512 Words

A Game of Golf

M. Stanley Bubien

Golf. Now there's a sport I never really understood. And I've played. That's because my Dad was a golfer. Before I realized how truly bad I was, I'd wander the course with him and whack at the ball. If I was lucky, after twenty or so tries I might actually get something in the hole---though not necessarily the ball.

The last time I played, my father had invited me to join him and two friends the following morning.

"But I'm going surfing tomorrow," I replied.

"Can't you go later?"

And here's one of the things I don't understand about golf: it's a morning sport. These guys were getting up at six to be on the course by seven. Why? The golf course wasn't going anywhere. Surfing, however, required those solo morning sessions because the early-afternoon wind would blow the waves down and chop them up---the bane to any surfer's vision of perfection.

I turned to my father. True, I was nearing graduation and I'd soon be off to college, too far away to spend much time with him. And besides, wind or no wind, the waves had been tiny all week, and I knew it'd probably be the same tomorrow.

"Okay," I said.

The following day, we were on the course promptly at seven, putting along in our carts and sipping coffee. I was pretty self-concscious about my game, and for good reason---but the guys were all positive and encouraging---which in some ways made it more frustrating.

"Straight shot!" Mr. Kane, told me when I landed a hundred yards shy of the green. "You really swing that nine-iron!" my Dad cried after I launched a ball straight into the sky and out of sight. And Mr. Lenihan. He simply laughed and clapped me on the back when I sank one in the water.

Mr Lenihan---now there's another mystery when it comes to golf. He was the worse player of the bunch---well, next to me---and he'd been at it for years. Years! And he sucked. But he kept it up, and enjoyed every minute of it to boot.

Later that day, when Mr. Lenihan and I were both around a thousand over par, we ended up in the cart together. He had his arm around my shoulder and steered with one hand through the trees toward his ball. "Golfing's a great sport," he said and grinned at me. "You know why?"

I shook my head fervently. "Tell me. Please!"

"Because it's a chance to get out with your friends." And he inclined his head toward the green where Mr. Kane was making a putt while my father prepared to pull the flag from the hole.

Well, I went off to college as planned. Graduated too. And though I never golfed again, I still surf. But there's some mornings, sitting on my board all alone while I bob up and down waiting for the next wave, where I think that maybe, just maybe, it might be fun to get out there and whack a ball around again.

Copyright ©1997 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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August, 1997
Issue #16

512 Words