Let’s Play that Golf
Golf has always been a mystery to me. It’s a game that seemed inaccessible when I was growing up. You needed clubs, balls, special clothing and then you had to pay the course fees too. That’s a lot of cash to spend especially when you’re pretty poor. It seemed so much easier just to buy a basketball and go to a court. Hell, you could even go to the court and use someone else’s basketball.
That meant that in my 34 years on this earth, I have never played golf. In truth, I’ve never really swung a real club. I do have some putting experience as I’ve played mini-golf. Also, I did go to the driving range once with a friend in College. I remember being bad. That’s the extent of my golf prowess.
So naturally, when co-workers sent an email out asking if anyone was up for a golf scramble, I said sure, why not. OK, maybe I wasn’t as open to it as that but I figured if other people on my team wanted to do it, I’d be in too. After all, we had a ton of golf newbies so if I was ever going to learn to play golf, this would be the perfect time.
In the end, it turned out that everyone wanted to do it(probably because it was sanctioned by management as a team building event) so I was in too!
The best thing and what made it work is that a few of the golfers had extra clubs and balls they provided those who wouldn’t. We’d have to cover the course fee of $40 but that wasn’t too bad given I’d get to spend time with my team and learn a new game. Plus, we’d get to ditch work at noon too.
One of the things I’ve wanted to do more this year is try new things. I’m getting closer to a point in my life where I may have a lot more free time. It’s probably at least a decade away but it’s worth thinking about! That means I’ll need to find a few new hobbies to fill my time.
Who knows, maybe golf would be one of those things! Even if it’s not, at least I’d get to drive that cool golf cart.
Before we even got out there, I learned a few things from the people that played golf.
First, there’s a dress code and you can’t just wear a t-shirt and some jean shorts. You apparently had to wear a polo along with some khakis. What madness! People were surprised that I didn’t actually wear a polo but such is my wardrobe. It’s 100% t-shirts and dress shirts and 0% polo. That meant I had to make a quick trip to Dick’s to pick up an $11 polo on sale. I also picked up a hat while I was there to shield myself from the sun. Yes, I also did not already own a baseball cap.
We set up teams for the golf scramble to include one regular golfer to carry the load. There were three regular golfers and four teams so our team ended up being without one. We did get a semi-regular golfer in there but we’d likely be lagging behind a bit.
The good golfers were needed to keep the pace of play moving. Otherwise, the newbies among us would be out there for 35 minutes on hole #1 even if it’s a golf scramble.
If you’re not familiar with a golf scramble, the rules are pretty simple.
You make a team then each person on the team takes a tee shot. After that, you decide which shot is the best and everyone moves their ball over to that spot and shoots from there. That continues until you make it into the hole.
This was perfect for me and all the other beginners since it takes 100% of the pressure off from any individual. The shots you take don’t matter that much since you’ll be taking your next shot based on the best shot taken. As long as one person has a decent hit then you’re good to go!
We had our four teams. Ours was the worst on paper but it didn’t matter. We were going to do great!
We all left work early, met up at the golf course in our polos, grabbed our clubs and golf carts and headed out.
The Front Nine
One of the good things about the scramble is that it keeps the pace moving. There were teams behind us so we didn’t want to dawdle. The scramble made that possible due the lack of experience on our teams.
I got some tips on my golf swing and proceeded to be absolutely terrible at driving. I hit the ball almost every time which was nice but it almost always was a partial hit. That meant the ball left the tee but landed pretty close and rolled a bit. Sometimes, I missed but I got up and tried again.
The swing felt awkward especially when it came to the driver. I did find the mid range game with the irons and especially the wedge a lot more forgiving.
I don’t believe we ever used my drive as the “good” shot to play off of but we did use my wedge shots and puts a few times.
I’m not sure if I’m using any of these terms correctly but hopefully I am. We had a rough start going +1 and +2 on the first two holes before getting par on the 3rd.
Once we got on the green, that’s where my skills came into play. I actually sunk a few puts from a good distance away. We had some trouble as a team in the middle with a few +3 holes but gathered up with two pars near the end.
I was definitely the worst person on our team. However, I was pretty happy to actually contribute as we probably used a good 15% of my shots throughout the first 9 holes.
That was actually more than I expected!
It was more fun that I thought I’d have and driving the cart around was a nice bonus since it kept the game moving. There were a few people walking the course but that seemed rough especially since we had to spend a good portion of your time driving left then right to pick up my random balls that went into random directions.
There was a team that we let play through since our 7 shot holes put us a bit behind.
Once we reached the end of the front nine, we stopped for a quick drink and were hurried along a bit by one of the player assistant guys. It seemed like leagues were starting soon and he was worried they’d catch up to us.
Yea, we get it, we’re slow!
The Back Nine
We skipped the first hole here(10th overall) to catch up with our other teams.
They were playing at a faster pace than us since we were less experienced.
There was nothing exceptional about the first few holes although were were all definitely starting to get better. Don’t get me wrong, overall, we were all still pretty terrible but things seem to hum along better. One of us would normally hit a decent shot that set us up well for the next one.
There still wasn’t much consistency with my game or anyone else’s game but as a team, we were starting to gel. We all had some strong points and some weak points and made it work.
I also started to see why people generally come back to golf even if they have a rough start as most probably do.
We were maybe five holes into the back nine when I had a “pretty nice” drive and it felt good. It wasn’t really a good drive nor did we use it BUT it went pretty damn far. I actually made solid contact with the ball and saw it fly far far into the woods to our right. The ball was lost but it had distance. Baby, I was improving.
On that same hole, I also had probably the best shot any of us had that day. At least, my co-workers said so so I didn’t disagree with them. We were off the fairway and to the right of the green with a bunch of trees in the way blocking the direct path to the green.
Everyone shot around to the left to get us back to the green and set us up for the next shot.
I walked up, looked up at the trees ahead of us, and popped a shot up and right in the middle of two trees that landed in front of the green. It had distance, height and was aimed perfectly. I don’t know how I did it. We still went +1 on that hole but would have likely been +3 otherwise with where the other shots went.
Golf was starting to make sense to me. There was that feeling of accomplishment that came with hitting a good shot. For me, it was rare that I hit something well so when I did, it felt nice.
You were hanging out with friends, driving a golf cart around in beautiful weather and improving at something that takes skill.
Plus, it was a sport I could partake in even with my terrible conditioning. My wrists and arms hurt a little bit, no doubt due to poor swinging form, but beyond that, I felt pretty good.
On the last hole, I hit another decent drive that got distance and went straight into the water to the right of us. Once we landed on the very edge of the green, I hit a long putt that was just a bit left of the hole. Since we were using my shot, I took the first put and drained it to finish my day.
Our final score? +22!
We finished with a +11 on both ends and while we didn’t have anything better than a +1 on the back nine, it felt better like our play improved there. I really contributed more on the back end and we didn’t have any messy +3 holes like we did on the front nine.
The other teams? They all finished at +2 so much, much better than us. I guess it helps to have a regular golfer on their team. Apparently, the best guy on our team generally shoots in the 110-115 range so at least we helped improved on that!
I don’t really know if our score was good or bad. What I know is that it was pretty fun. It was also rather tiring. Spending the entire day out in the sun really takes it out of you.
Is golf the game for me? I don’t think I’ll be running out to get my golf clubs tomorrow but I enjoyed it. I may go to the driving range and practice. Swing improvement is needed before getting out there again.
The scramble was a lot of fun but I’d probably hate doing a regular round because my golf game is pretty pretty bad right now. I’d hit a good shot here and there but most of my shots were downright terrible.
I’ll definitely say yes if we ever do another golf scramble at work. However, I’m not at a point where I want to invest in a set of clubs, golf balls and more polos.
Plus, you’ve got to add the cost of actually playing a game on a course. The $40 deal we did was a mid-day deal which was why the course was filled with older people(retirees baby!). During weekends and after work, the price is near $60 plus the cart rental fee. And this is a pretty cheap course in this area.
That’s a lot of scratch to shell out to play golf. Maybe once I’m retired and can take advantage of those lower prices more often, it’s something I might look into more closely.
I can definitely see why people like it now. It’s low impact and low stress(unless you get upset at being bad). It also keeps you interested because even when you’re bad, there’s that one shot you make that makes you think, oh hey, that felt pretty good. I should do more of that.
Unfortunately, right now, instead of doing more of that, I’m at a spot where I do more of everything bad.