Golf – Day 56
There are two sports which I play and am competent at: hockey and tennis. The common thread with both is that I get to smack the hell out of a ball. Smacking the hell of the ball is my release and substitute for feeling the need to smack the hell out of something else in my day-to-day frustrations, whether that be a computer playing up, a human being on the end of an exasperating customer service call – the list could go on.
On the surface, golf has the potential to be a sport I really like. It seems to fit nicely within my preferred sporting criteria i.e. the ability to legally hit something. I was invited to bring a group of novices along with me for some expert tuition at my local golf club, Lanhydrock. Paul came along, with my friends Sarah, Harry and Chris, who seemed happy to pop their golfing cherry with me.
I have to confess that I’m not a complete novice at golf. My father, a keen golfer, used to teach me as a child. Home video footage shows little me, swinging clubs about on the beach or on walks, or in the park. On more than one video, Dad can be heard to indulgently remark to my mum in his Cornish twang “Ann, she’s got a good swing!” The trouble was that I wasn’t a very compliant student and didn’t want to hone my technique. I wanted to bounce about and build sandcastles. Dad finally gave up when I was 8, when he dragged me around a course and in trying to avoid the long route, I instead climbed over a fence, fell and face-planted straight into a muddy bog. I ended up in a flood of tears and Dad gave up on his golfing ambitions for me.
I didn’t mention any of this to Alister, our instructor, but inwardly I felt confident with this one. We went down to the driving range and selected our little holding pens, as Alister went through the stance required and how to set ourselves. I was eager to start clubbing some balls about and once he was satisfied we were holding the club correctly, off we went. I popped my ball on the tee and looked out to the 100 -150 yard markers, with confident expectation. I focused on the back of the ball, with my head still, as I raised my club and violently swung through. The ball smashed loudly to the wooden side of the area and dribbled pathetically onto the grass about a foot in front of me. Everybody laughed.
I brushed off my own humiliation and I tried again. This time, it went high and far. I carried on, attempting to recapture my childhood natural ability, which my father reminisces about to this day. As the session went on, I started to think of myself as Tigress Woods. I battered the ball about, lashing it here, there and everywhere. Some went straight, some sliced off in different directions but either way, I recaptured that lovely feeling of smacking a ball about and the release of tension which goes with it.
As my hockey career winds up, this may be the next sport of choice, although I am rubbish at crazy golf and I am not sure I would be able to do the pitching part very well either. I start to consider a new variation to golf, which would be perfect for me: relay golf. You play in a team, one person or the “Smacker” hits the first shot (that would be me), the next ball is hit by the “Pitcher” and the final shots are played by the “Putter.” I look around at the efforts of Paul and my friends and decide I would need to find a different team to compete with, as they clearly wouldn’t grace my new variation of the Ryder Cup.
Yes, I like golf. Alister encouraged me to take some lessons and maybe I will. If my relay golf idea doesn’t take off nationally, I will have to learn the other strokes required. We left the course after a cup of hot chocolate. I went to report back to Dad and whined at him that he should have made me continue with golf. In return, Dad smugly sat back with the unspoken words “I told you so” written all over his face.
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