I got the golf clubs out of the closet on Sunday. They’ve been sitting there for a couple of years.
I had been thinking about getting back on the course. So I threw the bag in the trunk and drove up to Queensbury Country Club to hit a bucket of balls.
To understand my relationship with golf, you need only look at my bag. It was put together mostly through lawn sales. Some of the clubs in that bag, as well as the bag itself, have been around a long time.
I have two woods that are real wood. They might date from the 1950s. I used to have three woods, but the club face on one of them went flying off one day and it became a long stick I used to fish errant balls out of the water.
There’s an ancient pitching wedge, an old putter and a rusted 3 iron I never used because it’s too short. Somewhere along the line I broke down and bought a 4 iron and a 7 iron, which are the most modern clubs in the bag.
I wouldn’t trade that bag for anything. I never golfed enough to justify spending big money on equipment, and frankly, I really don’t need anything more. Pulling out a 5 instead of a 4 isn’t going to make a lot of difference to a guy who’s never broken 100.
Besides, the bag is a good conversation piece.
I used to play at a variety of local courses, but most often went to Bay Meadows, because it’s close to where I live. I’m sure the course liked me, too, since I donated so many fine golf balls to them. About a hundred of them went into the creek on No. 4.
The most I ever golfed in a year was perhaps a dozen times, back in the early 1990s. I thought at one point I would become a regular, but I never caught the fever.
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I like golf, or at least I liked it while I was playing more regularly. The courses are beautiful, the exercise is needed and the company tends to be good.
I like the challenge of getting the ball in the hole, but — and this is going to bother some of you who love the sport — I never cared enough to want to get better. I’d prefer a lower score to a higher score, but I never lost sleep on a night when I took a 10 on a par 4.
(Lest you get the idea that I’m some angry duffer who makes a mockery of the game — I follow the rules, I let people play through and I replace my divots. I may not care about being good, but I do respect the sport.)
So anyway, I got a medium bucket of balls on Sunday and hit the range. I started with the driver. Anything in the air sliced into the trees on the right, and anything straight put the worm population in grave danger.
I went to the 3 wood, which has always been my favorite club, despite the silver electrical tape firming up the base of the shaft. More balls for the trees; more worms culled from the grass.
It went on like this for a while. In my head I could hear the advice that former playing partners used to offer — “try a shorter swing ... keep your head down ... don’t lurch at the ball” — but the best I could manage was a couple of 150-yard low line drives.
Whatever I was looking for on the driving range was nowhere to be found. The urge to make a golf comeback was gone, driven away by the thought of hacking at one ball after another in the fairway.
The clubs went back into the closet, where they can do the least amount of damage.