Saturday, September 24, 2011

Golf: I'm starting to get it

Guess what I did on Friday? I went golfing.

Yes, you read that right; I—the golf mocker—went golfing.

This is what happens when you work with a bunch of guys; when it comes to company rewards, golfing is always part of the picture, no matter what time of year it is. We’ve had a very good year so far, so management decided to take the sales/marketing team on a Friday golfing retreat. And despite my complete lack of skills and experience, I was actually looking forward to it, mostly because it meant I had one less boring day at the office to endure (this week has been one of those excruciatingly boring weeks).

So, equipped with my dad’s old golf clubs, I went on my first golfing adventure. My golf post from several months ago, “Golf: I still don’t get it,” outlines some of my reasoning for why the male species is so obsessed with golf. No longer a golf virgin, I have decided to revisit some of those points here:
  • The bizarre fashion choices. We at ChartLogic aren’t known for our stylish clothes. In fact, for about 10 minutes before we left, the various clothing choices—especially the shorts—were mocked mercilessly. So, I still don’t know if the bizarre fashion choices showcased in professional golf tournaments are universal, because it really isn’t fair to decide that based on what my co-workers wear.
  • Watching the crowd scamper for cover whenever the ball comes their way. We had a few instances where someone from our groups would nearly kill innocent bystanders because, even in the most experienced of hands, those balls and clubs are lethal weapons. Frantic shouts of "Fore! Fore!" are the only cause for adrenaline in this game, and it's always good for a few laughs.
  • Listening to the crowd's dramatic intake of breath while the small white ball teeters on the edge of a cliff, hill, or hole. Yep, that totally happened to us. Despite being one of the newbies of my group, the guys are such inconsistent golfers that they had to rely on the two girls to "save their bacon" on many occasions. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we didn't, but it was always dramatic.
  • Riding in a golf cart and calling it "exercise." We did indeed spend a lot of time in those golf carts (which also double as bumper cars). Weaving through trees, swerving dangerously close to lakes, and racing down the green, seeking out those wayward golf balls, was surprisingly fun. However, to my dismay, golf does require the use of some muscles, as evidenced by the soreness I feel in my entire upper body today. Apparently, swinging those clubs does in fact require some physical exertion. I'm not sure I would have been able to survive an 18-hole round of golf.
  • Skipping out on work to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Several times during our little Best Ball tournament my boss would say “Golf is beautiful,” and I didn’t even scoff. We could not have picked a more perfect day to spend outside: it was a little warm (about 85 degrees), but there wasn’t a cloud in the pure blue sky, the mountains were bursting with fall foliage, not to mention the golf course itself was gorgeous (we went to Wasatch Mountain State Park). I understand now why many guys dream of spending their retirement golfing; spending every day surrounded by such beauty sounds like a nice reward for a lifetime of hard work. And despite my successful attempts thus far to avoid getting a farmer's tan, I went home with a nice sunburn that is turning into an interesting farmer's tan. I guess summer can end now.
  • Age is no limit. That applies to both genders, may I add. Ladies may not have the strength that guys have simply for being guys, but they are just as capable of golfing as the men are, even if they do swing like girls. And here lies the great secret that may have something to do with the universal male golf obsession: you don't have to be good at golf to enjoy it. Sure, it's awesome when you manage to hit the ball in the right direction--if you manage to hit it at all--and it's awesome when the ball actually goes into that little hole, but simply hitting the ball brings its own set of pleasures. It's similar to everyone wanting to practice batting rather than throwing at softball practice--it's just fun to hit the ball. And, okay, it gives you an awesome sense of power when you're watching that little speck of white soar through the sky, especially if it ricochets off a tree and almost kills a squirrel. And because golf isn't the most strenuous of sports, small children and crinkly old grandparents can still play the game with some skill.
My conclusion: I had a great time golfing, and I would willingly do it again. My boss kept telling me that I was doing very well for a beginner, and even though he is rarely serious, I decided to believe him. We used my ball on a couple of the holes, and I hit the ball into the hole twice. I also *coughbrokeoneofmyclubswhilewarminguponthedrivingrangecough*, but with any luck, my dad will read this before I have to break the bad news to him. . . .

Despite our many team meetings and constant talk of dominating, my group came in last of the four groups. We had one hole where we all hit the ball in the lake, which completely took us out of the running. I suspect that next year's rematch will be intense.

But I would totally do it again. So long as someone else is there to make sure I'm following the rules.

*Note: my new-found interest in golf still does not apply to watching golf on TV. I refuse to sink that low.

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