Swingin’ in the Rain

Swingin’ in the Rain

swingin in the rain - tee shotRecently, I played a round of golf with my longtime golfing buddy Kevin. Kevin hates it when I refer to him by his actual name in my posts, so that’s how I will refer to him – because I just like to piss Kevin off. We were scheduled to play a round, but I called him an hour before our tee time to report that it was raining cats and dogs at my house. “Really? Well, it’s sunny and clear here,” he said. So against my better judgment – which judgment is shaky at the best of times – I decided to go ahead and play.

We were met at the course by the rest of our foursome, Ron and John. And just like Kevin had predicted, it was clear and dry – conditions that were going to change dramatically about fifteen minutes after we teed off.

Kevin and I have been playing golf together for 17 years. It has evolved into something of a rivalry. It often comes down to the final hole before Kevin knows for sure whether he beat me by double digits or just single. You see, Kevin is a really good golfer and, with rare exceptions, I allow him to beat me – mostly to placate his fragile male ego, which shatters like broken glass if he loses to me in anything. And also because he is the far superior golfer.

Ron, John, Kevin and I teed off at the first tee. Kevin hit a gorgeous drive 270 yards straight down the middle of the fairway. Then it was my turn. I smiled as my ball landed eerily close to Kevin’s – by which I mean 100 yards closer to the tee box and banana-sliced 40 yards into the right-side woods. Oh yeah. The game was officially on.

As we reached the second hole, I noticed a few gentle droplets of rain. Kevin shook it off. He was sure it would pass. His smart phone’s weather app said it was going to be mostly sunny by afternoon. But at 8:15am, the sky was looking foreboding, like the skies over Mordor. As Kevin headed up the second fairway and I headed due east into the right-side forest, I noticed the raindrops were coming down harder. Wisely, I had decided to bring a jacket. Unwisely, I’d soon discover it repelled water about as effectively as toilet paper. And I forgot my golf cap.

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Is your self-esteem a little too positive? Why not try golf?

Is your self-esteem a little too positive? Why not try golf?

When I’m feeling a little too good about myself – a little too self-assured – nothing brings me back down to earth, to my normal state of self-loathing and despair, like five hours of nonstop futility and embarrassment. No, I’m not talking about the time I spent writing last week’s blog article (although I can see why you might have jumped to that conclusion).  I’m talking about golf.

Nothing reminds me of how inadequate I am like spending half a day in nature, searching in vain for tee shots gone terribly awry, in pursuit of lost golf balls hidden like buried treasure deep in the woods. Which leads me to this poignant ethical question:

If you lose your tee shot in the woods and in the process of looking for your lost ball find another ball, which your golfing partner does not notice, how many yards closer to the fairway can you move your new ball to improve your lie?

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