Sunday, April 10, 2011

Golf and Me

This afternoon I watched The Masters and, as always, the tournament reminded of my 20-year relationship with golf. My infatuation with the game started when I was dating a man who played golf and thought playing often was important.

Not wanting to be left behind when he headed to the golf course on Saturdays, I decided to take up the game myself. I took lessons from a pro in The Woodlands, had custom clubs made, bought the cute clothes and shoes and called myself a golfer.

It didn't take long for my boyfriend to realize I wasn't really a golfer, but he rewarded my efforts by giving me extra mulligans for trying.

After we married, we purchased a painting of the 12th Hole of The Masters course. I loved the watercolor then, and I love it now. The landscape, with the contrasting colors of the dark green grass and the various shades of pink and purple azaleas, is beautiful and awe-inspiring.

It was the play on this hole in 1958 that Arnold Palmer "won" The Masters for the very first time. I say "won," because runner-up Ken Venturi challenged the win for decades.

It was also during the '58 Masters, that the 11th, 12th and 13th holes were first referred to collectively — as the Amen Corner.

Later on, I added another piece of art to my Masters collection — a beautifully framed black-and-white photograph of Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan. In the photograph, the two are standing near the first tee of The Masters course. Both are shown with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths — a classic image to be sure.
I've been told the photo was taken in 1960 — the year Palmer won The Masters for the second time. I like thinking that might be true.

Over the years, I've become a bigger and bigger fan of golf. I play golf (when I travel and in charity scrambles). I visit the driving range when the weather is perfect. I watch the pros on television.

I still have custom golf clubs, a great-looking golf bag and new trendy golf shoes that look like sandals. I like buying light pink golf balls and tees, golf clothes and putters. (I now have three.) I still like riding around in a golf cart and hanging out with friends at the 19th hole. I even welcome suggestions on improving my drive or short game from tipsy duffers.

Nowadays, I know a whole more about golf — enough to know better than to call myself a golfer. Instead, I simply call myself a fan of the game and all things related to it.

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