I went out for another nine on my own today in the late afternoon with rain threatening and very few people on the course. It was peaceful out there and I love the luxury of putzing around and taking my time. I don’t necessarily hit a bunch of extra balls, but I like to not feel pushed. If I do drop a ball for a correction shot, I like to know there is time for it.
There were three golfers speaking what I think was Korean who came up quickly behind me in a cart. I see many, many Asian golfers on this course. They always play from the blue tees, no matter what their ability level, and they always parade around the latest, greatest gear – not that that means anything but I am entertained by their machismo and camaraderie. They seem to be having a great time out there. I took my time using the bathroom at the maintenance shed and let them play through. They were clearly on a quick pace and I didn’t feel like being in front of them.
Once they were in front of me I had the course to myself. It was heaven.
I wish I could say it helped my game to have all the time I wanted out there. It didn’t. I am still having the same problems of hitting too many shots either thin or fat. I tend more toward hitting shots thin. I hit a lot of beauties out there today too, but I have just run out of patience for skulled shots and I am not sure I’m capable of solving this problem on my own. So when I was finished playing my nine averaging double bogeys, I told myself I couldn’t leave the premises until I made inquiries in the pro shop about lessons. If the pro was there I would talk to him directly. If he wasn’t there and it was friendly Kevin who is often there in the late afternoons, I’d talk to him about how the lessons work, what kind of an instructor the pro is, etc. In any case, I was talking about lessons before I blew grass off my golf shoes!
The pro was there. Pete Black, PGA professional. Mr. Black was wiping down the coffee area when I opened the door. Take your game to the next level, say his cards on the counter. (This and all names that appear in this blog, including my own, have been changed to preserve anonymity).
Alrighty then. No excuse. Go right on in and strike up a convo.
“I hear you give lessons,” I said immediately after pushing the door open.
“Yes I do.”
“Well I need at least one.”
“When do you want to start?”
“The weather is a factor the next few days, I think, right?” I asked, well aware of the torrential rains forecast for the next several days.
He knodded. We figured the first day that might work would be Saturday. When he went to record this lesson in the books, I was surprised that he already knew my name.
“Yeah, that’s right.” I paused then continued. “The more golf I play the worse I seem to be getting,” An emphatic “puh” sound burst forth from my lips. He smiled an all-knowing smile.
“That is often the case,” he said.
“When I hit the shot that counts, I hit it bad but when I drop one to make the correction, it’s usually really good.” I paused.
“I can hit it well,” I said.
“Most people can when they’re relaxed,” he said.
“It’s all up here,” I said pointing to my head. “This is where I need the most help, though I’m sure there are mechanical things that I can improve. I really love the game,” I assured him.
Pete chuckled and told me golfers need to learn how to practice, and to not think of too many things when they swing. I’m sure he’s seen and heard it all before and to him, I’m just another middle aged lady golfer asking for help. I want to be more special than that because, at the heart of it, I guess I’ve always felt I had talent that never got developed. For all I know, everyone thinks that, but I still feel like I can become a competitive golfer. I want to beat these women who hit driver on a 130 yard par three when I’m pulling a 5-iron out of my bag. And some day, I want to be the club champion, at more than one course. If I am delusional, I’ll find out soon enough. I know it will take practice and that’s what this winter is for. Come spring I’ll be ready!
All along, I’d been kind of scared to approach Pete Black because I haven’t seen him smile much and he looks like he drinks a lot, you know, with that red complexion you see in older folks, and he is probably in his early 60s. He reminds me of friends of my dad’s who scared me when I was a little kid but now, I’m close to their age. Bottom line, Pete seems to be a nice guy and I’ll give it a chance. He is charging me $50 for an hour. Seems pretty reasonable to me.
If I can’t have Harvey Penick, Pete Black will have to do.
Next Saturday at two o’ clock – we shall see!
Nine hole score: 52
Putts: 19 Two putts/8, Three putts/1
Solid Contact: 17
Shots Left: 16
52% solid contact.
The takeaway: I don’t have the patience to figure out why I’m skulling it over and over. I want a professional to tell me why.
Thought for the day: A golf instructor is as much a therapist as he/she is an instructor of the mechanics of golf.