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January 08, 2012

Playing The (Golf) Game, Part II

Playin The (Golf) Game


cartoon-golfer.jpgI've got this friend who was a PGA Club professional.  He shoots close to scratch.

For about three years, he used to say we were gonna play a round. 

We never played.

I felt a bit bad about it, at first.

Like being the short, fat kid who got left behind when the high school "in-crowd" went out for pizza after the Friday night football game.

That feeling didn't last long. He's a very nice guy, and I realized our golf skills and interests were as divergent as Pavarotti and Prince. 

For most of his life, my PGA friend played golf at least weekly.

On average, I've played maybe twice a year.

Today, in semi-retirement, I'm comfortable with my golf game,   including how, when, who I play with.

My actual golf bud and good friend is a fellow Vietnam era Navy Vet.

He is schizophrenic.  And makes no bones about it, telling people so.

Several days a week we play the short, easy (cheap) course at the nearby Veterans Hospital.

On business trips, I've played courses across the U.S., in China, Japan, Germany, Russia, South America and the Caribbean.  

But today I'll take the little VA course here in Battle Creek, Michigan USA, thank you very much.

My VA golfing bud will occasionally stop suddenly on the tee or in the middle of the fairway, and want me to hold hands with him and recite The Serenity Prayer.  

Somehow, I don't think that'd be acceptable at Pebble Beach, Spy Glass, or Augusta National.

I used to be a bit uneasy about the hand holding and prayer thing.  

I'd keep looking back to see who might be watching us from the last tee box.

You're suppose to stick to golfing on the course.

Hit the ball.  

Replace your divot.  

Be courteous.

And, most of  all, don't hold up the play of others behind you.

Golf manners are important.  

But I've learned not to be obsessive about them, or most things in life. 

I care more about my golf buddy than whether duffers behind us have to wait a couple minutes.  

I care more about walking down the fairway, singing an old Hippie tune duet, and laughing with him, than whether I hit the green in regulation.

I'm out to have a good day, and help my VA and Vietnam Vet friend have a good one.

Now back to my other friend, the former PGA Club Pro.  

I'm up early this Sunday, writing, as I usually do.  

Been thinking about the talk I heard my PGA Club Pro friend give last night to a civic group. 

It was well done, interesting, relevant to his audience.

But listening to him describe his early golf career, I also was thinking, "Well, I'd rather light burning matches under my fingernail -- today --  than watch (NAME)  hit his four-wood 230 yards off the tee."

And I was also reminded he'd get no golf outing kicks, waiting as I swung my driver in desperation like a baseball bat, punch my shot maybe 10 yards past the ladys' tee, hack out of the heavy rough, only to four- or five-putt.

I've been searching for a tag, a close, a kernel of relevance for this blog. 

Maybe it's choosing golf buddies of comparable skill sets and interests.

Smelling the roses.

Appreciating friends.

Keeping your eye on the ball, and life priorities, in difficult circumstances, and times.

All I know, it's my kind of duffer, dubbing, drubbing golf that makes The Serenity Prayer relevant --  where ever you play.


The Serenity Prayer is the common name for an originally untitled prayer by the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr:

 God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;  courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

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