As the post below revealed starkly, and as many out there already knew, I play golf. It's important to note the construction of that declaration. First, despite the somewhat odd contribution from a commenter (on the previous post) unknown to me, I'm not making any claims about whether golf is a sport - an inane debate that I refuse to engage in. Next, golf is not a verb. One does not 'go golfing'. I don't care that people say that, they are just as wrong as if they said they were going 'tennising'. One plays golf, or plays a round of golf. In Britain, one can even 'have a game' of golf or ask 'how was your game?' but that construction walks a fine line that few Americans can pull off.
Now, when I say 'I play golf' I mean something much different than when a lot of Americans, today, say it. For me it is not a past-time, but a passion. I want to play golf not to enjoy the outdoors (though that is a nice side-benefit), nor to drink beer, nor to smoke cigars, nor to ride around in a ridiculous golf cart. I play golf in order to get better at playing golf. It is a terribly difficult and endlessly frustrating game; it is unconquerable, unmasterable, and tests any individual's limits of patience. And it's a very different (and mostly better) game when there is some real pressure involved - when each shot matters. This is why tournament golf is actually a totally different game, and why most people who say they play golf are talking about something different.
Given my line of work and given my friends, I know almost no one who plays golf. One reader of this blog is an exception, and perhaps the only one I can think of. So in addition to all the other things I'm whinging about above, there's the issue of always having to join up with strangers when I play.
That's all context...on to the story
Yesterday it was about 72 degrees here with bright blue skies and almost no humidity. And I got a text inviting me to join a foursome that included:
1) a veteran competetive amateur in the area who has won a number of local and regional tournaments.
2) another local who has qualified for the mid-amateur twice and won his local club championship by 23 strokes (!)
3) a senior on a top NCAA golf team who qualified for the US amateur last year.
It was a dream round. After 8 holes our foursome had 8 birdies. They partnered me, the relative hack, with #3 (no, not that #3) and together we shot about 66 better ball. He was 3 under after 6 and finished around 70. I held my own with a 74. Our oppenents were both around that number as well. In addition, they gave me strokes, and were not happy about it as the round went on. So I netted a few dollars in the end...But it wasn't about the money and it was only about the match to the extent that twice on the back 9 I had to make difficult par putts when my partner had bogied, and it's hard to describe what it's like when you feel all that pressure and then execute properly.
To paraphrase Bob Johnson, it was a great day for golf.