Have you ever loved doing something so much, but been so bad at it that you were too embarrassed to tell anybody about it?
Well, I love golf. I love the game, the style, the smell of freshly cut grass and standing in the sun all day long. I love the equipment and the accessories and everything there is to love about golf.
I'm the second worst golf player I've ever known.
My father is the worst. He played once during my life that I know of. After scaring the wild rabbits from their out-of-bounds habitat and clocking our host, Mark in the forehead with a three-iron, Dad hasn't been invited to play golf again. Ever.
My fear that I inherited my father's golf skills was verified a few years ago when I decided to play a bit one summer with my cousin James. First he took me to the driving range where I pulled several amateur moves such as losing my grip on my driver and making the ball spin so hard it flew backwards into the clubhouse. After a few weeks at the driving range I was hopping to try a real round of golf.
James reluctantly took me out to a local club and we played a slow, careful 18 holes. I did pretty badly, somewhere around 150 I think but it was a decent warm-up and I was satisfied I had finally played a full round of golf. Sadly, it would be the last time I ever approached competence on the golf course.
We went out to Glancaster golf and Country Club. The sun was shining, the wind was low and conditions were perfect. I sliced my first tee shot so badly some guy behind us laughed. During my recovery shot I ended up in the water. One hole got so bad it took me 18 strokes to sink the ball. My shots were all over the place, no consistency. One minute I'd fire off a reasonable shot, the next I'd be scrambling. It was a horrific, unholy mess.
I scored 188. I went home in abject shame.
But I wasn't deterred. We were out there the next week, back at Glancaster. Again the sun was shining, the wind was low and the conditions were perfect. Again my shots were all over the place. But I tried very hard and by about halfway through I was certain I was doing better. I hit a couple very sweet recovery shots including a beautiful shot out of the sand right to the pin. I was pumped. I knew my game was still off but I was doing better. I was happy.
We finished and James tallied up my score. He got very quiet for a long time and wouldn't look at me. Finally he turned to me and said, "I want you to keep in mind that your score is technically an improvement." I nodded and braced myself.
I scored 187.
I don't play golf anymore.
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