It’s not that I hate golf, I don’t. Watching it on television is downright narcoleptic, but at least you’re not there, live, listening to the same douchebag scream: “Get in the hole!” every time the tiny, dimpled ball is urged into even the most minute motion. As if his throaty, meathead trumpeting has the slightest effect. I suppose after the 50th “Get in the hole!” maybe the ball does go in the hole and he can puff out his chest to the same circumference as his waist and say that he was there when it happened.
Despite the fact that I was horrible at it, I actually used to enjoy golfing. I had a great time hitting any of Milwaukee’s county courses with my friend Eric or Luke. They weren’t too bad, but I, a former baseball player, could never get the swing right. A good baseball swing involves perfect weight transfer from the front foot to the back foot, exploding your hips open and leading with your hands. I still don’t know what a good golf swing is like, but it’s not what I just described. This kind of swing, applied to golf, results in something called “a hook,” which means “dangerous projectile entering a populated area.” Still, my friends and I managed to have a fine time. While they had handicaps in the double digits, clearly my handicap was the game itself. It wasn’t until I was asked to play, as part of a radio promotion, at an exclusive club in the suburbs, that I truly developed my distaste.
It started the day before the outing when I went to interview the club pro. As I waited, several club members walked by me like I had just taken a dump in the atrium and the odor was sharply arguing with the established scent of Aqua Velva and money. When the club pro, who, to be fair, was a very nice guy, met me, our first trip was to the Club Pro Shop. What I thought was a cordial tour of the club was, in fact, designed to replace my jeans with a $200 pair of shorts. Club policy: No peasant garb.
The next day, I was determined not to be outed as the pauper that I truly was. The club was buzzing with activity when I arrived. A young squire sprinted up to my Ford Focus and asked me to open the trunk so he could gather my bag. I popped the trunk, fished a five dollar bill out of my pocket for a tip, exited the car leaving the driver’s door open and strode jauntily off to the clubhouse.
“Sir?” I heard behind me. “Sir? Sir!?”
Silly me; I probably needed a ticket or something. At the very least, I needed to grease the young man’s palm with some good, old-fashioned status paper. You know, legal tender for all debts public and private.
“Sir, there’s no valet parking. The parking lot is over there.”
I looked back 50 yards to my Ford Focus, trunk and driver’s door agape, radio playing and blocking a line of perturbed BMW’s, Audi’s and Range Rovers. The Green Mile was a stroll in the park compared to the Walk of Shame back to my car.
And this is how the day started.
I won’t bore you with stories from my 19th Hole of Abject Failure, but suffice to say, my foursome was not impressed with my golfing prowess and even less impressed with my resulting attempts at humor.
I haven’t picked up a club since.
And today marks the beginning of The Masters at Augusta National. I assume the title refers to the Masters of golf, but, based on the club’s policy towards minorities, they could be a very different group of “Masters.” For some, The Masters heralds the arrival of spring, but not me. For me, I know winter is over when the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th robins of spring anoint my humble Ford Focus like a guano-frosted cupcake. In contrast to the cutting, clearing, manicuring and preening of fairways and greens, I prefer to have Nature hold dominion over me.
Mark Twain famously said that: “Golf is a good walk spoiled,” and I tend to agree. Then again, he’s dead and I’m a boorish bumpkin, so who really cares what we think?