One summer, about 50 years ago, I signed up for golf lessons with two friends. Their parents belonged to a club called “The Hacienda” in San Pedro, and they invited me to join them for golf lessons and swim in the pool afterward. No one in my family played golf so I really didn’t know anything about the game, but it sounded like a fun way to hang out with my friends. I vaguely remember standing on the golf course while someone showed us the proper way to swing. It was so long ago that I don’t really recall the details.
Fast forward about 30 years and I’m on vacation with my teenage sons who are at that age when nothing a parent says or does is “cool” but you try anyway. We went to Salishan Resort on the Oregon Coast near Lincoln City, and I arranged for a group golf lesson one afternoon. Only Collin would accompany me to the driving range and we spent the next hour hitting balls. His went long and straight. Mine rarely left the ground. The pro spent all his time encouraging the student who demonstrated the most potential!
Skip ahead again to a few years ago when Rick and I were living in Brookings. We’d become friends with a lady whose husband was the pro at Salmon Run Golf Course. When I mentioned I’d always wanted to learn golf, she and Rick arranged a surprise package of lessons for my birthday and Rick bought me a set of clubs. For the next five Saturday mornings I drove to Salmon Run and hit balls on the driving range and practiced on the putting green. I enjoyed the morning therapy and the promise that soon I would actually go out on the course, but my lessons ended abruptly when the pro moved out of state.
Two weeks ago I was invited to join three lady golfers for a round at Kings Valley. Rick was out of town and at the time I agreed to go, it sounded like fun. But the more I thought about actually going out on a course for the first time, the more anxious I became. I worked myself up into a frenzy imagining how humiliating the experience could be. I called my son Dana (the only serious golfer in the family) and asked him for advice. “Am I supposed to put the clubs in the bag in a certain order?” I asked. “No, Mom. Stop worrying and just go have fun,” he said.
Like tai chi, yoga and long walks in the early morning, golf is a new addiction and addition to the disciplines I’ve embraced during the last year. All of them are good for me and, more importantly, make me feel good. Each has a way of sorting through the clutter in my world to get to a place where I am focused and living in the moment.
I’ve golfed three times now and the girls and I are signed up for a scramble later this month. I’m not worried about how I’ll play because the win is in being with friends, overcoming my fears and feeling the sun (or the wind) on my face. My son Dana called to check on me after each game I played and says he’s taking a few days off to come down from Salem (with my granddaughter) so we can golf together. What could be better than that?
Thanks Susan, Karen and Kookie for helping me keep my eye on the ball.
Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate’s publisher, at mthomas @trip li cate .com, 464-2141, or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.