Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A four letter word

There is a hole in the middle of my life these days.I have equated spring, summer and fall with golf season since I was finishing up kindergarten. The rhythm of my days relied on golf as a central theme. Now, with my back on the mend from surgery, golf is a four letter word.

The doctor said I could consider putting and chipping in moderation as an alternative. It reminds me of the Bill Cosby joke where a karate expert ruins his hand trying to break through a board, but continues his participation in the sport by breaking through marshmallows. Somehow, a taste of the four letter word just doesn't do it.

The worst part for me is not the inability to play, but the distance from everything associated with the game. For years, I have expended energy setting up Saturday tee times with my friends. This meant, until most recently, picking up the phone and using golf as a pretense to catch up with everyone on the events of consequence in their day or mine. Even with the advent of the world of computers, e-mails on matters personal seemed a part of the planning ritual.

Now the 'pre-gaming' is slipping away, as those still playing are basically in charge.

Of more significance, there is no anticipation. No more does the dream of what the next round can bring, take up space in my brain. There has definitely been an endorphin discharge even before picking up a club. While any consistency of swing has seemingly disappeared (which I now suggest has been wholly due to my subconscious concern for injuring my ever susceptible back) my dreams of a better tomorrow on the course have remained intact.

Fundamentally though I miss the social aspect of those hours when I am chasing after the ball. The weekly bonding, being free to tell bad jokes, listen to bad jokes, or soak myself in the many lows and occasional highs that all of us share, is the core of the experience for me. I am a social being and thus, even as my skills diminished, my love of being in the company of friends has not.

I have spoken to several of my buddies about the possibility of my meeting at the course and just walking around with them for 4 or 5 hours while they chase glory.I didn't quite get around to it last weekend, but I will soon.

I will count the mulligans (or Adens as we call it in honor of a friend no longer with us), watch the 3 putts, shake my head at the creative math on the scorecard and share in the all too infrequent thrill of the long birdie putt or chip in. That will have to be enough to plug up most of the hole until the doctor gives me clearance to create my own memories.


Anonymous said...

In other words you miss the FORE-play.

Robert said...

Now that is truly clever.