Lee Bacchus looks at Golf
A Golf Getaway With The Guys
This weekend I venture out on my annual golf getaway with the guys. Sounds like fun, right.
Yeah, about as much fun as an anaesthetic-free vasectomy or a jacuzzi in a vat of acid.
Of course, right now I'm actually excited about it. I've looked at the course on the Internet. I've gone to the range more than I should and I've cleaned my clubs for the first time in 11 months.
I've actually convinced myself, as I always do, that three days and four rounds of golf, as well as three days and four hundred gallons of beer will amount to something some people might call enjoyable. I'll probably even have trouble sleeping the night before. At that point, I suffer from the unshakable delusion that I might play well - even win our little mini-tourney.
It's an interesting case of madness, this stubborn optimism that grips me each spring before our getaway. Perennially I become as naïve and as determinedly idealistic as a young girl, expecting love to ride in on a white horse.
Win? Of course I won't. I will suffer like a naked leper cast adrift on an inescapable sea of green. I will endure cosmic hangovers and the wall-pounding snores of my roommate, and naturally, I will play golf in a spasmodically bad fashion. And why would that be? Well, it isn't the absolute lack of sleep, the long back-paralyzing drive up to the course or the countless pails of brew swilled the nights before each sorry round It is nothing more than stress.
This little tourney among 16 of my friends induces more muscle-contracting tension than a long night in the multiple-birth maternity ward. (Well, okay, perhaps not that tense.) The way we all play - like caffeine-addled chimps let loose with a bag of clubs - you'd think we were actually competing for something important, and not a scratched and dinged little pewter tankard. Masks of anguish and torment arise over three-foot putts for par. Suicidal gloom follows a ball jettisoned out-of-bounds. And some frightening postal-worker-like rage can erupt after a fat shot sends an approach into a strategically placed lake.
My swing, not great at the best of times, shrinks from a usable and reliable bunt into horrifying chop that is a cross between a nervous tic and a hiccup. On the basis of my swing alone, I could legitimately claim the club's disabled parking space.
As the weekend¹s designated photographer, I have pictures that reveal the truth of guy-golf getaways. One shot - the "before" snapshot - shows a clutch of happy-go-lucky and healthy middle-aged men who look like they belong in one of those deliriously camaraderie-filled beer commercials: laughing, talking about "course management" and "swing keys."
The "after" shot, taken on the ride back home, reveals a sad and sorry lot - not unlike the footage you see of badly mistreated POWs or hostages. Eyes are sunken and grey, and faces are filled with defeat and self-loathing.
All except for one happy bastard, of course.