by Linda L. Osmundon
I took up golf along with my husband when he decided his public affairs responsibilities required he play. Besides, golf gave us something to do together. Most of all, in the coming years as his transfers continued to uproot us, golf served as my vehicle to meet new people.
Right after our first lessons he accepted the sixth of nine transfers. I grabbed my clubs, headed to a local course and joined a nine-hole group which consisted of all levels of play.
More lessons and consistent play dates improved my game - some. The next time we moved, I assured the new chairman that I was no “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias. She promised the non-handicap, lady golfers didn’t care.
I arrived the first day, nerves barely in check. My putts zipped past the first cup three times. On the next eight holes, I whiffed, caught the bunker, lost one in the rough, and drowned another. Yet, my partners encouraged me. “Besides,” they insisted, “if we were really good, we’d be on the LPGA tour.”
That day I forgot to enjoy all the pleasures of golf - fresh air, sunshine and new friends. I even mentioned home and housework. A player informed me that while on the golf course “we never use four-letter words - like iron, wash, dust or cook.”
Competition never played a major role in our games. I competed with myself and occasionally took more lessons. They hindered my game for weeks afterward. Each time I addressed the ball I reviewed my lesson litany: eye on the ball, knees bent, chin down, left elbow straight and club all the way through the ball.
One day the group played a new nine-hole, executive course. The lessons still hampered my game. My friends and amiable golf companions sympathized with my lack of good shots and terrible score.
We approached the ninth hole – a 135 yard par three with the pin up an incline at the back of the green about ten more yards.
I stepped to the tee. Took a practice swing then hit the ball. “Yea,” I exclaimed. “I finally hit a good one.”
Another player added, “It rolled up the hill but then I lost it.”
“It’s long gone. I shouldn’t have used my driver.” Everyone claimed their ball and helped me search for mine. After a couple of minutes, one player gave up and said, “Did anyone look in the hole?”
“Why?” I snickered. “No chance of it being there.” I pushed aside more grass while our other foursome waited patiently on the tee box behind us.
“Well, look in the hole anyway,” she said.
“Okay, but, I’m telling you, it’s not there.” I traipsed to the flagstick and peered in the cup. I threw my arms in the air along with my wedge and putter. Everyone raced to my side. We stood, spellbound, and stared at the ball like it might jump out of the cup and grab us.
One player flailed her arms and glanced around. “Where are the cameras?”
We howled with laughter and bounced in a circle, our arms wrapped around each other like teenagers - albeit gray-haired teenagers. We waved and yelled at our friends on the tee box. They shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads. Men on the next green stopped putting and stared. I didn’t care what they thought.
My hole-in-one wasn’t skill, I admit. It was the encouragement of good friends and lots of luck. That’s golf.
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