart… the kind entailing hitting the ball very very hard with a club to make it go very very far) was short and to the point. I haven’t the faintest idea if it was correct. Legs shoulder distance apart, left arm stays straight, right arm bends a bit, back straight, SWING HARD! You’re your hands together on the shaft. Don’t move your feet when you’re swinging. Bend your knees. SWING HARD. Don’t move your feet when you’re swinging. SWING HARD. DON’T MOVE YOUR FEET. Bend your knees. Ok… good enough… give ‘er.
Did I mention that I got to shoot from closer to the goal because I’m a girl? Awesome.
Not so awesome… the actual driving. SWING HARD. Hit nothing. SWING HARD, knees bent more, take fist-sized chunk of grass and launch it into the bushes. SWING HARD, knees bent less, hit nothing. SWING HARD. Hit the ball. YAY. Ball plops down on the grass at my feet. Repeat, previous attempts, hit ball. Ball deeks about 20 feet into the woods off to the left of where we were aiming. BALLS! So long, Pink Ball 1, you will be missed.
Perhaps I should have gone for that 15 Balls for $20 deal they had at the store… Maybe this explains the glitter of mirth in the vendors eyes when friend and I were talking with each other about probably only needing three balls while standing in front of him inspecting the rack of three-ball-sleeves.
We return to the death trap golf cart for another harrowing journey down a steep incline. I begin to wonder how I managed to drive an hour in southern Ontario and find a mountain to play golf on. My company might be involved in instantaneous travel research… and they might be testing it on employee cars. How else did I end up in the mountains of Alberta?
I get handed another (borrowed) club, seemingly at random, despite how long he spent staring at the bag of clubs before choosing one.
Practice swings result in more flung clods of dirt and lots of moving feet mid-swing. When I eventually smack the ball with my club, it actually goes a fair distance, right in the direction I was hoping it’d go. But not far enough to keep it out of the big region of tall swampy grass. Farewell second pink ball… I will miss you, and so will last-pink-ball.
I borrowed some of the scruffiest of the old balls from my teammates, and lost one of those in my attempts at driving. Another darted off into the woods when I tried hitting towards the flag, after we’d moved down to the green after the first shot. Mysteriously, it had vanished entirely from the verge where I am positive I saw it gently roll. Baffling. Mostly, my attempts at drive would launch the ball about five feet in ANY DIRECTION… including behind me… and then I’d either try again (same results) or just get in the cart again.
Putting was more in my ball-park, reminding me of my distant… distant… last attempt at mini-putt. I won’t say I was good… that would be a really unbelievable lie, and I try to save my credibility for more important untruths. Though I will say, I managed to get the ball in the hole twice (!), and also managed to get ‘closest ball’ a few times from shots that started on the higher grass near the short-grass-around-hole. We were playing ‘best ball’, which is the only reason I ever actually made it down anywhere near the hole.
In order to rest my now-aching right forearm, I chose against driving at all after about the first 8 holes. My teammates weren’t quite sure what to make of this, or what to make of the fact that I’d brought a book onto the golf course.
I enjoyed myself much more, though, once I was no longer doing the intense long distance shooting… not that my ball ever went a very long distance, but even the swing attempts were enough to leave my arm sore.
I proudly brought out my pink ball when it came time to putt or chip (look how learned I am! Chip = hit the ball so that it goes in a fairly high parabola shape and gets you onto the very short grass around the hole… though it doesn’t do that when I hit the ball with the chipping club…), and by the end of the afternoon, I even had a hazy idea of which club I was supposed to bring out for these activities.
I made it through the rest of the day, clinging to my last ball, barely able to flex my right hand enough to unclench it from the shaft of a club, or fit it around a fork at dinner.
What did I learn about golf?
- The more balls the better.
- Be Quiet.
- Just because a sport is boring to watch, doesn’t mean it’s easy to play (no, seriously… apparently golf is more than just an excuse to walk around all day and call yourself ‘sporting’… even with a golf-cart, actual exercise ensues. Also, I was pooched at the end of the day, and barely stayed awake long enough to eat dinner and drive home)
- Just because it’s not easy to play, doesn’t mean it’s not kind of boring to play (I had fun, but at the same time, golf is a lot of waiting around, especially to those uninitiated in the knowledge of which club to use. I think I’ll stick with mini-putt… there are entertainingly shaped obstacles, and often black-lights.)
- You can actually hit a golf ball so hard that it breaks (!)… apparently the Incredible Hulk had been playing earlier in the day than us, because almost every lost ball we found was not so much ‘lost’ as ‘discarded because HULK SMASH!’
I’m actually kind of fascinated at the grass, and wish I’d been a groundskeeper (Groundhog Day style) at a golf-course when I was a teenager, just so that I could have known more about it. They’ve got at least three different types of grass, and they cut everything to such precisely even heights… very impressive and mysterious. Also… can I plant that crazy-short grass in my back-yard, because apparently it’s a really really slow-growing grass (looks like Astroturf, feels kind of like Astroturf when walking on it… but spongy. Kind of like walking on moss), and it’d be nice to not have to mow the lawn so much. I’d like to be a groundskeeper for a day… anyone willing to give me that option? I’ll bring the sunscreen; you bring the Lawnmowericus Arcana, and teach me the way of the grass.
I’ve still got my last pink ball… I still kind of love it. I’m going to drill a hole in it and make it into a Christmas ornament. If I’d still had two balls, I might have made a very simple and vaguely naughty Christmas tree ornament… but since I’ve only got the one, I might make it into a very chubby pink ballerina. Or a golfer with a giant pink head… pictures will be up once I’ve come to a decision about this… but it’s guaranteed that I’ll be using a drill at some point soon…