Last Thursday I played my first golf game ever. The first tee at the Presidio Golf Course is a doozy, a 362-yard drive that doglegs to the right so hard that you can’t see the green through the trees.
I squared up to the ball – somewhere I heard that’s what you’re supposed to do, square up – and ignored the stares of my companions, including my Dad and two guys named Billy and Gus. Everyone wondered how the new guy would do. I swung.
“Oooooooooohhh,” everyone said together.
It was all pretty much downhill from there.
On the third tee, I sent two balls into the berry bushes with such extreme prejudice that I probably created some tasty berry jam, if only I’d been able to find it, or the balls.
I sliced another ball so high into a stand of Monterey cypress that I thought it might just stay there. Then I saw the white dot fall. The ball landed on the asphalt path, and upon encountering such a hard surface it rocketed all the way across the adjoining fairway, where I had to make a walk of shame past another party of golfers. I did this not once but twice.
At least they didn’t yell at me, like the party of duffers behind us. My zigzagging, par-12 style was probably annoying them plenty. Then I landed in a sand trap (first of three times), fought my way out and walked off. “Hey! Clean the trap!” someone hollered. Ooops. I guess that’s what that rake next to the sand trap is for.
All of this was a blast, I’ll have you know. The nice thing about being a new-sport virgin is that everything you do is a personal best.
“That,” I told Dad after another ten-stroke disaster, “was the best fourteenth hole I have ever shot.”