I attended my first golfing event a few weeks back. It thought it would be fun as I grew playing sports and going to sporting events. Approaching the area was always and exciting time as you could hear the roar of the crowd from the parking lot.
We entered through the gate and approached the first tee and everyone was standing silently in a semicircle. It was like a funeral but their faces seemed more serious. I waited for Tiger to get his turn and I yelled “Let’s go Tiger” and expected everyone to join in. My support of Tiger was met by a warning from a guy holding a boat oar with ‘Quiet’ written on it.
Tiger swung and I heard the ball get hit and everyone looked up and I looked up and didn’t see anything. Then the crowd screamed “GET LEFT” and I still didn’t see the ball until it suddenly plopped down from the sky. The ball defiantly didn’t stay left and it kept rolling when the crowd yelled for it to stop.
The golfers spent the day hitting their balls and then chasing them and then hitting them again. This inspired me to become one of the chosen few who spend their Saturday mornings chasing little white balls in open fields. My friends and I planned such a day. I brought a set of clubs and not just one club which was confusing as I wasn’t sure which one to use anyway. I’ve seen Derek Jeter play and use the same bat for home runs and bunts. I imagined I could use just the one golf club and adjust my swing as does a baseball player. The bag of clubs made more sense when a guy threw his club in a tree and his caddy couldn’t reach it.
There are a few people out there who understand the rules of golf and many more who don’t. As a result of my experience, I thought it might be helpful to create a golf guide for the layperson.
Golf begins when you tee off at the first hole with the gallery watching which is confusing since you’re the one on display feeling like you’re naked while in front of a gaggle of strangers and swinging a crooked stick at what looks like a guest soap from my grandma’s bathroom.
The first tee shot I thought consisted of me just hitting the ball. How wrong I was. A true golfer first has to be in tune with his ball and his club and the surrounding environment. They pick up imaginary pieces of grass and let them float down to the ground. They look at their ball, then down the fairway, then back to the ball to make sure it hasn’t moved. Then they take seventeen practice swings, test the humidity in the air, do tai chi stretching, and adjust their one glove like they’re the King of Pop on-stage. You can judge how a good a golfer is by how long it takes for them to hit the ball.
The key to a tee shot is to hit the ball far as possible and then try to find it. I did find my ball which wasn’t hard as it only rolled a few feet away. I continued to hack away at it until, thirty minutes later, I got the ball in the hole. I never really knew how difficult golf was and I would have liked it to have had it explained to me before I committed to eighteen holes of it.
Here are somer golf terms important to understanding the game:
-a downhill lie is when you throw your ball down a hill and then lie and say you hit it there.
-a driving range is when you line up side-by-side with other golfers and hit golf balls at each other’s cars. This helped me coin the term parking range which is the distance I park away from a driving range so my car doesn’t get hit.
-par is the number a strokes a first-class player should take to complete any one hole. A birdie is one under par and Bogey is the actor with the hat from the movies of the 1930s and 1940s.
-a birdie is when you get one under par, a double eagle is when you get two over par, and a double birdie is when you’ve hit two birds in one round which got me onto PETA’s most wanted list.
-upswing is when you pull your club back in anticipation of hitting it and downswing is when you’ve bogied the last four holes and you’ve thrown your putter in the lake.
-putter is what you do when the foursome in front of you plays so slowly, they should have hockey sticks in their bags.
-a slice is when you hit the ball and it goes to the right. At one point, my slice got so bad, I had to turn around and hit the ball in the opposite direction for it to go where I wanted it.
Golf, like fishing, is a great way to hide a drinking problem. Every other fairway, a beer truck met up with us. My score was a 56, and that was just for the first two holes. The beer didn’t help my game, but by the fifth hole, I stopped caring.
I found the whole experience of golfing like going into battle. We were a group of men with a common goal and, within a few minutes, our foursome was in opposing corners of a field not sure where our target was but hoping it was out there somewhere. We had a map that required another map to decipher it, we had to watch out for incoming, and the bunker was the safest place which is where I spent the afternoon. I’ll hid there until the beer truck came around again.