Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Damn you, little white ball!

Maybe not the most professional exclamation to utter during a work-sponsored networking event at the East Potomac Golf Course when surrounded by colleagues, but for anyone out there who has ever attempted the game of golf1, maybe you have some inkling of what of I'm talking about.  Now, I've played my fair share of rounds at Putt-Putt2, hit some balls at Top Golf3, and even tested the driving range a couple of times, but this obviously does not a true golf player make.  Now, I did appreciate this afternoon off to go hang out with some female colleagues and learn a little bit about the game of golf.  Don't get me wrong - escaping from your cubicle without having to take vacation time is always a blessing.  And in my own defense, the "damn you, little white ball!" exclamation did come near the end of our two-hour slugfest filled with clubs galore and a plethora of those little white balls4 when several co-workers echoed my feelings and just didn't want to express themselves quite so clearly5, so I actually think it fit in quite nicely with the day's experience.

I can see how this might be a relaxing way to spend a Saturday once you've got the hang of things.  But for someone who makes better contact with the ball when she closes her eyes6, there's a rather large mountain to climb in order for this game to shift over into the "relaxing" realm.  Now, our instructor explained that it's very common for women to overthink the game, trying to control every single motion and think it through instead of know, swinging and hitting the ball.  Make that a woman who's not just any woman but an anal type-A accountant, and you have a classic overthinker trying to will that little white ball into submission.  I think I was exercising more of a death grip than the suggested comfortable grip on the club, because after all that driving my arm still hurt three days I'd gotten a flu shot in the upper arm from an epidural needle or something.  Geez.  I did pick up some good technique and learn that my right shoulder has a tendency to tense up toward my ear rather than ease into the swing...but I just don't think I'm going to pursue this whole golf thing.  Even though our pro instructors really tried to sell us on the joys of golf, I don't want to invest in shoes with spikes and gloves and clubs and clothes and lessons and weekends gone for who knows how long while going through increasing ranges of frustration to reach golf nirvana.  I'll just sleep in, thanks.

If I'm needed on a golf outing, business or otherwise, I'd be more than happy to drive the cart7 and match you drink for drink at the clubhouse afterwards.  Please don't ask me to actually play. 

1 I'm not talking about you natural-born golf phenoms who come out of the womb hitting perfect drives and putting like a pro...not that I know any of these phenoms or suspect that you would in any way be reading this, but just in case one of you is lurking around and happens to think, "hey, it's not so hard!"
2 I even enjoyed a rather spectacular birthday party there...which one was it, family?  I think either 8 or 9.  I remember having a blast.  AND ice cream.  There was definitely tasty ice cream.
3 I think the abundantly available alcohol helped with confidence and henceforth my abilities.  And would you believe their three, precisely three, locations in the U.S. consist of Chicago, Dallas, and Alexandria, VA?  Interesting combination...maybe Top Golf is showing me the way and I'm supposed to go to Chicago next...
4 I'd also like to add that it was an unseasonably warm day after a veritable slew of pleasant autumnal weather.  Of course we would hit the golf course with sun blazing and minimal breeze.  Sigh.
5 That's what I'm telling myself, anyway...
6 Every single time.  Driving, chipping, and putting.  Eyes open = whiffs of air, weak hits, and poor contact with the ball.  Eyes closed = budding Tiger Woods-ette.  Ok, not nearly that good.  But still infinitely better than with the eyes open.
7 Which, sadly, I didn't even get to do during our outing.  That's the best part!

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