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.