I did not grow up playing golf, watching golf or mowing the lawn, so when I went to try my hand at the driving range this weekend I had no idea how hard it would be. Inspired by 17-year old amateur Beau Hossler, who at one point led the U.S Open, and the ladies of Big Break: Atlantis (my first season watching this golf-centred reality competition), I said to myself maybe I AM a golfer and I just don't know it yet.
I had done Niagara Falls mini-putt, on television it looked easy enough, and in one of my favourite films 'Happy Gilmore', Adam Sandler as an out-of-luck hockey player turned unconventional golfer gives me a warm feeling inside that you don't have to be high society to play golf.
So I got a jumbo bucket of balls (117 balls to be exact), a ladies driver and took to the field. My left arm still hurts. I had a mini lesson on the basics from a great help, and what stuck out the most was "eye on the ball". Out of the jumbo bucket, I think 3 of those balls went by the 150 yard marker. At least 40 of them got to 100 yards, and the rest were within rock throwing range. Four of my shots landed where I was aiming, including the one that ricocheted off the golf-ball collector truck (or whatever it's called)... which I am told is something to be proud of.
I learned many things that night including the lesson that hitting it hard doesn't mean you will hit it all, I think I had about 10 practice swings to loosen up. Focus on the swing, making contact with the ball and worry about the power later. I also found out that training for a day on the course can be extremely exhausting; with each stroke the turnout can change drastically based on the accuracy of your swing. So the more swings you take on the range, the better... but one more lesson - be patient!
Now that I've had a taste of something more challenging than Golden Tee, I've really learned to appreciate the game and all its self imploding struggles. Congrats to Webb Simpson, who had to wait for Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell to bow out on the 18th hole before he could hug his wife and child and relish in his first Major victory. That's a great way to spend Fathers Day. All in all I have decided to pursue improving my golf game and one day play on a course. I don't want to make a fool of myself now that I know what it's like, so I'll be hitting up the range hopefully every week, and mixing it up with a couple rounds of mini putt to focus on my short game. I don't think I'll be able to qualify for Big Break next year, but the year after that, look out.