I took Ben out for his first golf outing this afternoon at Moor Downs Golf Course in Waukesha. The course is a short, fairly wide open course that I thought would be a good way to introduce him to the sport. We had a good time together, despite the high temps and uncomfortable dew point. I could tell he was getting tired near the end, as was I. I haven't golfed in a couple years, and it showed. I shot in the neighborhood of a 55 (par for the course was 34.)
Now, I am the world's most honest golfer, and my score is indicative of that. I don't see the point in lying about my score because what will that get me? I know my abilities. I also know that over the years I've played I haven't improved significantly, either. Is lying going to make me feel better about my game? No. If I got a 7, I score a 7. More often than not, I forget how many shots I'm at anyway. In those cases, I usually just score 2 over. I have a hard time taking the game seriously. I enjoy it, but it frustrates me, no end. I don't do it enough to be good, and it's a game that requires practice. I have neither the patience nor the money to make it a regular pursuit. If I get out twice a year, I'm having a good year, I figure.
At the seventh hole, a short par 3, I saw an area that was roped off, and in it were standing a few Canadian Geese, the bane of all golf courses in America. I jokingly said to Ben that I'd give him a dollar if he hit a goose. Ben lined up with no intention of hitting a goose and what happens? He hits one squarely in the back, sending it squawking away, flapping its wings and honking. I looked at Ben, laughed and gave him a buck. (The goose was fine and will live to crap on the course another day.) The rest of the flock (gander? gaggle?) did pick up and move to the south about 10 yards though. Evidently word got around.
In the end, it was a great way to spend an afternoon with my son. Ben just flat out is not strong enough to hit the ball far, but had some fine shots nonetheless. It didn't help that the "Jr" set that they provided for him had a 3 wood, 2 eight irons, a wedge and a putter. Really? Nothing between a 3 wood and an 8 iron? Lets just say it was a day with a lot of wood shots for Ben.
I explained some of my philosophies about golf to Ben; trying to impart some of my duffer wisdom on him. Here were some of my golfing pearls of wisdom:
Jim's Duffer Nuggets
- If you end the day with as many or more golf balls than you started with, consider it a "great round" of golf.
- If you're hitting over water, even if your shot sucks and you clear the water, it's still a great shot.
- If you hit into the woods and find a ball that is not yours, there is no lost ball penalty. Life is good. Consider it a great shot.
- If you lose a ball in the woods, but come out of the woods with 2 or more golf balls that are not yours, you should consider declaring it a "great round" and going home immediately.
- If you do not leave a pitching wedge on the fringe of a green and have to run back for it, it was a good day. Unless of course you're using rented clubs that include 2 eight irons. Then you can afford to leave an 8 iron back.
- Forward is good.
- People who think the world of their long drives, usually lack in their chipping and putting game.
- Take #7 above and reverse it.
- On the 9th hole, if you hit a bad drive, take another. In fact, take as many as you need to feel good. Life is too short to end the day on a bad drive.
- Canadian Geese are fowl (foul?). Play it where it lies
That's my list and pretty much sums up the level of seriousness I take this game at. I love most sports, but golf is a different animal. It's as much a head game as anything else. Some people love it. One day I may. Until then, I'm going to take today for what it was. A great day with my son, whom I love more than anything, and a funny memory to boot.