This year is my 25th anniversary – of when I started to play golf – and despite huge effort and much anguish, I remain hopeless.
It is also our 25th wedding anniversary which means that Nikki has witnessed this entire sporting debacle. Over the years, she has seen how excited I am heading for the course and how dejected and vanquished I am on my return.
“How was it?” She asks politely, hopefully but rather pointlessly.
“Oh, you know, some great shots. But mostly shit. I don’t know why I bother?”
No doubt, she agrees but is kind enough not to say so.
And every hapless golfer understands this painful equation. A few joyful shots that soar and intersperse the abject shots that defy physics and crush the spirit. This is why I started my 4 boys playing the game early – and why all of them are much better now than their old man. Paddy, still some way short, but he has a knowing air about him and the inevitability ahead.
Just another Eclipse, I suppose?
Maybe it was the trip to Hawaii at the start of the year to watch the Sony Open and where Tom got to play with a certain Mr Jordan Spieth and his subsequent invite to every pro-am going, or Tiger becoming the Master again… but he really has the golf bug now – and torments me with frequent phone calls from America with tales of birdies and eagles – and if not his golf, then news of his blinking work life which is equally contrasting to my own.
And his brothers have responded too. Perhaps mindful of their big brother sailing over the horizon career-wise, they are determined that this will not be repeated on the golf course.
And all this playing and golf chatter has even forced Nikki to think about taking up the game.
Naturally, she consults the Holland golf coach and guru. A self-appointed position and the incumbent happens to be the most delusional member of the household.
We head to the golf range with a 9 iron and a bucket of hope. The results are mixed. Too often, Nikki misses the ball altogether. She hits nothing, not even the ground. What chances of playing good golf when you miss hitting even the earth? Our planet?
But I am encouraging. Much to work on, I explain and get excited by. But she remains doubtful.
“…I don’t know. I’m just not sure if I want to make a commitment to something that seems to provide fleeting moments of joy but mostly is a grinding disappointment…’
Before I can reply, I realise that that my wife of 25 years has not yet finished.
With a wry look and a little pause, she adds just a single word…
It’s a great line and why I love her.
Happy anniversary darling for September.
(assuming we make it, that is)