Saturday, August 20, 2016

Gambling is illegal at Bushwood sir, and I never slice.

Here's the deal; I used to hate golfing with a passion.  Didn't even consider the thought of it within my realm of interests.  But then again, we all have that one friend.  You know, the one that gives you the, "aw come on, it will be fun.  Trust me."  That's how it started.

In June last year (2015 for those of you keeping score), I was driving home from work and stuck with the rest of the poor rush hour souls. 

For me, rush hour is typically my least most productive time during the day.  I'm usually stuck in a daydream contemplating ways to buy a helicopter, all while realizing if I was rich enough to buy a helicopter I wouldn't have to work (you can see how this begins to snowball). 

Mid-daydream my phone rings; it's my friend Andrea.

Let me "Tarantino" things a bit to add some clarity to this story. Prior to this phone call (3 years or so) I met Andrea at a vendor event in Boston.  Andrea continued to stay in touch since that time looking for ways to have a chance at gaining some business from my employer.

Andrea out of the gate asks, "Hey, do you golf?"  To which I reply, "Nope, and don't plan to.  Why?"  Andrea goes on to share with me that her co-workers are big golf enthusiasts and would love to go out sometime.  I was persistent in saying I'm not interested but would entertain the business conversation and left it at that.

Fast forward to the beginning of July, same thing. Driving home, phone rings, its Andrea.  Again asking if I want to go golfing.  I said to Andrea, "Look, I'll make you a deal, if my dad can come, I'll attempt to play."

For those of you who didn't know, my dad loves to golf. Before Andrea, he was hounding me to try golfing, to which he gave up after he learned that I had no interest whatsoever.  My dad is also one of the most hard working people I know (right next to my mom). He always worked his butt off so us kids could have everything we needed.  He has always been my role model for his work ethic.  That said, his work ethic can be summed up using a simple quote:

"You can't have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic." - Stephen C. Hogan

With my parents always going above and beyond for us kids, I try to do what I can today to repay the favor; hence the attempt to score an all-inclusive round of golf with my dad at a fantastic local country club.

Needless to say, Andrea gave me the green light for my dad to join us.

Moving onto a gorgeous Monday morning at the beginning of August, my dad loaded up the necessary golf gear (because I obviously didn't have any) into his truck and off we went.  Little did I know we were playing in an actual golf tournament.  Luckily for me, it was a scramble format (best ball).  To sum up my very first time even remotely swinging a golf club, I had a dozen golf balls to start and a positive attitude.  At the end of the round, I had a single golf ball left, hit at least one tree per hole, and was satisfied with my first golfing experience. 

Even with my mediocre day on the course, the best part was just being able to spend quality time with my dad.  We didn't always have the best relationship while I was growing up (we would sometimes butt heads), but he was/is always there for us kids regardless of the circumstance.

Being an adult, it's that subtle realization I have from time to time that my parents won't be around forever.  That's why I do my best to spend that quality time with my parents, wife, and kids.  Nothing in life is guaranteed.  So thanks to Andrea, golfing gives my dad and I that quality time together; all while slicing balls, and reciting lines from CaddyShack and Happy Gilmore.

Few weeks later, I found myself searching for a used set of golf clubs on Craigslist.  After a few days of searching I thought I found the perfect "catch all" set of clubs. A very kind gentleman was offering an entire set of clubs for a few hundred bucks. Best part was he had several sets to choose from since he collected and repaired golf clubs as a hobby.  But, what did I know?  I just picked out what "looked" to be a decent hand-picked set (bag, driver, 3W, irons, and a putter).  After a few times out with my dad and trying to learn more about golf in general, I started researching the clubs I had (here's where you'll chuckle). Come to find out, I had a ladies driver, a regular 3W, senior irons, and an undesired putter.  I was a bit aggravated that my clubs were all over the place (flex wise) which wasn't helping me to develop my swing correctly.  Not that my swing was / is anything to write home about, but this predicament certainly wasn't playing to my advantage.  I ended up calling the gentleman that sold me the clubs, and explained that I'd like to return them due to the fact there was no consistency (flex wise) across the entire set. He understood and happily refunded my money.

Being a typical guy, I then proceeded to research club brands, specs, reviews, opinions, and prices.  For anyone that knows me, they'll tell you that I'm a bit over the top when it comes to buying just about anything.  More so when the price is a bit on the more expensive side.  I typically blame my OCD buying experiences on my engineering brain / mindset.  Shortly after performing my extensive research, I may or may not have made a "disgruntled-used-club-buying-experience" impulse buy of a brand new set of clubs.  At one point during this impulse buy process, I literally felt like Al Czervik from CaddyShack when he's in the ProShop buying just about one of everything.  With that said, I now own a very respectable set of clubs, complete with obnoxious golf apparel (be sure to check out Loudmouth Golf, and Royal & Awesome).

Golfing by it's self is quite the addictive sport, even before adding in the social drinking aspect of it.  For those that don't golf and read this post, I'm sure you are saying, "Addictive, without the cold beer, how so?"  It's simple really; it's got that whole love / hate thing going on for it.  It's like the ultimate car wreck of relationships.  There are days you get off the course and swear up and down that you are selling your clubs. Only to find yourself back on the course a few days later playing one of your best rounds while scratching your head trying to figure out why you sucked so bad the round before.

I'm now a lifetime golfer.  I look for any opportunity to "hit the links" with family, friends, co-workers, etc.  Even though my golf obsession does tend to drive my wife crazy from time to time, she makes every effort to tolerate it, all while keeping the peace in our household.  It's that whole, you've got to give a little, take a little, and let your poor heart break a little.  That's the story of that's the glory of love.

Until next time, reach out to those closest to you and let them know you care about them.  It could change their day.

I'm doing my best to make this the final name change for my blog.  I'm pretty happy with it's new title (for obvious reasons).  Come on, my golf obsessions isn't that bad.