Swinging lover tells all

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    By Scott Bell

    I met a new lover two summers ago. It was kind of a Grease-type thing. I was home for the summer, she was there, and things just clicked.

    She was new and exciting. No matter how bad I messed things up, she was always there for me the next time I needed her.

    This summer I went home again, and it just wasn’t the same. The newness wasn’t there anymore. Our growth and development as a couple slowed down exponentially.

    Of course, for the metaphor-impaired, I’m talking about golf — the great lover of many a person. As a side note, to stop any possible feminist criticism before it starts, I referred to golf as a female simply because I am a male. Enough said.

    Golf is the great common thread that cuts across nearly all of American society. From the country-club pretty boy in his slacks and golf shirt to the completely shirtless red-neck, golf appeals to all. There’s something about chasing a tiny, dimpled ball over approximately four miles on a lazy summer day that everyone can relate to.

    I started playing golf regularly two summers ago. I had played off and on since high school, but in the summer of 1997, I played at least once a week. Like any novice golfer knows, the progress you make in your first few months is great. By the end of the summer, I could actually reasonably expect the ball to get in the air when I swung. What it did up there was another thing. Sure my shots tended to hook like a boomerang, but at least I wasn’t hitting worm-burners.

    This past summer was different. I’ve heard to get better you have to play at least 36 holes a week. Well, I didn’t do that. I played between nine and 18 a week, which basically means I flat-lined at mediocrity.

    But my golfing troubles didn’t all sprout from the game itself. They came from my playing partner, who I’ll call Mike. I worked nights during the summer, so my free time was during the days. Mike is a 14-year-old boy, and he was the only one available to hit the links mid-day.

    In the beginning, Mike and I were at about the same skill level. But as I spun my golf cart wheels right around the 25 handicap range, Mike played 18 holes a day. So, yes, by the end of the summer he was basically taking me out behind the woodshed every time we played.

    This basically was not acceptable. Especially when it came against a Bart Simpson wanna-be who counted my strokes and laughed at errant shots. My second summer fling with golf was not nearly as good as the first, and I blame Mike.

    The worst part of it all is that golf is the world’s ultimate reflection of a person’s emotions. The game is like the witch’s mirror in Snow White — it bares your sole. If I’m getting mad about my round, you can bet my next shot is going about 25 yards.

    It’s like a wise priest quorum adviser once told me: “They called it golf because they had already used up all the other four-letter words”

    But that’s about all I should say. Golf is a jealous lover, and I don’t want to curse any of my future rounds. I’m still faithful, no matter what the pain.

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