No, I’m Not a Golfer!
By Rose Ann Sinay
It was my husband’s retirement dream to wake up in the morning and walk on to a golf course. We planned for it, talked about it and yearned for it, but it was always years away…until it wasn’t. Suddenly, it was time to figure out what we wanted to do, and do it.
So, we visited golf communities down south – lots of them. Spending time together in beautiful surroundings, great weather, wearing a different colored hat every day – what was not to like? I’ve never been an outdoors person, but I liked playing games. Me, on the green, making a ten foot putt in a sassy golf outfit; I could do that. I could eat lunch at the clubhouse, watch the Masters Tournament on television with new friends and drink wine – I bought into the fantasy and into a golfing community.
I was excited the first time we went out on the course as a couple, in the same cart, dressed in the appropriate garb that marked us as contenders. I was ready to commune with nature and the sport. We were living the life.
It was a picture-perfect day in June. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was pleasant (if a tad bit warm) as we started out.
“Nice shot,” I said enthusiastically when my husband connected in one easy, fluid swing. My untrained eye couldn’t follow the flight of the ball, but he was happy with the result. He hopped back into the cart, and we moved the short distance to the ladies’ tee.
“Keep your head down and elbows in,” he reminded me as I secured my pink and white visor and reached for my club. I positioned my tee between the painted blocks and placed the ball on top. Fixing my eyes on the dimpled orb, I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, as I had seen other serious golfers do. Finally, I planted my feet and swung. It felt wonderful. I was a natural. I searched the sky for the soaring white dot.
“It’s okay,” I heard my husband say. “Don’t worry about it. Try again. This time keep your head down!”
It couldn’t be, but it was; the ball still sat on the wooden tee completely undisturbed by all the energy that had just swooshed by it. Focus, I told myself and tried again. Again, it defied contact. Ignoring every lesson I had ever taken, I swung the club like a baseball bat. A tiny chink assured me that I had at least nicked the ball. A soft plop pinpointed its placement approximately five yards to the right of me. I heard the sigh from the cart; it was going to be a long round.
By the third hole, tiny bugs had begun to swarm my face, my feet and all the uncovered areas of my body. I swatted, scratched and complained.
“No-see-ums.” My husband reached into his bag and pulled out an aerosol can. I sprayed a thick cloud around me and still they darted into my periphery, up my nose and down my throat. The tiny, aggressive monsters bit my ankles and chewed on my ears.
The temperature had gone from pleasant to hot and humid. The snug visor headband was beginning to give me a headache, and my cute pink and black skort stuck damply to the back of my thighs. I wanted to go home.
I endured several months of embarrassing performances. I didn’t improve. I played with the women’s group, and although I enjoyed their company, I would rather have had coffee and a donut with them at the local café. I did not admit this out loud.
“It takes practice,” my husband said. “You should go out and hit a couple buckets of balls.”
Hit a bucket of balls? All I wanted to do was curl up on the sofa and read a good book. The thought of facing another twenty years of the blasted game was depressing. It wasn’t a case of simply not liking the sport; in the land of golf, golf and more golf, it was a lifestyle choice. It was supposed to take us happily into our golden years. Could we re-think this, I wondered? Was there a retirement mulligan? But then what? I didn’t have a better idea. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up.
Unexpectedly, knee surgery took me off the course (smile). And, no, I didn’t do it on purpose. My mobility was very limited, so I began writing again to pass the time. I hadn’t written on a regular basis in years and had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed it. I pulled out my old stuff and revised it. I got up late at night to write down my thoughts. I filled page after page with stories and story ideas. I had become happily obsessed. I had found my niche.
It’s a beautiful day as I sit in our gazebo with my laptop, writing the next chapter of my book in progress. My husband waves as he leaves the sixth tee box, just yards away. We’ll meet at the club house for lunch where he will relate details of his round, hole by hole, between bites of a Rueben sandwich.
I watch the next foursome pull up to the tee. One of the men is dressed in bright orange from head to toe. I admire his bravado. He sets up his ball and takes an awkward swing. We all hear his shot as it ricochets between the trees. He takes some bawdy teasing from his friends. He demands a mulligan with an emotional tirade containing many interesting adjectives. Perhaps he should take up writing.
About this writer
- Rose Ann Sinay lives in North Carolina with her husband and dog where she spends her time writing. Her children graciously continue to provide her with moments worth preserving.