I am not a golfer.
I usually golf once or twice a year and my game reflects this commitment. It is a little like bowling. I refuse to take either sport too seriously because I just don't do either of them enough. Both are games of high mechanics and have little room for error. And both provide moments that make me feel like I actually know what I'm doing, usually followed by a moment shortly thereafter that reminds me that I really don't have a clue.
Yesterday was my first and likely my last golf outing of 2017. My friend Steve hosts a charity raising event named the GKO for the Greater Krey Opening. As part of it they try and raise funds for cancer research through a scramble golf tournament, raffle and dinner. I've been going to the golf portion for the past three years and the dinner/raffle portion for a few years longer than that.
It's hard to describe how much fun this day is for me. There's something about getting together with a best friend and a few really good friends and chasing a ball around green spaces. The banter in the carts and on the tee boxes and on the greens is worth the price of admission alone.
Now, because this is a "best ball" tournament, every guy on the team has a chance to contribute. This takes the edge off the competitiveness of the game for all of us. Sure we still want to do well and golf our best, but with four guys, someone is always likely to get a good shot.
Usually this guy is not me.
Because there is no pressure to try and outdo one another for a total score, we take it pretty lightly. As a result, the trash talking and grandstanding hits some pretty high levels. And, believe it or not, I am the worst one of the group with this. For me, it's like fishing where I sort of trash talk to the point of annoyance I do it all to get a laugh and keep the guys loose. I think they would agree with me, as we all have a ton of laughs.
Like the time I hit what I thought was a great shot, and said so quite loudly, only to find out that it ended up in the marsh. Or another time when I claimed another shot to be a great one, only to have a teammate make a better one, forcing me to pick up my ball.
We critique each other's style and technique, nit pick our shortcomings and cheer each other on when we do well. It's not all lighthearted put downs, after all we are good friends.
And we laugh and laugh and laugh. The laughter is therapeutic in these turbulent times in our country.
I've always considered golf a "rich man's sport." It is an expensive pastime and that is one of the reasons I don't do a lot of it. That and the fact that it can be so incredibly frustrating.
But this particular day, this tournament with these friends - friends who are like brothers to me - is one I hope to be taking part in for a long long time.
Because I love these guys like family.