The Social Power of Golf
It was a work colleague who suggested that give golf a go.
At the grand old age of 35 I knew I’d perhaps surpassed my peak of sporting capability but was not quite too far on the scrap heap to pick up that ‘old timers’ hobby just yet. But she’d been playing since she was little and by all accounts not a bad golfer who, I now understand, plays off 12 and has been her club’s lady captain on more than one occasion.
“Our club is running some lady beginners session, you should come.” she said
“I’ll check my diary.” I replied.
Funnily enough, I didn't actually have a plethora of social events to fuel my excuses for not attending and I have to admit, I was a little inquisitive about whether I would be any good or not. Having never actually hit a golf ball or even held a club - a quietly concluded I’d be brilliant.
On a Wednesday evening in the summer sunlight, I have to confess that our local golf course looked beautiful although another confession is I had no idea that the golf course was on my doorstep. Dressed in shorts and a t-shirt that was noticeably absent in the collar department, I joined a group of about 15 awkward looking women dressed in a very similar way. Our instructor (who was incidentally clad from head to toe in Galvin Green) provided us with all the equipment we needed and on that summer’s day, we started to learn the game of golf.
The aforementioned is somewhat of a romantic view of what actually happened that first evening. We swung irons at range balls in the desperate hope that one would connect and they would be declared a natural. Nevertheless, we returned each week for the next installment of the ‘dummies guide to golfing’, enjoyed mocking each other for our almost guaranteed air shots and also encouraged each other when a topped ball became the best shot of the day. 10 weeks soon passed and we had learned most basic elements of the game and it was with heavy hearts that we parted company with out instructor and indeed each other but the magic of the sport ensured we stayed connected. 6 of us joined the golf club and obtained handicaps in the first year. The lowest handicap of the group is 18 (and dropping) and we all have individual and group lessons with the same instructor today.
Nearly 4 years on, I still see some of those awkward women on regular occasions. I choose to spend my birthday with them on golf weekends and they were very special guests at my recent wedding. That is the power of golf. Not the sport, the competition or the silverware. It’s the people you meet and the friends you make along the way. Whether the golf is rarely going good or more likely going bad, the people you meet are still there. Undoubtedly friends for life.