Golf – A Gentlemen’s Game

I grew up in a small town in Southern Missouri.  The closest golf course was about ten miles away from my house.  My father used to play golf with some of his buddies there while I was growing up.  The game to them was more for recreation and less about the competitiveness that golf brings out.  I quickly fell in love with the game from watching them chase that white ball around.  My summers were soon spent playing anywhere from 36 to 54 holes a day while most were at the river.  I joined the High School golf team as I became more obsessed with playing.  I played in state competition all four years of High School, golf had now taken over my life.  I never became very successful at any point, but I did enjoy the feeling you get from hitting a pressure putt or sticking it tight from a hundred yards.  It’s much more than a gentlemen’s game to me.  It’s an individual sport, just you and your clubs.  Nearly 18 years later and I still get the same feeling.

Last weekend, the golf team that I proudly coach and play for had our first match of the year.  Many of these guys have been playing golf their whole life but they’ve only played the gentlemen’s game.  Knowing that, I thought it would be a real long shot to win our first match.  Our opponent, you ask?  It was 10 battle tested older “gentlemen”, all retired retired military members.  Now granted, they’ve seen some things that would make a tough putt look easy.  On the other hand, we didn’t have all our top players with us either.  A clear underdog going into the day, we remained optimistic.

After what seemed like the longest round of golf I’ve ever played, this gentlemen’s game didn’t go well for the good guys.  I can tell you first hand, it wasn’t pretty out there.  It was by far the most humid day of the year, so humid in fact that I had to buy another polo and change at the turn.  My partner did his part and helped mount a huge comeback, but to only squeak out one measly point in our match.  I seemed to have lost my competitive edge, perhaps a little rusty.  It was up to the remaining four groups make up the ground that we lost.  My partner and I finished first, we patiently waited for the other groups to come as we sat across the table from the old guys who just beat us.  You want to talk about awkward, I was embarrassed.  The next group rolled in with the pleasant surprise of winning five out of six points, now we are sitting even.  Head held high, I was standing by the door when the other groups came in.  18 points still out there, anything could happen.  You could just tell from the look of our guys what had happened.  I pretty much had to beg for the point totals from them.  30 points total, our team ended up with a grand total of….. 7!  I guess you could say that we were ambushed.  We might’ve gotten our tail kicked , but it was great to feel the competitive juices flowing again.  But nothing is worse than losing in this so-called gentlemen’s game.