Club Sports

Just have some patience with golf

I have a confession to make. I am completely hooked on a game that five years ago I considered boring and less interesting than watching the grass grow.

I am completely hooked on a game that I used to think was just for old, retired men and rich country club members. It was a game that really shouldn’t have been considered a sport because all they did was walk around and hit a little white ball.

Boy, how things have changed.

I am now addicted to the game of golf.

It started with a trickle during my sophomore year when I watched all four rounds of the Masters. Then I watched the US Open when Tiger Woods stormed from behind and hit a long birdie putt on the 18th hole to tie Rocco Mediate and force an 18-hole playoff.

Every long drive and precision putt made me realize how hard golf was, and I started to appreciate the game more. I would challenge anyone who thinks it’s easy to hit a tiny ball hundreds of yards and put it within feet of a four-inch hole.

After those thrilling tournaments, my roommate took me to the driving range at Laurelwood Golf Course near campus and we hit a bucket of balls at the driving range. I couldn’t get one more than 10 feet into the air or more than 100 yards, but it didn’t matter. The feeling of being outside on a sunny day was great.

That one encounter with golf sparked an obsession that is now in its second year. I bought a cheap set of clubs from Play It Again Sports and spent at least one day a week for the rest of the summer at the driving range hitting balls. Finally, I was able to drive the ball consistently and felt like I was almost ready to play nine holes without completely embarrassing myself.

Was I wrong, or what.

This spring I teed up for the first time at my home course in Vernonia, Ore. I chose a three wood for the 200 yard first hole. I then proceeded to top the ball, and it bounced to the right, before finally coming to a rest out of sight amongst a clump of bushes.

I can’t say I was expecting anything better than that, but it was still a little disappointing. The next few holes went much the same way, with slices and hooks, and three putts. But on the fifth hole I hit a high, soaring shot with my six-iron that bounced twice and landed 10 feet from the hole. That one shot made my entire day. I was on cloud nine.

That’s the beauty of golf. It doesn’t matter how many terrible shots you hit; the one golden swing when everything aligns and the ball flies through the air and lightly bounces toward the hole is all you need. It will keep you playing for the rest of your life. I’m very glad I’ve been introduced to this frustrating, yet magical game. It’s taught me patience and how to deal with frustration in a way that only baseball has. You’re going to fail more than you succeed – that’s a given – but in the end it doesn’t matter, if you have fun.

With summer’s arrival, everyone can enjoy a day out on the course in the sunny weather. There are plenty of courses around Eugene, and some that are even decently priced. For nine holes at Oakway Golf Course it’s just $12 for a student Monday through Friday, and at Laurelwood it’s $12 all summer long. To hit some balls anyone can go to Laurelwood and pay $6 for a medium bucket. That’s the perfect price for an hour’s worth of practice.

I strongly suggest taking an afternoon and going to one of the golf courses around the area. School during summer is a lot different than other times of the year; you have more time to go out and do things and get to know the community. Going to college should be more than just books and homework; it should be learning about the city where you have chosen to live while you get a degree.

So, go out and hit a few drives into the woods. Spend an afternoon in the sand traps or in the rough. You might just find that golf is the sport for you.

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