Life "After (Kinda) Golf"

A customer once came into the Karl Road Library, (where I worked from 1988-1995) and asked one of our reference librarians if we had a golf course directory for Central Ohio.

"Yes," she answered "he is up at the Circulation Desk."

That would be me.

I'm thinking about this because a week or so ago I saw a story on ESPN about the Bob Hope Classic. This was the third tournament of the year on the PGA tour, and golf had not even been on my radar.

What the heck?

An obsession gone awry?

Yes, in the long ago and far away - I was a golf nut.

Now don't get me wrong, I still love the game. It's just not at the forefront for me right now and takes a different place in my life.

There's a few reasons for this, but primarily it comes down to two things - time and money.

The money of course is self-explanatory. In a tough economy there are some choices to be made about where your dollar should go.

But believe it or not, (because I know I talk about it all the time) money is not the major player in this equation.

No, the biggest factor is time.

I once had a friend who I played golf with quite a bit. One summer it seemed we were playing about once each week. The next summer not so much, and the next, well, hardly at all.

So I asked him about it:

Me: Hey, what's up? You used to play golf all the time. Now, not so much?

My Buddy: I'm busy with the kids Jim.

Me: I'm busy with the kids too. I still play golf.

My Buddy: It's different. My kids are older. You'll understand one day. I promise.


Flash forward to Jimmer about 4-5 years ago when both girls started playing sports and got involved in more "after school stuff." Suddenly there were games to go to, and activities to attend, and everybody needed a ride...

Holy heck - as another Buddy put it: "Jim, when I do get a day off where I might have played golf before, I just want to take the day off."

Couldn't agree more Bill, and yes Mark I do understand now.

Since 2004 my average number of golf rounds have dropped from 35-40 each summer to somewhere in the neighborhood of 8, maybe 10. In the summer of 2007 I played maybe 5 times as I separated my shoulder playing hockey shortly after our golf tournament in June and wasn't fully healthy, (well, as healthy as I was gonna get) until November. Last summer I had an emergency appendectomy, (Is there ever an appendectomy that isn't an emergency?) and played about 6 rounds total.

Every year from 1989 to 2004 or so, Annette and I attended the Memorial Tournament. It was our annual week-long extravaganza, sitting in the sun or standing in the rain, spending an obscene amount of money on souvenirs (I think they should pay me a royalty fee for all their clothes that I wear), and food and beverages (best Bloody Mary in Columbus that isn't homemade). We always loved walking the course, and after 2000 (I think) talking about how I had parred numbers 11 and 12 when I had played my round there.

Yes, I have played the Muirfield Village Golf Course. It cost me an obscene amount of money. So much that I will not post it here. We took one picture of our foursome that day and Meijers lost it in processing - a crushing blow, and yet another argument for digital cameras. I do still have the scorecard. No, you can't see it. I played like someone grinding it out on a course where I was overmatched. I'd actually love to play it now that I have no expectations of my game. I'd have more fun, and enjoy it more. Still, it was a once in a lifetime experience, and I am grateful I had the opportunity.

One year we decided that though we had the tickets in hand, we would be better served to use that money elsewhere. So we sold them to a friend. The next year we took a one time only chance to opt out of our season ticket holder status. The year after that we decided we really didn't need to keep our place on the waiting list after all. (There is no longer a waiting list by the way.)

Of course I still watched golf regularly, well until about 2006 when my favorite golfer, David Duval's exempt status for the major tournaments ran out. He wasn't playing much at that point anyway and I was too busy to find a new fave. Oh, I like Tiger as much as the next guy, but I wasn't about to jump on his band wagon.

Besides I really just like to see good competitive golf and Tiger has been walking all over everybody for quite some time. When Tiger is not playing I think it can be kinda boring. As you may or may not know, Tiger missed the second half of last season - and so did I.

I actually found myself watching racing more than anything else, which a few years ago would have just seemed wrong.

But it's all I've had time for, and I could turn on a race, work in my office, and look up during pit stops, or for a few important laps and, yes, for wrecks too. I could be interested without being committed. If you try to only look up once in a while during golf - you see nothing but a lot of 2 foot tap-ins. Trust me.

I think golf requires a different commitment, both from a viewing and a playing standpoint.

I think one of my greatest accomplishments, (yes for my whole life) is that in 1998 I made the decision to reduce my golf handicap. I spent one evening each week practicing. I arrived early for almost every round I played so I could warm up properly. I dedicated myself to my golf game for the entire summer. In the end I reduced my handicap by almost 7 full strokes.

This is a pretty significant accomplishment for a golfer at any level. I generally lack the ability to be this disciplined so this was quite an accomplishment for me personally.

Not a lot of things in my life have brought this out in me.

Obviously I love golf "that much."

What happened?


Fancy Nancy said...

Well Jimmer, there is a time when the kids will be grown and you will have time to get back into golf. After ten (count them 10!) years of ZERO golfing, I finally got back into golf last year. I am as hooked as I ever was and enjoy it a heck of a lot more than I used to. It is also good for my bones, esp. my back, due to early osteoporosis - yes I walk and carry my bag - which is of course a new criss-cross strap design.

How about this? My DH and I spent our 20th wedding anniversary golfing 6 courses at Myrtle Beach last Sept. and neither he nor I were the ones holding the foursome back!

Here's to being grateful one kid is graduated and the other almost, so I can look forward to a summer of golf again each year. It will happen for you too!

Oh, did I mention looking for a golf retirement location yet? I LOVE GOLF!!

Kathy Hennessy said...

I had classes with Duval's wife at Tech - she was a brunette then...

But I digress - if you ever want to feel good about your game - take me! Last time I was golfing, I was on my 12th shot off the 5th hole, and I felt a sting on my left leg. I looked behind me, and there was a ball, and a fellow at running toward me yelling "sorry, sorry, sorry". Upon reaching me, he explained that he noticed I was hitting my 12th shot and he was teeing off, and figured, there was NO way that he would be able to hit me.

He was wrong.

I don't clutter up the course anymore - tennis is easier anyway. Bigger ball, bigger target, less opportunities to look like a complete friggin idiot... :o)

Jim Brochowski said...

I know I'll find the time one day. I'm just really surprised at the turn around in such a short period of time. Netter and I both do love to golf, and she is the one who actually got me started watching it on t.v. - and it was originally her idea to buy the Muirfield tickets. Maybe we will make that trip and get back into the game.

Nancy - a golf retirement location - Brilliant! I'll blame, I mean I'll tell Netter it was an idea inspired by you.

Butch, I didn't know Duval's wife went to Tech. I know he was engaged to Julie somebody, (starts with an M) and she booted him one year during a practice round for the Phoenix Open. Ruined his career I think. (Insert much namecalling here.)

The way I played last summer. It sounds like we might make perfect golfing partners.

Tennis = waaaay more exercise than this old body is used to. And I suck at that too. ;-)