I’ve been playing golf here in Kingman with my RV neighbor, JC. We found a course just outside town called “Valle Vista” and we can each play for just fifteen bucks. He really loves the game – I just tolerate it. I’ve never been real good at golf – although I am getting better. Apparently the more you play the better you get. I had no idea that I actually needed to play to improve. All the years I have played (and it has been sporadic) I never saw any improvement in my game from about the second time out. I will hit one really good shot and then botch the next four. My best score ever is a 91. Golf has been for me a game of endurance – enduring the heat, enduring bad shot after bad shot, enduring my desire to wrap a club around a tree or my partner who never seems to hit a bad shot. Just endure it and get back home as soon as possible. I started measuring my game not on my score but how many balls I lost. “Hey, Lisa! I played really good today – just lost six.”
Back home I would play (maybe) three times a year (if that) and often with friends from the school system where I worked. One thing I learned is that teachers have a lot of time to play golf and work on their game in the summer. I never had that luxury as a twelve month employee. So most of the people I played golf with were much better than me. I hate those people!
Here in Kingman I have struggled to find much to do with my spare time other than swim, read, ride my bike and take care of all the domestic chores. There is no battlefield to walk and study like there was at Gettysburg and a foot in need of surgery has limited my ability to walk like I did in Loma Linda. Playing golf seemed like a good way to use up chunks of time during the twelve-hour shifts Lisa is at work. During her seven days off – we always find things to do.
The first order of business was to find some clubs since I did not bring mine from home. Wal-Mart had a good deal on some cheap clubs and I invested under $200 rather than continuing to drop fifteen bucks per round to rent them. Now I have two complete sets of cheap Wal-Mart golf clubs. At least I can use my cheap clubs as an excuse for my poor play. “If I had a set of $800 clubs I could play that well too.”
JC and I usually play on Mondays and Thursdays and in order to get the fifteen dollar deal we have to play between two and six in the afternoon. Around 3 o’clock Kingman Arizona starts to warm up. It is hot here almost all day – no let me rephrase that – it is always hot here. But in the afternoon it gets lava hot – fry an egg on the concrete hot -melt the bottom of your shoes hot – hell hot! So here we go for a nice, leisurely game of golf and before I can get my clubs loaded onto the back of the golf cart – my skin is sizzling. Of course – I forgot my sunscreen (again) and my nose will be burnt for the seventh time. Sunburned skin does not peel off out here. It just fries into crispy pork rind-like pieces much like the burnt bacon residue of a hot skillet. Just scrape it off and hope more skin arrives to replace it. I’m just hoping my nose survives until October.
We tee off and as usual my first shot is train wreck. Somewhere in the concrete-hard, brown gravelly area to the right – my ball has landed. It is lost somewhere behind the cactus where a rattlesnake is probably waiting to attack me or maybe fell into a nice scorpion hole. Straight ahead is nice, soft, lush, green grass inviting me toward the newly manicured green of my destination and here I go clomping into the briar and cactus field. I’m also getting hot – if I failed to mention that. My second shot is from this parking lot like terrain that has not seen rain in years and I grind off a third of my five iron as I whack it toward the first hole. I actually hit it really good – too good – and it soars and soars – over the green – over other golfers heads playing the next hole – over the out of bounds stakes and into someone’s back yard. I am as far away from the green now as I was before. In fact – I would probably be better off starting over. “Mulligan!” And so goes my golf game. I never know where my ball is going. (At one point during our round I noticed a coyote roaming the course and even he kept a safe distance from my shots.)
Mercifully I manage to land on the green and three putt – put me down for about an ‘eight’. I think they call that a “snowman” in duffer parlance. Oh sure – I’m dying here in the desert and they have to call that a “snowman”. Only seventeen holes to go.
My golf game has actually improved over the course of our playing for the last month or so. Unfortunately, I have started having some additional aches and pains as a result of all the hacking, duffing, hammering and sometimes actually swinging my clubs. It would help if I didn’t have to swing the things a hundred and ten times to get through eighteen holes. At one point I felt this slight twinge in my left side as I teed off and for the next three days could hardly move. Not sure if I ripped out a kidney or just pulled a muscle. I think both would feel equally painful. My left elbow feels like it is broken and my right foot (still needing surgery) throbs with each step, each swing and now has started hurting just pressing the accelerator on the golf cart. You know you are in trouble when it is too painful to drive the stupid cart.
I’m just getting older and I feel it each time I play golf. I know I could benefit from losing about twenty pounds and hitting the fitness center a few times a week. A few golf lessons would probably not be a bad thing either. But the fact is – I just don’t feel like it.
My foot, side and elbow hurt too bad.
“Four!” (Postscript: It was brought to my attention that this should be spelled, “Fore!” Seems I can’t even warn other golfers the right way. Yup! That’s about right.)