Let's get this out of the way right now, because this entire post is based on this simple premise: I HATE GOLF.
I hate everything about it. I hate lugging a pile of metal around in the hot sun on a summer day. I hate trying to whack some stupid white ball into a hole an inordinate distance away. I hate the macho attitude that I associate with roaming bands of male golfers. I hate the clothes. I hate the shoes. I hate that the sport represents a ridiculous economic divide in that the equipment required and fees to play are cost prohibitive to a large segment of the population. I hate country clubs which are still surviving relics of an era of elitism that is better off taken out behind the barn and shot dead forever.
Most of all though, I hate that I suck so badly at it.
I am man enough to admit that at least some of the above reasons are possibly unfair. Yes, I know there are public courses out there that are reasonably affordable. Yes, I know you can pick up used clubs at a decent price. Yes, I know you can rent a golf cart.
But the fact remains that golfing is my absolute least favorite activity. It is pure torture. There are probably some things that are worse than golf, but I haven't personally experienced them. If there is an afterlife, I am almost certainly going to Hell, and it will be 18 holes for an eternity of Saturday afternoons in the middle of July.
Before I get to why I bring this up, let me tell you a story...
Several years ago, my fiance and I were planning a trip to Illinois. I would be meeting her parents for the first time, so I was a little bit nervous and wanted to make a good impression.
At the time I was living in an apartment with two other fellas. We had a balcony, which I enjoyed stepping out on for the occasional smoke or to relax on one of the chairs we had out there.
Unfortunately, shortly before we were going to be leaving for Illinois, I stepped outside and sat down on one of the chairs as usual. Little did I know there was a hornet's nest underneath, and the movement angered up their blood. I was attacked by the raging swarm and stung over a dozen times. A lot of attention was paid to my left foot, which was apparently perceived as a major threat by the marauding beasts.
It didn't take long for my foot to start swelling. Just in time for the 14 hour drive! My foot swelled up to such a size that I had some serious difficulty wedging my shoe on.
The pain and swelling got so bad that about 10 hours into the long drive, I had to take my shoe off in the car. My foot was so big that my toes resembled protozoa an amoeba might use for locomotion more than real human digits. It was bursting with fruit flavor.
The worst was yet to come though, as my fiance's family had planned a golf outing during my visit.
Let me reiterate: I am absolutely terrible at golf. I'm not so obtuse as to discount that my unbelievable incompetence at this game contributes to my terrible perceptions of the sport, but the fact remains: I HATE THIS GAME.
My performance that day wasn't just a mockery of the game of golf, it was a mockery of athletics and sporting events everywhere across the world. I don't think I hit a ball more than 20 yards at any point, and there are baseball players in the minor leagues that could hit a Mariano Rivera cutter with more regularity than I made contact with a stationary golf ball on this particular day.
I lamely offered up the excuse that my foot hurt. This was a bad idea. The tough, Midwestern MAN'S men who were already glancing at my northeastern ways with suspicion began to regard me with genuine distaste. My fiance at one point asked one of them if they could help me with my swing, to which he replied:
"I don't even know where to begin with that mess."
Eventually the crushing shame led me to give up. It was obvious that my pathetic attempts to keep pace were just holding back the game, as I had to take somewhere between 5 and 400 shots for every single shot for the other members of the group. My foot really did hurt, but it was nothing compared to the weight of my failure crushing down upon my soul.
I like to pretend that the rest of the visit went reasonably well, and that I have since earned the respect (or at least somewhat lessened the loathing) of my fiance's family.
But I know, deep down, that every time they look at me they see that sissy programmer from the northeast who doesn't know how to handle a club and ended up with a sunburn as red as Hester Prynne's own mark of shame.
Last night I was nice and relaxed. I was watching baseball on TV and enjoying a drink. Everything was good... a great end to a long day.
Then my fiance turned to me and said: "By the way, don't forget we've got the bridal shower coming up in July in Illinois."
I nodded. No problem, I thought. I'll hang out with the menfolk and throw back a few.
"Also, you're going golfing with the boys."
I began sobbing.
Author's Note: If you didn't immediately recognize it, the title of this post is a quote from Caddyshack, which is probably one of the only good things ever to be produced by this damn sport.
Also, if anybody knows of a good place to get emergency golfing lessons in the Wilmington/Philadelphia area... HELP.