Golf…what the?

by PD Martin


Okay, I’m still in holiday mode here (this is the view from my towel most mornings, although this picture does NOT do it justice!). In my last blog I talked about what I’ve been up to on my extended holiday break and today I’m going to continue with the holiday theme. We’re still down in the Mornington Peninsula (until Saturday), and then on Monday my daughter starts school (scary!). Anyway…holidays…  


My mum is an avid golfer. She’s now retired and plays golf two to three times a week. She loves it. So, when she came down to the coast for a few days it was natural for her to persuade us all to go for nine holes of golf. I did try to suggest I could stay at home and write, but the look (you know the one that only a mother can give you) told me that it was NOT a good idea for me to bail on the golf. So off I went.

I’ve played golf a few times and keep thinking I’ll “get it”…but it hasn’t happened yet. After the first hole I was completely perplexed. What do people see in this game?? Why do they play it? Now the cynics reading this might think it had something to do with the fact that on the first hole (a par 4) it took me around 12 shots to get the stupid ball into the stupid hole. It may have even been 14 shots…let’s face it, by around six you lose count. My mum also tells me you have to count the shots when you completely miss the ball (air golf) but I think that’s a bit rough for a beginner.

The second hole wasn’t much better, but by the third I was down to about 8 or so shots (not counting the air-golf shots). Then one hole, I think it was the fifth hole, I took four shots for a par 3 and it did feel kind of good. But let’s face it, it was a complete fluke.

In the next hole there was a pond between me and the fairway. My daughter (who’s only 5) was in hysterics: “No, Mummy. It will go in the water. No!”  She was also quite worried about the ducks in the lake. But I thought I’d give it a go (maybe artificially buoyed by my four-shot hole). And what were the chances my ball would actually hit some poor innocent duck? Nil, surely. First ball went straight into the lake (of course), as did the second one. Thankfully, the ducks remained intact. Grace was most concerned about losing another ball (and I don’t think my mum wanted to give me another one either) so I walked around and dropped the ball on the fairway. And it still took me like a million shots to get it in the hole.

I think it was around this point that I said to my mum: “How many more holes have we got to go?” I guess it’s a variation on “Are we there yet?”

Interestingly, my daughter enjoys golf! My mum sometimes takes her to the driving range where they have 50 balls and then do some putting. On our 9 holes, Grace teed off about six times, often striking the ball further than me. Then we’d pick up her ball and give her a shot at the other end – putting. She seems pretty good for a 5yro, but then what do I know about golf?

As I walked around (for nearly three hours) I couldn’t help but think about what a complete waste of time golf was – and how I’d MUCH rather be at home writing. Time is very tight for me (the juggling act of motherhood, freelance corporate work and fiction writing) and I felt like I’d completely wasted three hours of my precious time. But I’m trying to be more ‘the glass if half full’ so I tried to think about the up-side.

  1. I did walk around eight kilometers so at least I got a bit of exercise.
  2. Cape Schanck is a stunning golf course, and on many holes you catch glimpses of the ocean in the background.
  3. I was with my daughter, mum and mother-in-law.  Family time!

The only other thing that worried me on the course was that this particular course has lots of houses on it. I kept saying to my mum, “I’d be worried a ball was going to come sailing through my window.” She assured me they were designed so it rarely/never happened. But they hadn’t seen me play golf! Or maybe the designers had taken into account people like me because I miraculously avoided both ducks and houses. Yay, me!

So, any golfers out there? What am I missing?  Or do you think this game is as absurd as I do? Or maybe there’s some other sport or hobby that you just don’t get. 

20 thoughts on “Golf…what the?

  1. Paula Duggan

    After having throat cancer I was told I could no longer swim or go surfing. I decided I would try golf. My dad played, my auntie played, I mean, how hard could it be?
    Nearly eight years later I am still trying. I call it penance. I swear it is the most frustrating sport there is but it grows on you and it only takes a few good holes to make you try again and again and again.
    Careful you may get hooked.

  2. Richard Maguire

    P.D., was it George Bernard Shaw who said, "Golf spoils a good walk"?

    Back in the day before I got sense and quit the trade, I'd be waiting in a courthouse for a client, and a colleague would sit down beside me and (I swear under oath this is true) the conversation often began, "So, what's your handicap?" It seems for most lawyers playing golf is as natural as breathing.

    Golf never struck me as being a sport, more an insane pastime. Sport for me has always been athletics, football, horse riding and tennis. (Brilliant men's final in Melbourne, BTW. Couldn't watch the women's battle of the screamers. Pity, because Azerenka is a great player, she doesn't need to grunt. Sharapova's shrieking is just offensive.)

    Lovely photo of the beach. I envy you. Last night, here in the Alps, the temp. plunged to -20C (about -3 or -4F). This morning it hasn't climbed above -10C.

  3. Sarah W

    I've always thought that golf is the dumbest (or numbest) spectator sport ever,

    It *is* the only sport one can listen to while suffering a hangover, not that I ever *wanted* to listen to any sports during a hangover, but sometimes my husband-the-ESPN-poster-child took pity on me and changed the channel from football.

    Tennis was all right, too, at the time, but that wouldn't be the case now. Richard's right–the grunting and wailing of the ladies is getting out of hand. Honestly, sometimes I think the kids shouldn't be watching.

    For an insomnia cure, though, I recommend cricket. Is there a longer, more impenetrable game? It's like baseball and croquet had a child and sent it to a boarding school steeped in enthusiastic, inexplicable tradition, with golf as the headmaster.

  4. Linda

    My first husband was a golfer. He decided to take his mother and I golfing so that he could "teach" me how to play golf.

    You know, I should have realized that a day filled with that much angst did not bode well for our marriage. Even his mother told him that he was not a golf instructor and to 'shut up' for the rest of the day.

    I never picked up the clubs again.

    I'm not a couch potato; I enjoy softball, tennis, pickup football games, and I've ridden horses since I was a little girl. Didn't think about it, but maybe all those active sports are why I don't understand the allure of golf.

  5. Alexandra Sokoloff

    I understand why businesspeople play golf – it's a lot more appealing, and healthy, to have a meeting while walking around out on a golf course than be stuck sitiing in an office or restaurant 14 hours a day. And I understand that men always have to be in some kind of competition, thus the little white balls.

    I wouldn't do it, but I do understand why.

  6. Pauline

    I remembered my Dad watching golf and playing occasionally when I was young.
    I was never interested.
    Hubby never played, he is a car guy, slaloms, stuff like that.
    When we were newly married, my husband's work had a golf day. One of his co-workers pleaded with me, "It'll be so much fun". So we did. We were placed in different foursomes. My group showed me the proper methods of this and that. Oh, don't do that. Do it this way. Way behind us I could hear hubby's group, laughing, making fun of each other's shots, having a great time. I got stuck with the perfectionists. Never played again.

  7. Allison Davis

    Golf. It's a sport that even if you play daily you never get good at it. it punishes you as it lures you in. I've had coaches, teachers, good clubs and I'm tall but forgetaboutit. I am a sports fanatic, but have played just enough golf to have a conversation about it. As a woman attorney, it seemed smart to try and play golf, but when I kept failing miserably, I took up cigar smoking instead. Easier and just as bonding with the men, that and my two divorces (I paid).

    On the other hand my 81 year old Dad plays with his 9 year grandsons and its good for all of them.

    I'll try again. But not soon.

  8. Lisa Alber

    About the only thing appealing about golf IS the walking, so I might as well just walk. Besides, I'm cursed with lousy hand-eye coordination. I was the kid who swung and missed the baseballs. I figure golf would be about the same.

    I've played Wii golf with my nephews. I can manage that — just barely.

  9. Zoë Sharp

    Hi PD

    Nope, golf passed me by, too. Found some fun quotes about it, though:

    ‘Real golfers, no matter what the provocation, never strike a caddie with a driver. A sand wedge is far more effective.’ Huxtable Pippey

    ‘Baseball reveals character; golf exposes it.’ Ernie Banks

    Talking to a golf ball won’t do any good unless you do it while your opponent is teeing off.’ Bruce Lansky

    ‘It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.’ Hank Aaron

    ‘I tried real hard to play golf, and I was so bad at it that they would have to check me for ticks at the end of the round because I’d spent about half the day in the woods.’ Jeff Foxworthy.

    ‘The older I get, the better I used to be.’ Lee Travino

  10. PD Martin

    It seems I'm not alone!

    Paula, I'll let you know if I get hooked!

    Richard, great quote. And yes the men's final was great as were the semis!

    Sarah, it's cricket season here too! Yes, a very boring game to watch.


    Alex, golf definitely better than the board room.


  11. PD Martin

    Pauline that sounds frustrating. At least one of you had fun 🙂

    Allison, and here I was thinking I just needed practice, a few lessons and the right tools!

    Lisa, the walk was nice. I might try Wii golf!

    Zoe, great quotes!


  12. Reine

    We were more into individual sports where I grew up– horse riding, sailing, running, and the like– things you could do alone, together.

    When we were 8 my friend, Stephen, and I would collect lost golf balls in the woods and turn them into the clubhouse. We got a 25C credit for each ball, and when we had $4 worth, the manager would give us a bag of clubs and let us play 2 rounds.

    In highschool my friend, Tim, and I practiced our sandtrap technique on the beach in Marblehead. We also practiced driving rocks into the wind whenever there was a nor'easter.

    When I was 9, my family noticed that I was enjoying golf and gave me my first set of clubs for Christmas. They were like you, though– didn't see the point. Even today Auntie-Mom lives on a golf course in Palm Desert but doesn't play. I am no longer able to play, but I often watch on TV or at Auntie-Mom's. My family shrugs their shoulders but figure their money was well spent.

    My service dog spent his first two years living on the golf course his host family designed. When we're headed to Auntie-Mom's, he smells Rancho Mirage when we hit the pass by the windmills.

    Stephen moved his business to Florida where he can play most days. Tim moved to Georgia for the same reason. He died young and has a tournament named in his honor.

  13. David Corbett

    Given how little time I have anymore for any extraneous activities, if I were to pick up a new sport, I think it would be billiards.

    Too bad you can't play it outside. That's the one advantage to golf that I can think of.

    Otherwise, it's the most numbingly tedious and downright boring form of lunacy known to man.

    Not that I have any opinion on the matter.

  14. Reine

    Haha, Allison! I'm avoiding writing the real thing. Working on review this minute of Alex's THE HARROWING. God I wish I could write like that! I'll try to do it justice.

  15. PD Martin

    Sorry for the late reply Reine and David.

    Reine, maybe I'll be like you or your friends, but I'm not holding my breath.

    And yes, David, I found it very difficult to walk around the golf course knowing I COULD be writing!!!


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