Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's just a bucket of balls

Bill and I went to the driving range today for the first time in, oh, maybe 5 years. It's a long story, but suffice it to say that the last time we played golf it involved running out of gas on a country road at 7:30 am on a blistering hot Sunday. It took 5 long years to ease the memory.

We decided to give it another shot.

Loaded the car up with clubs, armed myself with a Groupon guaranteed to keep me in range balls for a long, long time, and headed out.

I got to my tee box, arranged my 3 clubs in the order I wanted to use them, placed my folded towel and a bottled water on a handy-dandy shelf, clipped back my hair with a barrette (très chic), picked up my 9-iron and stared at


Suddenly, I sensed what might have been a panic attack. To my right and left were people (ok, men, all men) patiently, happily, properly hitting their range balls with affirmative thwacks. All wore hats. I didn't have a hat. (Was it requisite?) Upon execution, they (the balls, not the men) lofted gracefully in the air and landed, I'm sure, exactly as intended.

I knew, without a doubt, that my attempts to connect club face with ball were going to have strange and embarrassing results. Ricochets off dividing walls, 3 foot dribbles off the tee, vertical pop-ups with posterior landings. I saw it all in my anxiety-ridden mind's eye.  I was also sure everyone was watching. Me.

But I'm gutsy so I inhaled deeply (and exhaled),  took a swig of water, stared at that bucket and thought (maybe even said aloud)

"You're only a goddamn bucket of balls"

I made my way through the bucket and was pretty bad. I topped a few, shanked a few more, didn't hit any farther than 80 yards, was doing something peculiar with my right elbow but damnit, I didn't have any whiffs and nor any of the horrors noted above and heard a few thwacks of my own.  Know what else? I had fun. And I learned something: I should probably take a few lessons.

The best part? As I was leaving, I saw a few hat-wearing men hit some god-awful shots.  It was delightful.

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