If we were having a beer we could talk history , or we could talk weather , or we could talk beer . We could talk sports , but it would be a short conversation . I don’t follow sports , I will admit . I feel un-American , at times , because of that fact , and possibly even a bit of an
alien mole hiding within the male universe . But , hey , it is what it is .
Now that we’re on the subject of sports for a moment , and not beer , let me drop a couple of bits of information about my experience with golf .
I don’t remember knowing any golfers when I was a kid . Oh , yeah , President Eisenhower golfed . But , after all , Ike was the President . President’s golfed . Millionaires used to have strings of polo ponies . But them were them and us were us . We California kids back then played baseball , football , and basketball , we swam and some of us surfed , and we didn’t know anything about soccer , or polo , jai lai , or golf . We played handball , too , the kids’ version with the big red rubber ball , and hula hoops for a couple of years , and we threw plastic Whammo boomerangs around , and we played dodgeball with varying degrees of viciousness . But not golf .
So , several years back , a friend of mine at work talked me into heading out to the driving range with him . He and his wife and I took a couple of lessons at Griffith Park . Then I got the prized invitation to join the golfers from work for a game .
To make a long story short , I didn’t read the signals carefully enough . Golf is a serious enterprise to golfers . I mean highly serious . When I admitted that I hadn’t been practicing at the range that week ………………. I mean , the stern looks I got could have stopped a city bus . I was told to hit that driving range multiple times per week , and that admonition was not negotiable .
I had started out with buying two or three old clubs at the Salvation Army Store , and a well-worn golf bag . I was ready !
I was at the driving range one day , knocking that little puckered ball out onto the grass , when the end of my club broke off and flew out farther than the golf ball . The man in the booth announced my innovation to the proceedings over the loud speaker and stopped the other golfers while a grounds person went over to retrieve the end of my club. I returned the looks of my fellow practicers with grace and dignity . Odd things happen sometimes. Maybe none of them had seen this happen before ; but it happened . Deal with it ! That’s the message I was sending with my reassuring smile as I looked these people in the eyes , one at a time and as a bunch .
I took a golf lesson , once , several years ago , in Poland . It was my first intro to playing the game .The golf pro teacher had spent some time in USA .
” You used to play baseball , ” he said to me , out of the blue .
” Yeah . ”
My brother , Tom , who was a golfer , felt sorry for me with my second-hand clubs . He offered me a great set of Ping clubs . He was upgrading his set . Suddenly I had the proper tools of the trade so that I could appear to be a golfer . I played a few games with my work buddies , but I didn’t seem to improve much at all , and they lost interest in letting me string along . I just didn’t take the game seriously enough for them , and I was told rather inelegantly to bug out . I was told to hit that driving range until I worked my skills up to their level before they’d consider letting me rejoin their little golf group.
Maybe you think I’ll say that I was devastated , depressed , deeply insulted in face of this snub . I wasn’t . It was , by that time , pretty much a mutual decision . I had some misguided notion , starting out , that I’d be playing primarily for fun , but there’s a lot more to the psychology of golf than merely knocking a little ball around with a bunch of people wearing special shoes just for the fun of it .
The world’s problems are discussed , I guess , on the links ( along with handicaps and golf scores and pro golfers ) . That’s why our presidents all seem to golf , I suppose . Solutions to giant enigmas are , no doubt , hashed and re-hashed as Mr. President , whichever one it may be at the time , putts and drives and tests the wind direction .
Or , maybe on the other hand , these important people just make competitive bets with one another as my buddies did , sulk after bad golf days , and trade quickly -counted stacks of cash payoffs after the game while drinking cold beers and munching on spicy chicken wings in the clubhouse bar .
I briefly considered making a plan to join these guys in the clubhouse during beer time , but since I wouldn’t have contributed to the green fees , I think , they probably would have given me the evil eye , as if I had crashed an exclusive party . I anticipate a low tolerance for non-golfers attempting to lift a carefree pint when carefully counted losses are changing hands . That’s important stuff . The fate of the world could depend on it .