Don’t you love just putt-ering around?

Aug. 07, 2013 @ 09:29 PM

After all these years, all the lessons, all the ad-nauseum rehashing of every single stroke on every single hole by every single male member of my family – I finally get it.  I can now appreciate a good round of golf. 

It was last week in the mountains, on a gorgeous, sunny day, with temperatures in the mid-‘70’s, on a golf course with the kinds of views that fill your soul, a breeze sent straight from heaven, and no students as far as the eye could see. Can it get any better? 
There were five of us girls – and I use the term loosely – but only four were playing; I just went along for the golf cart. I’ve always loved driving golf carts, and since there were five of us going, I managed to get my own cart!  At every hole, I’d park in a strategic spot, sip a cold Diet Dr. Pepper, look out at the Blue Ridge mountains, and watch as one by one, my friends whacked their golf balls into trees, water, sand and unsuspecting forest creatures. I had thought the aim was to get the ball into the hole where the little flag is, but hey, whatever… 
And, as each of them grew increasingly irate and frighteningly unapproachable, I, on the other hand, was sitting there thinking, “By God, it’s great to be alive!” And, this is why a good game of golf doesn’t necessarily involve actually playing. Why spoil a fabulous day, beautiful weather (and great hair, FYI) by continually hitting a ball toward a tiny hole with a stick, particularly when everyone will tell you you’re doing it with the wrong stick – the wrong stance, the wrong swing, and possibly the wrong outfit – anyway? 
It was brought to my attention at one point, that my friend Monti was repeatedly disregarding golf etiquette, by roaring off after her shot, swerving her golf cart all over the fairway while my friend Cathy was teeing off, and this was really … well … teeing her off. Finally, Cathy had had enough, and instead of warning Monti for the umpteenth time, she just went ahead and hit her ball anyway. Evidently, Monti saw it coming at the last second, and leaped from her cart just as the ball smacked into her back fender.  When she raised her head, with eyes the size of pizzas, I snorted Dr. Pepper out of my nose, and my foot accidentally hit the gas pedal of my cart, which hurled me into a stand of berry-covered bushes, where I guffawed hysterically for a number of minutes.  Unfortunately, however, the entire incident seemed to have no discernible effect on Monti’s behavior. Of course, Cathy knew she couldn’t possibly duplicate the shot – although she tried hard the rest of the day.
Meanwhile, there was friend number three, Lindsey, who plays golf by taking four clubs out of her bag, walking to the tee, choosing a club, dropping the rest, hitting the ball, choosing another club, hitting a second ball, and then gathering all of the clubs and setting off with a frown, down the middle of the fairway on foot, carrying her clubs, two in each hand. When she reached the ball whose location she liked best, the whole process would begin again. For Lindsey, a game of golf is just another challenge to conquer, although she scoffs at the idea of a golf cart, because then she’d get no “exercise,” which is always Lindsey’s goal, and the only way to get exercise is to walk, preferably with a full golf bag ... and possibly ankle weights.
Susan, friend number four, spent most of the day in the woods. I enjoyed her playing most of all, because pretty much every single time she hit the ball, it would strike one tree or another with the most satisfying thwack you ever heard. Once, she hit a tree so hard that it bounced almost all the way back to where she was standing. Now, that’s what I’d call a remarkable shot. I was so impressed, I gave her a spontaneous standing ovation and hit my head on the roof of the golf cart ... my first sports injury. 
My official job that day was to keep score for everyone, which was exhausting, and went way beyond my personal math skills, until I realized I wasn’t supposed to count the do-overs. Otherwise, each final score would have been somewhere in the 500s – and they only played nine holes. By the ninth hole, I was accepting whispered bribes from each of them to lower their score, and after a little negotiation I didn’t have to pay for my dinner that night. 
So, all in all, what a day:  the mountains, the sunshine, the golf cart, the Dr. Pepper, the attempted assault … oh, yeah, I’m totally a golfer.

Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at chh@heraldsun.com, or visit her website, www.vickiwentz.com.