Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Shots from the Shade and...

Beauty of Nature

Some days a girl just needs a recreational break from her own head. Laughter is my greatest strength and the first one to go when I need it the most.  While walking a few days ago I passed this crooked old tree, walked up and gave her a hug.  Such beauty she radiates for those who slow down to breath and admire her resiliency.

And then an "Ah, ha" moment struck me while standing in her shade.

The next day, I drove out to the golf course and found places to practice "shots from the shade." Getting off my pity pot was a demanding job that day. I only wanted to moan about how poorly I'd been playing, but laughter and curiosity saved me. Under the shade trees with a spot in mind to land on, I practiced various shots from 60 yards, 80 yards, 110 yards on back. 

With my golf cart loaded with wet towels, two large glasses of water, a bottle of electrolytes, golf clubs, snacks, and my cell phone, I taxied around the course that day looking for empty golf holes and amazing locations from which to shoot.  My dad would scold me for even thinking about carrying such a distraction as a cell phone on  the golf course.

The dreaded "blind shot" is one of my favorites, perhaps because it is a creative challenge. Since I can't see the flag, I have to imagine the shot and location.  These are the moments when I just love my brain, but alas my brains and butt are not perfect. So I blamed the poorly hit shots on my lazy butt and congratulated my brain when the execution created a round of applause from the TV crowd.

Sometimes, a girl's just gotta laugh, and pretend to play like  Brooke Henderson, Canadian Open Champion .

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Letter to Dad

Dear Dad,

I wish you could be here to see the changes in golf in the last thirty years.  You'd be so impressed by the young women who can hit the ball 275+ off the tee, and they might be only fifteen years old!  Even my driver distance improved with the new technology in golf clubs and golf balls. When I was fifty-five I could still hit the ball farther than I did at eighteen.  I've kept my old persimmon MacGregor woods as a reminder of the beauty and difficulty of times past, but the heavy leather bags that tore at my shoulders have long since been given away.

This summer while playing in the WOGA Stroke Play Amateur at Dornick Hills, one of your old favorites,  I saw an old woman playing golf.  She swung the club exactly like you might have taught her, a smooth rhythmical swing that looks effortless, but judging from the distance I watched the ball fly, she hit the ball at least 10-30 yards less than a younger women.  This old woman played the cliff hole like an aging tree, moving stiffly in the wind. I felt the cracks of her spine that reflected the rugged cliff facing her.

Her 8 iron could no longer carry the cliff, her eyes seemed to have tears in them, but her resolve moved her stubbornly to the next shot and the next until her ball found its way to the top and onto the green.  Only then did I realize that I was that old woman, not someone I could point to and say, "When I'm that old I'll ...."

I sobbed silently that day, but kept my head steady and putted with skill and focus to make up for the lost yardage.

Dad, you've been on my mind constantly this summer because I remember with love and sorrow how difficult it was for me to watch you age.  Now I am understanding your pain daily when I get out of bed or play golf.  I watched how your burned and scared arms from that childhood fire stiffened your wrists causing you to cringe with every golf shot or hammer stroke. I noticed when your hips refused to rotate how the pain shot down your legs causing you to explain the "hitch in the get along", but you never stopped playing golf, Dad.  Sometimes weeks passed between rounds of golf.  You slowed down, took longer naps. Most importantly, you persevered and taught your two daughters by example.  Thank you, Dad