I believe it was Mark Twain who said “golf is a good walk spoiled” or something like that. I love Mark Twain, but I don’t agree with him on that. I think it’s a great game if you don’t have enough frustration in your life.
Although I’m retired, I work a couple of days a week at a local grocery store. The money I make helps pay for my golf habit. I try to play at least once a week, usually with my good friend Billy D. He’s 20 years younger than me and hits the ball 20 yards farther than I do. However, at the end of the day, we’re pretty close on the score.
A game for almost anyone at any age
And that points out one of the great things about golf. It can be played by almost anyone at any age.
I used to play with my stepfather, who was in his late 70s at the time. I was 20 years younger than him then. Ray hit a 5 iron from the tee about 150 yards down the fairway. Next shot, he’d hit the 5 iron again 150 yards. A chip shot and a putt and he was one over par. I was younger then and thought I could play good golf. My tee shots back then were 250 yards. But, I wasn’t always sure where they would end up. In the trees. In bushes, or worse yet, water. If, or when, I found my ball and recovered play, I’d end up with a bogey, same as Ray.
When my granddaughter was 4 or 5, I bought her a plastic set of clubs and balls and she’d hit them around the yard. A year later, I got her a 7 iron and putter that were shortened to her size. We lived on a golf course back then and I’d take her with me. I’d hit my tee shot and then have her hit her ball from there to the green where we’d both putt.
As with any precocious 7-year-old, she’d often take the flag out and prance around the green, waving the flag like a cheerleader.
I’m not sure she was really into playing golf, but she loved spending time with her grandpa. And, she loved driving the golf cart. Unfortunately, we’ve moved to Utah and she’s in Georgia, so our golfing days together are probably over.
I introduced a friend to the game years ago. He caught on quickly but had trouble counting. I told him one day that I’d taught him everything I could but he needed to learn to count every stroke.
“Well I lost the ball in the water, that should be penalty enough,” he’d complain when I wrote down his actual score on the hole.
In Georgia, I played regularly with a group called the “Creepy Crawlers.” The group was made up of mostly 50-plus guys. We played every Monday and Thursday morning, weather permitting. You’d put up $10 to enter and have a chance to win it back, or more, based on how everyone else did. I figure I about broke even every summer.
In Georgia, you have to deal with trees along the fairways. In southern Utah, you have to deal with cactus and rocks. And, watch out for the pesky roadrunners. They’ve been known to steal a ball from the fairway.
I’ve been playing for some 40 years. I don’t hit the ball as far as I used to and my short game is terrible. I changed my putting grip recently to help cure the yips … a common malady that has shortened the careers of several professional golfers. That change has helped, but I still mess up my second, or third, or fourth shot getting onto the green. I’m taking a lesson next week with a local pro to see if he can help straighten me out when I pull the pitching wedge out of my bag. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a real golf lesson.
I used to edit a golf magazine in Georgia and had the opportunity to play some very nice courses throughout the South, but not Augusta National, which is only a dream for me. I did attend the Masters tournament in 1995. Television doesn’t come close to capturing the real beauty of that garden of Eden.
My local courses are beautiful in their own right. And, that’s one of the reasons I keep going out to play. You’re in a wonderful outdoor setting. The sky is blue and the grass is green. The computer is at home and the honey-do list will wait.
– Ryan from St. George, Utah, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of his life.
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (LLC).