It’s mid-June and I only JUST shot my first round. And frankly, it only half counts since it was a nine hole course.
BUT. (Get ready for some excuses)
Firstly, I just moved to the city from the suburbs. As the golf season was gearing up, I was yelling at our apartment complex because we didn’t have hot water, A/C or screens in our windows. By the time we unpacked and managed to rectify 75% of the issues we have with the new place (still no screens and we’re convinced the place is haunted), we were well into May.
Secondly, there is an astonishing lack of golf in this damn city. In the ‘burbs, you can’t sneeze without your germs landing on a driving range. Downtown…NOT the case. There’s only one real driving range, and it’s always packed. There are a few options for actual courses, but only a few. Even worse, since every other golfer and their father wants a tee time on weekends, there aren’t many slots to be had. And what’s left will break what little bank this bandwagoner has left after paying her new city rent.
Thirdly, getting to and from courses and the range is exponentially more difficult down here. I can’t exactly bike to the range – it’s miles away and I consider it a good day if I can jog and drink water at the same time, so I’m certainly not strapping my golf bag to my back and hopping on a Huffy. Even driving blows, given the traffic and suspicious lack of parking near anything even remotely enjoyable. It’s workable, but it’s a pain in the ass.
Lastly, golf is the only thing left in the world that manages to give me killer anxiety. Don’t take that to mean I’m an anxious person naturally; I’m not. But something about it – the combo of natural newbie nerves and the fact that I really, really love this freaking sport (and want to do it well and correctly) – makes me nauseous.
I’m not deluded enough to think that, with as little practice as I’m able to get in and as few lessons as I’ve had, I should expect par or even bogeys every hole. But I’m so scared of being bad that it keeps me from actively seeking out playing partners or accepting invites when more skilled players hit up a new course.
I know I’m supposed to be terrible. I’m a beginner. But the moment someone tees off behind me, I start rushing, scared that I’m ruining the rate of play for everyone else. I get flustered, I stop chasing my ball into the forest/sand/water/Narnia/wherever the hell I hit it and just move on without even touching my putter. It’s not like I’m spending more than a minute hunting down a bad drive, but one poor shot tends to lead to another, and before you know it you’re carding an 11 on the opening par five (true story).
In the case of last weekend, we weren’t exactly fighting crowds, but we still let a twosome play through us because I started panicking. I was so distracted that I hit four horrendous shots – all back and forth over an otherwise easy green, never touching it. I’ve got a decent handle on chip shots, but I was scalding every attempt right back into the fairway or WAY over the green into the trees.
When I try to explain this weird apprehension, I’m always told to just calm down and have fun. And every time, I smile and nod like, “THANK YOU SO MUCH! I can’t believe I never thought of that! You must be a genius golf therapist, I bet Tiger could learn something from you!”
Trust me, I’m not interested in feeling like the only thing I can launch onto a fairway is my breakfast. I think it’s some twisted mixture of regular nerves, a teacher’s pet complex that causes me to want to please everyone around me, and a more-than-slight perfectionism problem. Not to mention a sprinkle of genuine desire to be good at something with which I’m absolutely enamored. And of course, because I must be secretly masochistic, I chose the hardest sport ever with the longest playing/suffering time.
At any rate, I survived. This was the first outing outside of the driving range that left me feeling balanced; I hit enough impressive and passable shots to outweigh the terrible ones. Even though I shot my first 80 on nine holes, I still DID it sans nervous vomit, and I’m hoping to carry that (albeit small) victory into my next outing – maybe this time for a full 18 holes.
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