I Hate How Much I love Golf


When I first went to the golf course a little over five years ago, I knew I would be terrible. Everyone I knew who had played golf for many years, whether it be family or a friend, admits it’s the game they love and hate. This has never become more obvious to me than this past week.

As the golf season begins to come to an end, many charities and organizations have their yearly golf outing. This year I decided I would play in five of them the first one beginning in August and the last one being in late September. The final four, in fact, would be played in 10 days.

I still consider myself a bad golfer even after thousands of shots over the course of five complete summers of golf. On a good day, I can shoot in the 90s and feel pretty good about myself. However, on those other days, it’s just best not to talk about it.

Still, I love the game despite its hardships. The best thing to do is just remember, the most important shot in golf is the next one.

The first outing went well. I contributed and help put the team at -2. The winning score was close to -14 so, we were never really in contentions.

At this point, it would be important to note that these tournaments are scrambles. This means all of your teammates, which is traditionally four, hit a tee shot and you pick the best one. You keep hitting the best ball until the ball is holed out. Simple rules. Simple concept. You’d be amazed at how many people struggle with it.

The next outing brought me up to the lovely city of Potsdam, NY. If you ever have the opportunity to drive up there, you should. Mainly because after that six-hour car ride on backroads and around the mountains of the Adirondacks, you will never want to go back.

However, I’ve gone up twice to play for the outing that benefits SUNY Potsdam’s hockey program which, one of my friends and golfing buddies plays for. It’s always a fun and relaxing time.

Unfortunately, this year would get off to a rough start.

The morning my buddy and I were supposed to begin our trek way upstate, he texted me about potential COVID exposure. He had just started a new teaching job and didn’t want to risk being out of quarantine even though he was never directly exposed or displayed any symptoms. Totally understandable by him, can’t risk something like that over golf.

This puts us a man down now only with three golfers but still, I like our chances. I get up the morning of my tournament, eat a good breakfast, and head to the course. My two buddies, on the other hand, overslept due to a late-night party and strolled in about 20 minutes late.

Not the most inspiring scene ever, but no great comeback begins with a team in the lead so, we got going.
In keeping with the theme of the trip, the going got off to a slow start.

It was a battle, and course conditions didn’t help us out much. We worked hard and shot about a -4, if I remember correctly. Not in contention again but, still a respectable showing.

Those festivities ended, and my one buddy and I had a long trip home for another outing two days later.

The day of the third tournament came faster than either of us wanted to but, it was still game day. We are also at the age where we take these events way more seriously than we should. To say we consider these a business meeting would be putting it lightly.

This outing was super nice and benefited a local hospital. It was well attended and had sensational food. Things like that are what make this outing great and keep people coming back.

The team we brought to this one was by far the best I had been on to date in a scramble. We had two guys under 15 handicap and then myself and another friend who provided moral support. We battled hard again and got some good shots in which resulted in a -8 finish. We were excited when going into the clubhouse. We felt we had a good shot at winning due to other groups consuming large amounts of alcohol while on the course.

Once again in keeping with the theme, we were wrong. One group shot a -12 and we somehow settled in sixth place. In golf, we have a term for the groups that finished first through fifth. They are called liars.

Despite that disappointment, we headed off for our fourth tournament two days later again. This outing benefited the local hospital in my hometown. It was the place I was born and many other medical highlights of my life so it was cool to be a part of.

We came there with one purpose. That was to win. We got off to a bogey start but quickly turned it around and got some birdies. On the tenth hole, my one friend had a great tee shot on a par four right to the front of the green. I went up chipped in for eagle. We were feeling good and shooting low.

We followed it up with another eagle on another hole and kept rolling in pars and birdies.

We came in at -11 and felt great about ourselves. We looked around the dining area and felt no one could beat that. Confidence has this weird ability however to quickly change to disappointment.

A group of older gentlemen walked in claiming they shot -11. We were upset but still happy because we thought we would have a chance to take them one-on-one. We were significantly younger than them which, would give us a huge advantage in a playoff opportunity.
Apparently, due to a lack of competitiveness desire, and laziness, in my opinion, they just break ties using the handicaps of the holes. Essential each hole is ranked in how hard it is. Whoever got the lowest score on the hardest hole wins.

It’s ridiculous but, we par that hole so we felt good about our chances. This is when the heartbreak sets in. They claimed they hit this magnificent birdie shot from 80 plus yards out and hit the pin, and it went end. This gave them the birdie and the win.

Whether you believe their fictional portrayal of the events is up to each person to decide. To say we have a chip on our shoulder for our fifth in the final tournament in a few days is an understatement.

However, in the end, that’s golf. In many ways, it’s similar to life. Sometimes it just sucks.