Spring is upon us again, which means two things in my house: allergies and golf. It also means Robin’s Spring Cleaning, which consists of me making a list of things to do and then losing that list and learning to live with the filth and chaos that is my home.
As I pulled my tired carcass out of bed this morning, I noticed a stiffness in my back not felt for several months: the tortured golf swing spasm of hell, delivered courtesy of my round yesterday with Mr. Patience and Understanding and his sons.
As if the back pain were not enough, when I grasped my first cup of coffee this morning I realized immediately why I fell apart on so many holes yesterday.
Here was one of my hands prior to teeing off:
Not the best photo in the world, but my hand looks OK, right? And that cute little pink stiletto marker just made my day. Until I started the round, I mean.
OK, here is what my hands looked like upon completion of the game:
There are many ways to fuck up your golf swing, but you know you are doing it wrong when you have difficulty holding a cup of coffee the next morning because your fingers are gnarled and frozen from gripping the club like a fat man clutching a cheesesteak the day before his lap band surgery.
Golfers are like women who have had one baby and then inexplicably have another on purpose: they have a very very bad memory.
The comparison between a golfer and a multiple child-bearing woman is a good one for several reasons:
1. It’s a good one because I say so and this is my blog. Celebrate my awesomeness with me and do not question my skills.
2. Because golfers, like women, forget about the pain and humiliation they went through during the last round/delivery. My 4th, 9th, 11th and 18th holes yesterday felt like a sports version of an anesthetic-free episiotomy followed by shitting oneself in front of an audience.
3. As if the pain and humiliation during the round/delivery were not enough, golfers and mommies also must deal with the aftermath of these activities, which can include an aching body and embarrassment in the locker room.
For the golfer, the embarrassment comes because she hit her approach shot on 9 through the dining room window and knocked old lady Smith off her third martini. For the multiple child mom, locker room shame arises from the sad fact that her breasts and stomach are now located three feet below where they used to be.
4. Golf and children are insanely expensive hobbies. Between the clothes and the education and the vodka you need to withstand either enterprise, plan to spend way too much money if you pursue golf/babymaking on a regular basis.
5. Both children and golf eventually make you crazy. It’s obvious why children make you crazy, but why does golf drive you past the brink of reason?
It starts out the same each and every time: the excitement over a good weather forecast, making a tee time with your favorite golfing partners and lying to yourself that this round it’s going to be different…it has to be different.
But it isn’t different – not much anyway. For those of us who aren’t superior golfers, the sport consists of a series of rage-inducing yanks off the tee, topping the ball for a 20 yard second shot after a career drive, and the Monica Lewinsky putting syndrome (all lip and no hole).
In between these moments of agony and humiliation, the golfer is treated to the occasional great shot or even the great hole or two: those moments you pull out of your bag from nowhere and which keep you coming back through the years, despite all the challenges.
Yesterday, this was a good hole. Tom and I both got a par and we felt pretty smart. Then the next hole kicked my ass so thoroughly that I am sitting on a pillow today and considering putting my clubs on Craigslist.
But will I? No.
The golf course has much to teach us about humility, honor, sportsmanship, patience and determination. Playing a round reminds us that golf is like life: often hard, usually difficult, but always better than the alternative (death or a day at the office).
Golf is like love and friendship, too. If you are lucky, you have partners on the course and off who will give you mulligans and gimmes without a second thought, but who also make you want to be a better person who always acts with honor and integrity.
I fell in love on the golf course and I plan to play with my partner until one of us holes out for good. Mr. Patience and Understanding has always been deeply appreciative of our common affection for this game – this crazy pursuit that often leaves us angry, frustrated, sad and prone to outbursts of colorful language and negative self-talk.
Horace G. Hutchinson (1859-1932), noted if profanity had an influence on the flight of the ball, the game of golf would be played far better than it is. I agree with him on that wholeheartedly, and would add that “the game of golf” could be substituted with “the game of life,” at least in my house.
If you are still reading this and thinking I hate this sport, let me assure you I do not. With all the hard stuff that comes with dedication to golf, you can also be guaranteed to often feel euphoric, giddy and satisfied.
Just like love.
Some days can really beat you up, but in the end you can’t imagine never taking that first tee shot again and beginning a day with the ridiculous hope that this round will be filled with pars, long putts and maybe, just maybe, a birdie or two.
So grab your sticks, do some stretching and get on out there. I’ll see you on the course.