It takes talent to lose 15 golf balls, hit seven bunkers and shoot well into the triple digits in one round of golf. I was able to accomplish this rare feat in my return to the links recently from a fairly long hiatus from the sport.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been anywhere close to earning my tour card, even on my best day. I’ve tore up some miniature golf courses over the years, shooting some astounding numbers, but in the case of real golf, it’s not nearly as easy as they make it look on TV. The professionals launch the ball off the tee like it's shot out of a gun and then they shape their approach perfectly on the green, spinning it toward the hole as the fans give a polite golf clap.
There was a time, probably about 10 years ago, when the guys and I would head out every Wednesday to play a round of golf. We were hardcore, taking to the links no matter the weather. We were the guys you’d see out on the course when it was frozen solid during the dead of winter.
My idea was the ball would roll further on frozen ground. Frost bite was a risk I was willing to take to get another 20 yards out of my tee shot.
Since then, I’ve gotten to the links less and less. However, it’s like riding a bike, right? If I was decent years ago, then I should be able to pick it right back up.
This was my thought process when a friend of mine invited me to go play River Watch in DeKalb County. Since what happens on the golf course is always off the record, the names will be withheld to protect the innocent.
“It’s a challenging course,” my friend admitted as we pulled up to the clubhouse and met the rest of our foursome.
What followed was a lesson in humility right off the first tee. Being the youngest of the crowd and given that I work out fairly regularly, I figured I’d show off at the first tee by pounding one out of sight. I did just that.
“You’re not going to see that one again,” one of our group members said as he patted me on the shoulder as my tee shot disappeared deep into the woods.
This would be par for the course as I would hack ball after ball into the trees like I was trying to kill squirrels out of season. And, it seemed in my return to golf, I found an affinity for the bunkers, actually getting out of one and straight into another. My ability to find the sand earned me the nickname the “Beach Boy."
On the upside, there were some spectacular views on the course, which one member of our foursome pointed out to me.
“Just over that rise, where you just hit your approach shot, there’s an incredible view of Center Hill Lake,” he painted the picture with his hands. “The bad part is your ball is in it.”
I suppose miniature golf just doesn’t translate to real golf since I’m yet to lose a ball in the windmill hole at the putt-putt course.
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.