Why I Love Golf. And It’s Not Why You Think.

I love golf. I started to play not long after I met my husband. He’s an avid and excellent golfer and has been playing since he was a teenager.
It all started with his teaching me to swing the club on the front lawn. Then we played our first game and I parred my first hole. Yep… I hit that darn little (one could even say minuscule) ball into the equally tiny hole in 4 strokes! Mirriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines “par” as “the number of strokes a good golfer is expected to take to finish a hole or course.” Pffft, I thought dismissively… this game is easy… and fun.
For a few moments I dreamed of playing at some of Prince Edward Island’s fabled courses when we were at our rented cottage that summer.
And then later sipping afternoon tea on the veranda at Dalvay By The Sea… me in my fetching little golf skirt and sun visor.
Dalvay By the Sea
Then my husband cleared his throat and said, “Suz, you need to tee off.” And with the second hole, the fun ended. For years.
I took lessons from a good friend of my husband’s who teaches golf. I learned a few tips. I had a couple of lessons from the golf pro at a local course. Then I took a series of weekly lessons offered at the RA Centre here in Ottawa. (The RA is a recreation facility and organization set up primarily for federal civil servants but open to the public. Hubby played in a hockey league there for decades. And I tried to learn to play squash there a few years ago. But that’s another story.)
Anyway… every single golf coach or teacher with whom I worked said: “Great swing, Sue.” Apparently I looked great; I had good form. I gripped the club properly, kept my head down, rotated all the parts that were supposed to be rotated, followed through with my swing. And couldn’t hit the ball to save my life.
Oh, I had a few moments of improvement. Just enough to keep me hopeful. I could chip pretty well. That’s the short shot you take to get the ball onto the green. But with the longer shots, I continually “topped” the ball. That means you don’t hit it squarely, but kind of skiff the upper half and thus move it about three feet. My legs are too long, I’d cry. Then on hubby’s advice, I’d adjust my hand position to try to correct this and I’d swing and dig up about six feet of turf. I could feel the vibration of that all the way down to my toes. “You don’t practice enough,” Hubby would say. Gawd, I’d think… you mean four hours on the golf course wasn’t practice enough?
Then all of a sudden I got better.
We had been to see the movie Bull Durham while we were on vacation in P.E.I. The next day when we were (trying) to play nine holes of golf… I said to my husband, “I’m going to take Susan Sarandon’s advice. What she said in the movie to that pitcher who was psyched out about the game. She told him to stop thinking and ‘breathe through [his] eyelids.'”
So I did. I just stepped up to the ball and swung and didn’t think about stuff. Wowee… the ball flew through the air. Straight at the flag. I scored a 5 on that hole! And even better than that… I overheard a man and woman on the next fairway… and the man was saying to the woman…”Just do it like that lady over there.” And amazingly, he gestured towards… me!
So I had a brief career as a “skillful golfer.” Wish I had a photo of me keeping my head down and putting out at Glen Afton Golf Course on P.E.I. in my pink visor and matching pink golf ball.
So, that transformation lasted for about three games and then my skills disappeared as mysteriously as they had arrived. I breathed through my eyelids like there was no tomorrow… with no luck. Sigh.

Then I started having major upper back issues. Naturally rounded shoulders, too many long hours hunched over my marking (English teacher = essays, essays, and more essays to mark) and poor positioning when I was cross-country skiing and paddling etc etc all added up to lots pain and months of physiotherapy. And golf became painful in a whole different way.

The last morning I played we started early, the weather was quite cool, and my muscles were tight. On the first tee, I swung at the ball and felt a jab of pain through my shoulders and neck. Then I couldn’t turn my head. Then I was done. I was totally done! “Maybe golf just isn’t my game,” I said tearfully to Hubby.

I hate to admit I can’t do something. I hate to admit defeat. But golf had defeated me. Hubby replied, “Maybe golf isn’t a good game for a perfectionist with poor hand eye co-ordination.” Ouch!

So I gave up on golf. That was a few years ago, now. Since then Hubby and I have both retired from teaching. Which means that we’re both home… at the same time… a lot.

Before I go on, it’s important to understand one thing about my husband and me. He’s a morning person: a get up and get moving, with enthusiasm, best part of the day, has fifteen things done before 7:00 A.M. kind of person. I’m not. I’m a roll out of bed, stagger around, make a cup of tea, sigh, drink another cup of tea, maybe sit and read my book for a bit, then have another cup of tea before I do anything person. Well, except when I had to get up for work; that was different.

Which brings me to this morning. It’s Friday. Hubby has a regular Friday golf game with a group of his hockey buddies. They tee off early, naturally.

When I stagger out of bed and put the kettle on, the house is silent and still. The sun is shining. I make my tea and take my cup and my book out onto the deck and sit there in my pyjamas. I sip my tea and read my book for a half hour. Then I don my sneakers and shorts and plug my i-pod in; I’m listening to a great Peter James mystery this week. And I head out for my power walk. I feel justifiably pleased with myself, and my world. Back home I shower and wash my hair. Then I make a pot of tea and an omelet for breakfast which I eat on the deck, and read my book some more. For a few moments I just sip my tea and look at the sun glinting off the river. And breath.

I so love these mornings to myself.

Don’t get me wrong. My husband and I do all kinds of things together. We have learned to make allowances for our conflicting natural bio-rhythms. We cycle together at least twice a week, we fish and canoe, and camp, and hike, and travel together and talk politics and books and food and truly enjoy each other’s company.

But I do so love these mornings to myself.

And that my friends is why I love golf. Not my futile efforts to swing a club and hit a tiny (yes, minuscule ball), not my fleeting moments of success at doing so, not even the cute pink sun visor. But those blissfully quiet and solitary mornings…when Hubby is out golfing… and I’m not.

So dear readers… any surprising things that you love that we might not expect?

***Note: Thanks to Frances at Materfamilias Writes for the spelling of “Pfffft.” She used the word in a post and I thought … that’s the perfect way to express that little expulsion of dismissive air we make when we’re being…dismissive. You can read her original post here.


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13 thoughts on “Why I Love Golf. And It’s Not Why You Think.”

  1. Such a beautiful and captivating read! I found your blog through one of your descriptive comments on Susan of Une Femme's blog. The way you captured sipping a cold beer, after a long week piqued my interest … and then again, with the idea of loving golf.

    I look forward to returning to read more of your delightful blog!

    In Appreciation,
    Tamera Beardsley

  2. One of the things that attracted me to golf was the scenery and not the game itself. Walking around several beautiful landscaped acres with the most impressive houses in our community was amazing. I would find myself going on vacations and wanting to play just to get a look at how different locations looked in nature from flowers to trees.

    Jarrett @ The QATSPY Golf Approach

  3. No to golf – yes to sitting with feet up & a good book . Hubbie is not a golfer but he can usually occupy himself in the garden
    Wendy in York

    1. See, that doesn't work for me. If Stu is in the garden, I can usually see him, and that totally destroys my sense of enjoyment. Because I feel guilty for not helping.

  4. I am definitely not a golfer and husband even less so. But we are both morning people (actually, I have converted him after forty years together!) But we go our totally separate ways. I always exercise. Every day. Walk, gym or swim and then, yes, comes the delightful part. Feet up, cup of tea, catch up on blogs, friends or read. Best part of the day!! Oh, and the last few years photography has played a very important role in these early morning activities!

  5. Brilliant the first time, and I enjoyed it just as much this round — and thanks for the hat-tip to that post which I'd almost forgotten writing. We've amassed many words here, haven't we?
    Paul and I like to cycle together now we're in the city, but I love that he likes to go for a long solo cycle most mornings while I'm still caught up in my post-run shower-and-breakfast routine. By the time he's gone, I'm getting settled in with books or blog or whatever I want. He generally covers 30+kms, stopping for coffee and the morning paper along the way, so I get a good 90 minutes to myself at least three days a week. Secret of a happy shared retirement! 😉

    1. Thanks, Frances. Solitary summer mornings are lovely. And they ARE the secret to a happy shared retirement. You must really be enjoying the close proximity of cycling trails and paths. I wish there was a cycling trail or even a shoulder on our country road that would allow us to ride confidently from home instead of having to truck our bikes somewhere else.

  6. Love the post!
    Mornings are my most beautiful time of the day.
    Coffee,breakfast,book-here at the sea,coffee again and book again and than swimming,what's here not to like?
    I always wanted to learn playing golf (my sport was archery-bow and arrows)-,but first here was no golf at all,than I waited to learn it with my son and now- there are coffee and books 🙂

    1. Thanks, Dottoressa. Books and caffeine seem to be an important part of summer relaxation, eh? Now archery… that sounds like fun. I don't know anyone who has participated in that sport.

  7. I loved this post and the comments! I don't remember how I found your blog but I'm glad I did! My neighbors all seem to be morning people and they also seem to expect that I am the same. I usually exercise in the morning and clean up afterward but there are days when I don't get dressed until noon. Some of those days I just enjoy reading, eating, and lazing around. I feel a little guilty but mostly love doing exactly what I want! On other days I get busy while in my pajamas and accomplish quite a bit and still don't get dressed until noon. I fear someone coming to the door but then again I don't answer if I don't want to! I do occasionally hide just in case they might catch a glimpse! And I did play golf for a while but I realized it was just for laughs – at myself! At some point you realize that time has become finite. I'm at that point and can say that life is too short to not enjoy every moment!

    1. Thanks, so much, Kathy. You're right. Life is too short to spend four hours playing something that I find so frustrating. And as for not being a morning person… I always say I'm a mid-morning person.

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