…Golfing, you pervs. Get your heads out of the gutter. In the interest of clarity, I should say I didn’t actually go golfing; I went to the driving range with my friend, Jen. It was the first golf-related activity I did that wasn’t Putt Putt.
Since Jen got there before me, she went ahead and got her bucket of golf balls, and said she’d meet me out on the range. She suggested I get the small bucket, which I assumed held about 20 balls or so. When I arrived at the range, the very nice man at the pro shop hooked me up with some clubs and tees, rang me up for the small bucket, and told me how to retrieve my balls: go to the ball-dispensing machine, grab a bucket, place the bucket under the chute, enter the series of numbers on my receipt, and the balls would fall out into the bucket. Simple, right?
I made my way to the ball-dispensing machine, juggling my purse and the three clubs the pro shop man gave me. When I got there, I grabbed a bucket, put it under the chute, entered the numbers on my receipt, and a minute later, about 15 balls or so fell out into the bucket. The machine stopped. It looked like a small bucket’s worth to me, so I picked up my balls, and started toward the range.
Then I heard the machine make another noise, and heard balls shifting around inside. Then it stopped. I shrugged. Probably just getting ready for the next user, I thought.
All of a sudden, an avalanche–a goddamn avalanche–of balls came shooting out every which way. SHIT! I began scrambling frantically around, trying to pick up balls and still juggle the three clubs and my purse. It didn’t help that a morning golf class for seven year-olds was going on just a few yards away, which gave me a built-in audience for my one-woman comedy of errors. I managed to get my bucket under the chute just in time for a third dispense of balls to come pouring out.
After making sure that was the absolute last time the machine would give out balls, I cautiously removed my bucket, set it down, and surveyed the damage. White and neon yellow golf balls littered the ground, practically screaming out, “HEY! LOOK AT WHAT THIS DUMBASS JUST DID!” Trying to keep what was left of my dignity, I began picking them up, with the help of a nice woman who saw the entire thing and was trying really hard not to laugh. This was what I had after we had finished gathering them up:
I thanked the woman for her help, and made my way toward Jen, trying not to spill. After all, at this point, I was juggling the three golf clubs, my purse, and a Mt. Everest-sized amount of golf balls. When Jen saw what I had in tow, she started laughing. She showed me the amount she got, which looked to be about 20, which is what I thought I was getting. I had balls for days. We ended up sharing.
Jen showed me how to line up my shot and swing, and of course I sucked. Hitting a small ball off a tee with a giant club is a lot harder than it looks. I don’t know how pro golfers do it. I considered it a victory when I managed to get my ball off the tee. I was jubilant on the few that got a good distance. And I wasn’t even trying to aim for the hole-in-one. Fuck that noise. I’ve come to believe that golfers must practice voodoo magic or something to be able to hit the balls hard and long and be able to get them in the holes. There’s no other possible explanation.
About halfway through our session, it began to rain, one of those Florida mid-summer showers that stop as quickly as they start. We were under a covered area, and when the rain started, the seven-year old golf class took shelter right where Jen and I were practicing. The instructor decided to turn it into a teaching opportunity:
“Step back, don’t get too close to the golfers…okay, I want you to look for solid contact with the ball when they swing,” he was saying. Then he smiled at us. “No pressure.”
I couldn’t believe it. My first time ever golfing, and I was being observed? This was the kind of thing people had nightmares about. Since Jen was getting ready to swing, I tried to prolong my embarrassment by observing her, along with the class. It worked. After she swung and made “solid contact with the ball,” the kids were distracted, so I swung and hit my ball about a foot out. Whomp, whomp.
I did have fun, and do want to go back so that one day, I will be able to hit the ball long and hard and maybe–just maybe–get that hole-in-one. Without the help of voodoo magic.
*Yes, I am well aware that this entire piece reads like one, “That’s what she said” joke.
**A cleaned-up version of this piece also appears on Patch.