Thursday, May 19, 2016
Never ever gonna golf.
No, as a matter of fact, I've never golfed, not once in my life.
Not from any animus. I'm not anti-golf. I have no opinions or emotions about it.
If you asked me why I have never golfed, I guess the honest answer is that I've never had the opportunity. Nobody ever asked me. My father, a nuclear physicist from the Bronx, never golfed, not once. Nor did I know anybody who golfed.
My in-laws did. It seemed a fun, quasi-athletic thing, and did tempt me. Since I've been in suburbia, for the past 15 years, when it got warm I'd promise myself to slide over to whatever that golf course is on Willow Road and take a few lessons.
But May would turn into June, and June into July, and I never did it, and this year the intention isn't there.
Not that I haven't been on a golf course: I have. A magazine once sent me down to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where I walked 18 holes at Round Hill with Arnold Palmer, interviewing him for a story, or trying to. He wasn't having a very good game; in fact, that might have helped me to never take up the sport, because Arnold Palmer wasn't having fun, and he's really good at it, generally.
It was a beautiful place, though. Like being in heaven, but with golf.
Rich people seem to always golf—it's the reward for their lives of success, fame and money. Michael Jordan and whoever's president, tycoons and stars and such. They all love golfing. Which made me a little tempted. Here's something people do hundreds, maybe thousands of times, and I've never done once.
Well, I did go to miniature golf, which is fun, but also doesn't count. And I seem to remember going to a driving range, some time in the hazy historical past, but my guess is I was no good at all. Should I find myself on a course, I know I'd be horrible, and I can embarrass myself plenty here, in print, without seeking out further embarrassments in the physical world.
I was prepared to go golfing with my younger son. But he didn't take to it either. Golf camp might have something to do with it. He was maybe seven years old, and we sent him to a five day "Golf Camp" at the Northbrook Park District. I imagine it was two hours of basic golf tips in the morning.
At the end of the first day, my wife called me at work.
"He's quitting golf camp," she said. "You'll have to call them and get our money back."
I asked her to wait, let me talk to the lad first. I sat him down and gave him a speech that went something like this: "You can't quit golf camp. First, because it's golf camp. Everything else you do for the rest of your life will be harder than golf camp. If you can't get through golf camp, what will you be able to get through? Second, it's golf camp. It cost $200" (or whatever the figure was). "When you get older, you're going to want us to buy you guitars and automobiles and pay for college tuition, and we're going to say, why should we spend this money when we threw away money on golf camp and you didn't even go? Third, it's golf camp, it's five days long, and I'm making you go through with it."
That speech worked. Actually, talking out what the problem was worked. It turned out, the instructor, in trying to impress upon the kids how dangerous a driver could be, slammed on forcefully on a fence post, splintering it, and that scared my boy, who was seven, remember. Once we got to that point, he was able to make it through the week.
But golf never stuck with him, and I can't say I blame him. It must be genetic.