The course glistened in the early morning as droves of golfers headed to the tee box. The temperature was pleasant, not suffocating and miserable, as it had been the past few days. The greens, fairways and bunkers were perfectly manicured. Everything was set and ready to go.
Unfortunately, all of that beauty couldn't penetrate my golf game as I got my first taste of the Northwest Amateur and Spencer Golf and Country Club.
I've been out on the course before, covering high school golf this spring, but this was my first time playing it. Let me preface this by saying I'm a casual golfer. I get out somewhere about three times a year. I can play, just not with the consistency needed to shoot a good score or even have much fun.
Golf is a game that tests your patience and frustrations. It requires mental toughness and focus. It can be a stress reliever, or the cause of stress. Most of the time after I play a round, I'm so frustrated I don't mind taking a few months off before getting back on the course. As a competitor and someone with some degree of athletic ability (depending on who you ask) it's hard to grasp how poor my play can be at times.
I chalk it up to not having the practice time, or instruction, to make myself a more formidable golfer. It's easier that way. Much easier than spending the hours on the course and range practicing. And let's be honest, much cheaper.
In doing some research on the upcoming Northwest Am last week, I sat down with the event's director, Chamber president, and all-around-good-guy Bob Rose. He invited me to play in his foursome in the Am. I was delighted, and said I'd try to make it work, even though I had plenty of work to do those two days. (The previous line was for my editor and publisher, it may or may not be true.)
So Thursday morning I headed out bright and early, much earlier than I normally get up, and joined Bob, his son Jim Rose, and Jerry Carlson for a round of golf. Friday's tee times were in the afternoon, which fit my sleeping schedule a little better.
I'd been to the driving range a few times in the previous week to prepare because I needed it. My previous playing experience this summer was at a par-3 course in Chaska, Minn.
I won't bore you with my round or my score. Let's just say it wasn't the worst score of the day, but it was near the bottom. The thing was, despite having my total posted around the country club, I wasn't stressing the actual score.
While my play could have been better, both rounds were very enjoyable. I got past all my selfish frustrations of not hitting perfect shots and took in the course and the opportunity to meet some new people.
Jerry filled me in on a few humorous golf anecdotes. Jim gave me a couple of much needed pointers on my swing. And Bob made it all possible.
This could be turning point in my relationship with golf. Seeing all the scores and talented golfers at the NW Am makes me strive to focus on my golf game and get to the point I can have fun and compete with others. Not just hack away out there.
I might have to make an effort to really improve myself and play again next year. I wonder if they give out a "most improved golfer" award.