Change is inevitable …

May 27, 2011

… but how we handle it is optional.

At the golf course the other day, when my friends and I approached the third tee, there was an older woman just sitting on the bench in the tee area, gazing out across the course.  When we walked up we said “Hi” and exchanged a few words with her about the weather (and that, for once, it wasn’t raining!).  She was pleasant but I thought she looked a little sad.  And I guess she felt she had to explain why she was sitting there, because she told us that her husband was playing a round and she was waiting for him.

A few holes later, I saw an older man I recognized on an adjoining fairway.  He is tall and wears a distinctive hat.  And I suddenly put two and two together.  For the four years I have played alot at this course, I have regularly seen that man and now I realized the woman we had just talked to, playing this course together.  Because they were always there, no matter what weekday I was there, I think that they must have played the course almost every day.

I don’t know why she wasn’t playing now, but it made me sad to see him playing alone, knowing that his favorite partner was back there sitting on a bench waiting for him.  But then it occurred to me to look at it another way — it’s great that he still brought her along and that she still chose to come along, even though she couldn’t play.  Good for both of them.

A first NOT to be celebrated!

September 17, 2010

There are lots of “firsts” I would love to celebrate.  Two that come to mind are a hole-in-one in golf and reaching my goal in Weight Watchers.

But not all “firsts” in life are to be celebrated.  Two of THOSE which come to mind are … your first adolescent pimple that made you realize you didn’t inherit your mother’s perfect skin … and the first time (many, many years later) when you realize, “That person is treating me like I’m old!”

Yesterday I had another of those not-so-great firsts.

It was a very windy day and my golf league was playing the second week of the tournament which is the culmination of our season.

My two playing partners and I were on a green, ready to putt.  I was furthest away from the hole so I should putt first.  Neither of them was between me and the hole so there didn’t seem to be any reason to ask either of them to mark their ball.

I visually lined up my putt … it was about 6 feet. Certainly not a “gimme” for me, but I had been putting pretty well so I was hopeful.  I struck the ball with just about the right club speed and it headed for the hole.  But when it got a couple feet from the hole, it suddenly veered to the right.  It wasn’t going very fast by that time, so even though it was obviously not going to go in the hole it looked like it was going to stop pretty close to the hole.  But, even though going very slowly, it just continued to roll … and very slowly rolled right up to another ball and ever so slightly tapped it.

I have never hit someone else’s ball when putting … ever!  I knew there was a penalty for doing that but was really surprised when one of my partners looked it up in the rules … and the penalty was TWO STROKES!  Rats.

I hadn’t thought about the wind having been a factor until a group of us were having lunch afterwards and several of my friends said they had seen the wind change the direction of one of their putts.

So, I don’t feel quite so bad about this awful “first” now, because I’m going to assume it was a wind-assisted “first”, so not totally my fault.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

A fitting remembrance

July 21, 2010

Phyllis was a long-standing member of our golf league who died a few months ago.

A group of her friends got together and looked for a way to appropriately honor and remember Phyllis.  They hit on the idea of having a tree planted at the golf course in her honor.

This tree was planted at the beginning of the golf season in memory of Phyllis.  It is to the left of the fairway near the first hole’s tee. (A plaque has since been placed at its base with her name on it.)

Whenever I approach the first tee and notice “Phyllis’ tree”, I can see her smiling face and can picture her teeing off  from that very spot.

What a wonderful way to honor a golfer.  I know Phyllis would be so pleased.

Bad Timing for Praise

June 5, 2009


I played golf in my league yesterday morning with Judy, a very good golfer who has belonged to the league many years and Joan a golfer who had just joined and I had just met.

As we were waiting to tee off, being the “conversationalist” I am, i.e., someone who thinks that silent moments are to be avoided at all costs, I babbled on and on to Joan about Judy being such an excellent golfer.  I have only played with Judy a few times over the past two seasons that I have belonged to the league, but I have been impressed with her as just a quiet, very pleasant, quality golfer.  It never occurred to me that there might be a downside to sharing that with Joan in front of the quiet, not-in-any-way-boastful Judy.

And then we teed off.  I won’t go into the stroke-by-stroke details of the first two holes, but I will say that I would guess Judy played probably the worst two holes she has ever played in many, many years, or maybe ever!

Now, because Judy is a quiet, dignified lady, she just kept hitting the ball and never swore or even looked flustered, and by the third hole she was back on her game.  But, for those first two holes I could not have felt worse, because I’m pretty sure my glowing praise to a new player in front of Judy had played with her mind a little bit (believe me non-golfers, golf IS a game of the mind, as much as physical) and caused her two-hole slump.

So, I tell you this for two reasons.  1.  I need to remind myself that sometimes even good things can be said at inappropriate times and cause bad results.  and 2.  Maybe my embarrassing experience will save you from a similar fate sometime.

I guess what impressed me the most is that Judy never in any way acted like she blamed me for those two holes, so either she is a wonderful actress or a saint!  Whichever she is, because she was so kind in the face of my gaff, she will always be a favorite of mine, and, just because of how nice she is, I would guess she would even team up with me again!

It’s All Relative, Isn’t it?

May 20, 2009


In my golf league last week, I was in the group with Linda N.  This is my third season in the league, so I have gotten to know the very nice Linda a little bit, but have avoided saying her last name, because it is a little hard to pronounce.

But, since we were playing together, I talked to her about the pronunciation and practiced it while we were playing.

After I had screwed up several attempts to pronounce the name, I said to Linda, “Have you ever remembered some guy named something like “Bill Smith” you knew when you were single and thought how much easier life would have been if you had married him?” 

She laughed and said, “No.  My maiden name was Russian … this one is like “Smith” compared to it!”

It really is all relative, isn’t it?

And using the name Smith as the prototypical “easy” name, reminds me that I used to deal with a truck salesman in Canada with that last name but it was spelled “Smythe”.  So, even though his name sounded simple, he ended up explaining it too.

Ah, Fall

October 11, 2008


I played golf yesterday with two friends, who were surprised to see me put my camera in my golf bag.  I told them I wanted to get pictures of the beautiful red berry trees at the back of the 9th green.  They said, without me even asking (!), that that was fine, as long as I wasn’t going to be taking pictures of them playing golf.  Hmmmm.  Welll, I may have had that thought in the back of my mind, but I was most interested in just getting some shots of those berry trees and this beautiful Fall day.  So, no pictures of golfers, just of the golf course.

I have no idea what kind of trees these are, but they are just full of red berries, which I assume must be poisonous because I would think birds would be all over them if they weren’t.  And I didn’t see one bird near them.

The trees are beginning to turn, the air was cool, and it was just a perfect day to be outdoors.

I like the old barn that the golf course uses as their maintenance building.


Especially the doors.

But, I hear it’s going to be torn down and replaced.  I understand that as a practical business decision, but in my heart, I wish it didn’t have to happen.

Everything in this picture was just pretty much green, so I like it best as a black and white which I think emphasizes the pretty shadow.

Golf, or any outdoor activity, can be very relaxing, if you don’t worry excessively about your score, and just enjoy being outside in the fresh air with enjoyable companions.

May you find a reason today to be outdoors and enjoy this beautiful time of year.

p.s.  The one thing I truly miss is the smell of burning leaves, which used to be so common this time of year. 

You Just Hit the Ball in the Hole — How Hard Can it Be?

June 13, 2008

Daddy was a devotee of the game of golf.  So, when I was a young mother with very small children, and expressed an interest in learning to play golf, he was alllll over that.  He encouraged me to sign up for a league and told me that he would show me how to play.  And, Mama volunteered to come to my house on those mornings and babysit — wonderful!

Daddy took me to the nearby golf course and “showed me how to play golf” — in nine holes (actually it was six holes — it was early spring and three of the holes were under repair).  Had I learned that quickly?  Or had he just mentally thrown up his hands, and thought, “I can’t help her any more than that!”  My guess is it was the latter.

Obviously, I started the league reallllly unprepared — besides not knowing what the heck I was doing, I had absolutely no equipment, and really couldn’t afford to buy any.  I didn’t have golf clubs or golf shoes — I rented clubs in the clubhouse and wore sneakers with holes in them that I had covered with flowers cut out of iron-on patches.

I have to say that the women in that league were very patient with me, and really mentored me.  When I play today, I can still hear Marge or Marilyn telling me “Don’t step on the other person’s line to the hole when you’re walking on the green.” or “Yes, you can lay out a club length from that big tree your ball is laying against, but you’ll have to take a penalty stroke.”  I’ve used that one alot — I hit trees (which, of course, aren’t in the fairway — they’re in the rough) regularly.  One friend has commented that I play “army golf” — you know, “right, left, right, left . . .”.  Seldom down the middle where you’re supposed to be.

The first couple weeks of that league, when I would rent clubs from the guy in the clubhouse, he would routinely forget to put a putter in the bag — an especially big problem because I am left handed, so I couldn’t borrow a club from just anyone.  When this happened the second week in a row, one of the women I was playing with told me that she had an old junior set of clubs in her attic that she would give me.  What a kind and generous gesture.  I played with those clubs for quite a few years.   But when she said they were “old” she really meant it.  They were so old that the woods had names, like “Niblick” instead of numbers.  I have no idea what happened to them, but more than one person has suggested that I should have held on to them, because they are probably collector items now.

That was in the early 70’s and the beginning of a long and checkered relationship I have had with the game of golf.  But, you know what my favorite memory is of that first golf experience?  When I would come home, Mama would have done the dishes (that were always accumulating in the sink), straightened the house, bathed, fed and loved my babies and put them down for a nap, and would have lunch ready for us to sit down and eat in peace and quiet in my nice clean kitchen!  What a wonderful plus to my new hobby!  I hope I told her how much I appreciated that.  When I was young, I sometimes took things like that for granted.  But, now that I look back on it, I realize what a wonderful gift that was that she and Daddy both gave me.  They encouraged and enabled me to do something for myself one morning a week, that, I’m sure, made me a happier, more relaxed person the rest of the week for my family.

Thank you God for parents who loved me and encouraged me, and for a game that has given me many happy hours of exercise and fellowship.

Tag Attacher says, “Oops!”

May 8, 2008

Today is the first day of my golf league.  So, I just got out a new sun visor I had bought recently.  It is one of those that has kind of a headband in it, but the headband goes across your forehead and across the top of your ears, instead of a “real” headband that goes over the top of your head.  And that, of course, is because this “headband” has a visor on it that would look pretty darn silly sticking up on top of your head, and it wouldn’t give you much shade either! (Is that clear as mud?)

Anyway, I noticed that there was a label attached to the inside.  I wondered why there would be a label on this visor.  Was it a warning that it is flammable?  Or a warning “it is illegal to remove this label” like you see on mattresses?  Anyway, I cut it out because I thought it might show, but before I threw it away, I looked to just see what it actually said, and then I laughed out loud.  I quote:

“Machine wash cold.  Gentle cycle.  Do not bleach.  Lay flat to dry.  Cool iron if necessary.  Wash separately with like colors.” 

It’s a $10 visor, for heaven sake.  But, when I read the first part, there was something in my mind that said, “Hey, I never thought about a visor being able to be washed in the machine!”  But, they lost me from “Lay flat to dry” on.  I have no idea why this label ended up sewn to a cheap, rigid, would-probably-fall-apart-even-if-you-hand-washed-it visor, but it made me laugh out loud, and I hope it makes you smile too.

Now I’m going to play golf — in the league — with many women who have played the game a long time, and are very good — and I haven’t as much as swung a club since last fall.  I hope I don’t embarrass myself (more than usual, that is — I’m not a great golfer).  One friend told me last year that I play “Army golf.”  Right.Left.Right.Left.  She’s right.  I use the WHOLE course.

Happy Thursday!