Well, my wife and I made a fairly big decision Saturday afternoon and signed the family up for a GreatLIFE Worthington Country Club membership. I haven’t been a member of any golf course for well over a decade, so in my mind it’s sort of a big deal. We — Bec and I, along with the kids — will need to make sure we get our bang for the buck and play enough rounds of golf to make our purchase worth it. Of course, there’s fitness equipment and other amenities, too, but golf is my primary attraction here.
The question is, how long until it becomes my primary aggravation?
There’s an absolutely hilarious Robin Williams comedy routine about the invention of golf (I’ve seen both G-rated and decidedly R-rated versions) that really illustrates the level of intense frustration golf can bring. Unfortunately, I have an embarrassing tendency to require my own R-rating when on the links. Many times I’ve tried to commit myself to simply relaxing and enjoying being outside and playing a fun game, only to see that commitment broken by the second hole. Of course, one great shot in the midst of countless bad ones conjures up more than enough magic in the mind to send me out for more punishment the next time.
At least, it once did. After playing pretty regularly — maybe three or four times a week — in the late 1990s, I’d cut way back by 2003. I think it’s safe to say in the last four or five years, I’ve played no more than four or five times each year. All kinds of responsibilities (work, family, community) have gotten on the way, but now that Grace and Zach are learning and enjoying golf, the hope is that family time and golf time will blend together nicely. I just have to remember the words former Daily Globe Publisher Dennis Hall told me on the course back in 2001: “Ryan, show some decorum!” Being a role model, in this case, will require a firm biting of the tongue.
I remember, when I was in elementary school, there was an NBA player named Jan van Breda Kolff that my brother and I frequently laughed at because of his name. (Funny, I know, coming from a pair of McGaugheys). At any rate, at one point we started using “Jan van Breda Kolff!” as a replacement for the name of the Son of God when upset about something. Maybe I could adopt something akin to that, though a made-up sobriquet of some kind would likely be an improvement over choosing, say, the name of an obscure basketball player as a profanity substitute.
If anyone reading this has ever happened to see me play golf, though, they might at least appreciate the occasionally unfortunate way I express myself. On average, I can hit a drive right down the center of the fairway. That’s because I either strike the ball well off to the left or well off to the right. There is very little in-between.
I’m anticipating a bit of improvement this summer if I can at least get out fairly regularly, but I also know that I can’t do it alone. Perhaps the Butch Harmon of Worthington will spot me from a distance, walk over, take five or 10 minutes of their time and convert me into a golfer who doesn’t carry a handicap of somewhere near infinity. Or, perhaps a monk will walk the course, see me on the verge of a freak-out and teach me how to say “Om” repeatedly after an errant shot.
Seriously, though, I’m looking forward to a great summer of golf with the wife and kids. If I play well, fantastic. If I play poorly, life will go on. If I play poorly and the kids play great — and don’t act like their dad has been known to act — that’s even better.