Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Golf Gypsy: Oh, What a Day!

Salina Country Club decorations.
A mathematician might tell the story this way:

Expenses  6/25/13    $ 90.00
Income   6/25/13          -3.00 
Total cost                $537.00  excluding gas

But the reader might miss the story with simple numbers.

Instead, the day was  filled with moans, ah ha's, four letter expletives, cheers, and lots of laughter.  It began with a benign early morning retreat to the hot tub with the moon shining down and the orioles chirping over the orange marmalade.  By 6:15 in the morning I was driving to Salina to meet my friend, Peggy Anderson, for a golf tournament.  Other than a flare of road rage from a trucker over another trucker the drive was uneventful, and I managed to pick Peggy up at the Subaru dealership, where her car was being serviced, and drive to Salina Country Club.

The tempo began to change at a stop light on Crawford, one mile from the club,  when the policeman behind me on a motorcycle glaringly flashed his lights in my rear view mirror; I could have sworn sirens were blaring, but why me?  A block later I pulled over and learned that driving 50 in a 40 mph zone caused the uproar and a ticket.  What was I to do, but sign on the line and smile.  He said, "I hope you can manage to have a good day, it's going to be a scorcher."    I just thought, I'm on my way to a golf tournament with a friend, it will be a good day.  Besides I knew he had another 40 years of work facing him, and those black uniforms must be hot.  (cost $90)

The formalities of a golf tournament, registration, practicing, following the rules and time schedule flowed smoothly.  My mind began to think of Ben Hogan's phrase, "Always walk slowly to the first tee and set the tempo for yourself."  However, at the first tee I discovered that my Bushnell range finder was missing from my bag.  Even though my body had moved slowly and gracefully, my mind began to race and fret over the lost item. With some deep yoga breathing, I decided I was in control of myself and could either enjoy the day or lose my concentration and my game.  Off and for several holes I dug throughout my bag knowing I would NEVER lose such a needed item.  At last I called Prairie Dunes, when I had a free moment.  No one had turned in a lost range finder, and believe me I checked for messages throughout the day.  I texted my husband, "Please look in the garage. I must have cleaned my bag and left it there."  Several holes later the reply read, "No range finder."  Frustration led to acceptance...this must be an age thing! (replacement cost $250.)

I kept looking for silver linings and found it in a perfect 3 wood shot.  I hit my 3 wood as far as my driver and had been shopping for a new driver even though I knew it would cost nearly $200.   I was willing to try anything to get more yardage.  In that perfect swing, I had a talk with myself.  "How did I do that and why don't I do that with my driver?"  The next hole I hit my driver, like my three wood, meaning I kept my left knee down and flexed, hips level, and rotated through to the target line!  Ah, Ha!  Just like that my driver began to go the distance and my heart and head fluttered with excitement.  (I had just saved myself or Jack $200)  The day was not a disaster.

Next, I hit a target focues 8 iron to a par three with the wind behind me and made a birdie putt.  Since, my friends and I are in the "2 Club" I earned $3.00 with that putt.  Cheers and jubilation!  (Earned $3.00 toward paying off my ticket.)

Daisy dishes for prizes.
Eighteen holes later we returned our clubs to the car, searched again for the missing range finder, checked for replies, asked in the clubhouse, then walked into the dining room proud of our golf game, but dejected over the range finder that I had lost.  The meal at Salina Country Club was delicious, as always, the decorations creative, and then they called our names for 2nd place in our flight, and my name for closest to the pin on the par 3 where I won my $3.00  Cheers again.  (Received two blue daisy designed bowls and a plate for serving appetizers.)  I knew it would be a fun day.

At last, we were ready to leave, but my heart skipped a beat when my fingers did NOT find the car keys in my purse.  I grimly smiled and grumbled at Peggy, "Can't find my keys!"  Hopping back out of the car onto the steamy hot asphalt pavement, I was too tired and too mad to pull out both bags and dig, so instead I walked over to the back right door (SUV's allow this)  and opened it.  From there I could reach into the pockets on my golf bag and dig for the keys.  Suddenly, my fingers touched a solid object.  Frustrated words began form on my lips as I pulled out the missing range finder, that had somehow slipped up and out of touch with my compartments on the golf bag.  "Peggy," I screamed, "I found it.  All the time it's been in my bag!" then I slammed the car door shut.

Peggy calmly asked, "What about the keys, Letty?"  I stopped, laughed, and once again reached into various pockets on the golf bag until I found the keys.  Now we could drive to the Subaru dealership and poor Peggy could drive home without anymore excitement from her friend that day.  (Finding the range finder saved us $250.)  Oh, what a day!

A check for $90 will be in the mail tomorrow to the Municipal Court in Salina, KS.
Golf, it's not that hard.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Golf Gypsy: Turning Over a New Leaf

There are some pretty amazing women in the world, young and old, and I've been fortunate to meet so many of them.  One recently turned my head and made me think.

We had just completed a golf tournament called Triple Threat, which is fun partner event.  It is, also, quite a challenge since the teams play three different formats in 18 holes:  four-ball, scramble, and modified alternate shot.  My advice is to make sure you and your partner know how to laugh and make no apologizes for errant shots. My partner, Mary Lee Evans, and I were laughing and remarking about being tired and out of shape for golf this season.  Now usually words like that get many more commiserating comments from those around the table.

The four of us who played together that day are all "Seniors."  Mary Lee just celebrated her 72 birthday and is a passionate player of golf and life, so we both realize that age is just a number.  Natasha Fife played with a friend from Rolling Hills Golf Course, Betty Hall.  Betty doesn't hit the ball far, but she hits it straight and rolls putts like a hawk zooming down on its prey.  Noticing that we were all older than the young women at our table, Mary Lee turns and asks, "Betty how old are you?"

Betty just smiled and her eyes gleamed, "I'm 86."

Betty and Tash at Prairie Trails Golf course.

I'm thinking, she's 86 and still competes.  How exciting, she's like the little engine that could.  It's not just a story. It's for real.

Mary Lee continues, "How often do you play golf?"

Slowly, Betty tilts her head and looks around the table, "Well, I play on Tuesdays."  There was a long pause, giving me time to think.  That seems about right.  At that age I'd be happy to play once a week.   Betty continues, "Then I play every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday."

My mouth dropped open and Mary Lee nearly leaped out of her chair, restating incredulously, "You play three days in a row besides Tuesdays?  Don't you get tired?"

I'm enthralled because there are days I have no energy after one round of golf much less three days in a row.

Betty looks at us both and smiles, "No, I just play golf.  It's not hard."

Thank you Betty.  I drove home that day and for awhile I thought about being tired.  I've been tired since I started my career in teaching and raising kids, so it just seems normal at the end of the day to say, "I'm tired."   I've had time to think, "Am I really tired or is it just a bad habit I have."  After hearing Betty's words replayed, "I just play golf.  It's not hard."  I've turned over a new leaf, and a really heavy leaf--It is time to stop complaining about being tired.

Since I gave up Dr. Pepper this year I think I can refrain from old words and change bad habits.  Last week I played three days of tournament golf and then a fourth day with Jack.  Let's just say I slept well those nights.  In those four days, I spent time with friends and loved ones, felt the wind and rain in my face, relaxed watching dozens of goslings nestle with their mothers near the waters edge, looked for the red foxes, laughed at stories, watched the flowers grow, and discovered that I felt refreshed.  I just enjoyed life, it's not hard.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Golf Gypsy: Easy Breezy

NOT READY FOR STATE!  Holy Cow, the wind doth blow, and yet, we golfers show up for those all important tee times and play when we can barely stand up.  Then again, I've passed bicyclists on the narrow roads and worry as they weave sideways in the wind and cars pass them, so maybe golfers, joggers, tennis players are just simply people who enjoy the out of doors.
Letty and Barb G.

My golf gypsy friends even drive miles and miles just to play Prairie Dunes, no matter what the weather.  Hairstyles, not to worry.  We are there to have fun and create memories. As my friend Kathy Thomas repeats to us, "Swing Easy when it's Breezy."  Following her advice is often difficult when my body just wants to hunker down and swing hard into the 25 mph winds.
Sherrie W. and Barb B.

Memorial Day weekend 2013 and the days following proved that Kansas Winds can blow, and we can still enjoy the day out of doors.  Speaking only for me, I know it is friendship that pushes me out the door to play golf when my five senses are screaming, "What ever are you thinking!   The winds are gusting 30-45 mph and you could be inside reading a good book!"   Since my golf game has not proven itself this year, I can't really blame my scoring on the wind, but then again there were a few putts and chips that rolled past the hole and off the green like a jet at take off causing my score to increase by two or three.  Sometimes I think the weather creates tall tales or at least humorous stories, as we try to out do each other with lines like "Well you should have seen my shot on 12 when my ball careened off two trees and landed plugged in the sand trap!" or "I had a three foot birdie putt on #2 and took a triple bogey!" and the best one yet,  "I was only 100 yards out into the wind and hit my driver!"

Dedication and perseverance are certainly strong traits of golfers, but the most important is a willingness to laugh at ourselves.  We are NOT pros.   Next week, the Senior Women Golfers of Kansas will be playing in our state tournament, more than likely in windy conditions or blowing rain.  Like other games in life it is the friendships that bring us together.  We are not on this earth very long; we weep when our friends and family pass away, perhaps that is one more reason to join in the game of life.

To my friends:  a Toast to those who've played the game and touched our lives, and to those we'll share some time with this summer.  Thanks for the memories.
Peggy does the happy dance.  We love our birdies.