Light & Shadow #50

Happy Golfer — Moscow, ID Circa 1980

This golfer was happy at that moment, but the next shot could bring the opposite emotion. “I golf, therefore I swear” is an apt description of the three brief periods where I partook of the sport.

The first was in high school. I bought a set of clubs and played a par three course on the outskirts of town. By mid-summer, I found that the game frustrated me so much I took the clubs and traded them in for another water ski. I was better for the trade. The course must have lost other players to a similar fate because the property eventually became a trailer park.

Five or six years later, I had friends in Moscow who kept asking me to golf with them. The U of I has a beautiful golf course that wanders with the rolling hills of the Palouse. I would decline, saying, “Nah, I’m horrible.” One day they caught me in a moment of weakness, and I agreed to join along. At the first tee, what should happen, but I smash the ball — long and straight, which got me a look of disbelief from my friends. The shot was a total fluke, but enough to hook me for a second stint that lasted a summer or two.

Another dozen years would pass before I stepped onto a golf course again. One by one, my in-laws picked up the game, and it became a part of family weekends in McCall. Rather than be an outlaw, I joined the fun. On my own, I’d play when I could and tried to improve by spending time on the driving range. Though I gave the game more effort, the term “third time’s a charm” would not apply — once a hacker, always a hacker.

My crowning disgrace came with an invitation to play a professional course in Arizona, where I hit a multi-million dollar mansion with an errant shot from the fairway.


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