Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Little Pink Ball...and Me

From the first day we joined the golf club, the invitations started.

"So when are we going to get you out there?"

"We have a ladies' night next week! You should come!"

"Oh it doesn't matter if you're good. It's just for fun".

If you join a club that centers around golf, it's expected that, at some point, you will play golf.

Never mind that we joined so Adam could golf. Never mind that we actually didn't sign up as a "family golf" membership. Never mind that my stock answer "nah, not my game" rolled so easily off the tongue. Never mind that I had two small children and no time to play the game that I wanted to play. The invitations were persistent. There were so many chances to get someone like me playing.

Ladies' Nights (Nine and Wine) where the focus was more on the wine than the nine. A ladies' weekly clinic/league where the focus was on learning the game with no pressure. Friday night events where you were expected to play with your spouse. All of these events were open to anyone. Complete newbie to experienced, golf member to spouse, reluctant to enthusiastic. My excuses were beginning to fall on deaf ears.

Some people were politely persistent. Some people were a little more...naggy. No one was rude when I continued to defer - they just all seemed pretty confident that they'd get me eventually. When one of the women I am closest too finally started learning with her husband, I knew that my resolve was weakening. It was a matter of time before they got me too.

And they finally got me.

Adam and I were having dinner with the girls on the porch and were chatting with some friends of ours. A Friday night event was coming up - a nine hole scramble followed by a lobster dinner by the pool. The wife finally said, "Meredith, you can just ride in the cart, or you can throw the ball. But we're doing this together".

And just like that, I was signed up for my very first golf outing.

I immediately became concerned about how I was going to do this. I didn't have clubs. I didn't have shoes. Or balls, or a glove, or any actual knowledge. I fretted about getting the right look more than I'd like to admit. In the words of Rosetta, if I'm going to look bad, I'm not going to LOOK bad. You know what I mean?

(If you didn't understand that, you watch far less Tinkerbell in your house than we do in ours).

Adam pieced a bag together with my sister's clubs, my grandmother's clubs, his old clubs, and whatever else he thought I might be able to hit. We found some balls that he said might work for me (including a couple of pink ones that had somehow found their way into the house - probably in the pockets of the girls). I borrowed a glove from a woman who had a spare. The pro shop assured me that sneakers would be absolutely fine for my first time out. It seemed that everyone I encountered knew that I was building up. I got teased good naturedly, I got encouraged, I got assured that I'd be just fine.

As for the knowledge...well...

I thought I had myself covered. Adam and I had determined long ago that he is not the teacher for me, but the Wednesday before the event there was a ladies' night. I signed up to play with a friend of mine, figuring I'd get a little practice in - at least I'd learn how to swing.

And it thunderstormed.

So there I was, Friday afternoon, with a ragtag bag of clubs, the sneakers I wear to Zumba, and no club experience at all. When our sitter came (Adam had already played that afternoon and was meeting me there), I took myself for a pedicure (again, didn't want to look bad) before stopping at the driving range. Rather than giving myself fifteen or thirty minutes to get my act together, I zoomed into the parking lot with pretty toes only moments before the pre-round cocktail hour started.

It should be noted that Adam texted me while I was at the nail salon asking if I'd remembered my clubs. I indignantly texted back that I wasn't that clueless. Then I realized I'd forgotten most of the balls - with the exception of the pink ones.

I hit a total of ten shots before nervously making my way to the carts. No whiffs, lots of dribblers, all straight, three in the air. Not bad, but I wouldn't be lighting the world on fire. I literally stood there clueless with my bag until the pro's daughter took pity on me and showed me where our cart was. Adam took me over to the putting green and was pleasantly surprised that my mini golf experience hadn't been totally worthless.

And thank goodness for nice people and pre-round cocktails. By the time we climbed into the cart I was ready to have a good time, no matter what happened.

Ready for the shocker?

I didn't hate it. It wasn't a drag and the two hours actually flew by. I'd never actually seen a full course before. It was beautiful. Although I was by no means the hero of our foursome, I did contribute and it was a team effort. I didn't resort to the throwing the ball once, and we even used one of my drives and several of my putts. When you are with a group that enjoys each other's company (and no one is taking themselves too seriously), it can be downright pleasant. I played with my lucky pink ball for every hole except one where it seemed I was destined to put it directly in the water (I did, and was glad I'd played an old one of Adam's) and we started referring to pinky as my "beginner's luck charm". We drove in as the sun was going down, happy and ready for lobster.

And only one person chose to say "told you so".

Will I be out there every weekend? No. Am I planning on wasting gift opportunities asking for golf clubs? No. Do I plan on taking lessons, focusing on "improving my game", extending our membership so I get all the golf benefits? No. But will I play again in these events?

I sure will. My little pink ball and me.

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