I was first introduced to golf back when I was a college student in the USA. I was attending Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a small farm town in Midwestern USA, and the year was approximately 1982. In fact, I even remember the name of the person that introduced me to the game. It was Brian McCormick, my college roommate at the time. Brian introduced me to other sports as well, such as American football, Frisbee and Parachuting. But it is golf that I am most thankful for. It is the one sport that eventually became a big part of my life.
It was on a beautiful spring week-end day, a Sunday that we took off to a public golf course near the town I lived and studied in. I don’t remember the name of the golf club, but I remember paying about 25 US dollars for 18 holes, including a set of golf clubs and a push cart. I remember the golf course as absolutely immaculate with beautiful fairways, lined by tall magnificent trees. I also remember huge lakes, as more than a few balls found their way into those lakes. I also remember lush greens and deep bunkers. The one memory that will always remain etched in the back of my mind is how stunning the golf course was.
I had never swung a golf club before, so you can just imagine the fiasco that ensued that sunny afternoon. Today, 27 years later and with an official handicap of 8.5, looking back, I have a hard time believing that the people running the club actually agreed to rent me golf clubs and allowed me to play on this exquisite course. I was an avid tennis player at the time, so I had a powerful swing, but connecting with the tiny golf ball was an entirely different matter. Brian was also a beginner, and although he had played golf before, he had a hard time connecting with the ball that day. So away we swung, and swung and swung. It was a sight to behold. Luckily, the golf course wasn’t crowded that day, and so away we swung at the tiny ball.
Although my memory of that fateful day has faded over the years, I remember I had an exceptionally hard time striking the ball with the irons. On one fairway, I had about 160 yards to the green according to the nearby sprinkler head, which Brian had taught me to look for. I was getting frustrated and beginning to give up on the irons, so I decided to try one of the woods. The woods looked larger and easier to hit the ball with. I believe I took out a 3 wood. It was an ugly looking club. I do remember it was all steel, a bit heavy and scratched and dented all over. I remember taking a powerful swing at the ball and connecting well. I remember hearing the sound of the ball on the club face, but not feeling the impact. Somehow, unbelievably, I had hit the sweet spot if there ever was one on that particular club, and how sweet it was. What a remarkable feeling. I remember seeing this little tiny ball take off, up into the heavens and heading straight for the green. I also remember Brian yelling “WOW, what a shot”. The ball it seemed stayed airborne forever, and it kept going and going, sailing over the flag, over the entire green, over the back bunker and into some thick brush some 20 to 30 yards past the green, never to be found again. But that didn’t seem to matter at all. It was just the unfortunate consequence of a ball well struck. I didn’t care where the ball ended up, nor whether it was ever found. All that mattered was that I had just experienced something special.