• 41°

Thurston column: No man in his right mind

I never gave golf much thought as a young man. Most farmers of my acquaintance back then would have considered it a waste of good pasture land.
But discharged, newly married and a working civilian, I joined a company golf league. I bought some inexpensive clubs, and toiled through that first summer. I discovered that I had a mighty slice — just right for a sharp dogleg to the right, which I almost never ran across. I didnít have a lot of distance, either, and found myself laying up short of water hazards or bunkers instead of risking a clearing shot.
I tried a croquet putter but it didnít help much, and realized, after-the-fact, that I had fallen into the equipment trap that my sonís future father-in-law would describe to me many years later. A serious player himself, he said that many golfers are suckers for the latest club innovation, because they are convinced that it can somehow make up for their lack of real skill. He said this in a nice voice, with his hand on my shoulder, so I knew that nothing personal was intended. I played a few more years, then quit, and didnít do much beyond a little putt-putt with the grandkids.
Then, a few years ago, I retired and took the game back up. I found that I hadnít lost a thing at all during the layoff. I was every bit as bad as before ń which was encouraging in a way. I could only improve.
I began to notice how easy a lot of the old fellows (my age, actually) made things look. They seemed to have almost no backswing, but boasted vintage follow-throughs. The ball would sail out — not terribly far, to be sure — but straight as a string, while I wandered the swamps and backwoods of the rough.
On one outing, my hacking partner and I were joined by one of these veterans playing alone. He was a fine golfer, lived near the course, and played it often.
I had heard that this course was built over an old landfill. Before laying eyes on it, I imagined wispy fumaroles rising from the bunkers, or strange mutant life in the little ponds that dotted it. It turned out to be rather nice, actually, and we asked our new partner about it.
ěYes,î he said ń ěyou rarely run into any evidence that it is over an old landfill, although I will say that after a long wet spell, some rather nasty things come to the surface.î
He left us to ponder this, and added, ěI wouldnít hand retrieve any ball I put in a water hazard here, although I once saw a fellow with a fishing rod in his bagÖî No man in his right mind, I thoughtÖbut isnít that true of anyone who plays this game?
Just recently I visited this course again after a week of rain. I planned on hitting a bucket of balls, if the course was too soggy. A soaked, bedraggled player stumbled into the clubhouse as the rains resumed. ěI lost a ball in a sand trap,î he muttered. I thought immediately ń quicksand! I could envision his ball, quivering slightly on the shimmering surface before sinking slowly out of sight ń to join god-knows what other flotsam — murky fathoms down. I couldnít resist a shiver.
But I continue to hunt for golfing buddies who will tolerate ń or compliment — my lousy game and soldier on with me. Not long ago, one joined me at a treacherous little par 3 near Charlotte ń built on both sides of a substantial creek. I lost 6 balls on the front nine. But…I found 3 that had been lost by others! A net minus 3 — not bad for this course, I told myself! Iíll bring some cheaper balls next time!
Hope springs eternal.
Chuck Thurston is semi-retired and lives in Kannapolis, NC. His email address is cthurston@ctc.net

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed

Nation/World

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

Nation/World

Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations

Nation/World

GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post

Nation/World

Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Education

East Spencer charter school files petition to contest charter revocation

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years