CAMPOut:Fay's Rehoboth Journal
|by Fay Jacobs|
|When the Going Gets Tough, the Girl's in the Rough
I'm on a quest to find my inner dyke.
In contrast to my long-standing and well-deserved reputation as a non-athletic, non-mechanical, non-outdoorsy brand of lesbian, I'm surprised to find myself tackling some of my demons.
If I suspected I'd live to 114, I'd call it a midlife crisis. Suffice it to say that after a winter of losses and stress, I'm following my insightful counselor's advice to "take some time for yourself" and dabbling in new experiences. Herewith is the first.
In the cupboard of dykedom, golf is a staple. And with CAMP's Women's League starting for the season, if I wanted to see my friends it would have to be on the fairway. If only I could get that far.
Day One: I rendezvoused with Bonnie and my brave friend Barb at the driving range. Immediately, I broke a strict golf tenet. I parked in the nearest spot I found. "Nooo!" Bonnie hollered, noting that my car was dangerously close to the 9th hole and therefore a candidate for boinking with golf balls the size of hail. I moved the car.
Next, I purchased the storied bucket 'o balls and strode up to the driving range tee for a lesson in swinging the club ("Practice like an elephant swinging its trunk."). So I stood there in full view of Route One swinging my arms like Babar and fighting the urge to make circus sounds. Then I moved on to aiming for the ball on the tee. Whack. Nice for bocce ball.
From what was, for me, the dribbling range, we proceeded to the Par 3 course. As explained to me, Par 3 meant that I had three chances to humiliate myself before I was technically worse than the median average.
I teed off, but was teed off. I had lost my concentration.
As a wordsmith I was struck by the apparent contradiction in the term par. Why, I wondered, was below par on the course a good thing and feeling below par after a night of Cosmopolitans at Cloud 9 a bad thing? Conversely, being above par has always meant better than average to me, so why, when I hit the ball 8 times before it reached the green was that not, as Martha Stewart would say, a good thing. You see my point?
Day Two: On my way to the driving range, I stopped at our local golf store, because much like the White House Press Corps and Congressional Democrats, I needed balls.
Ah, so many choices! What's more, here was a whole shopping experience I'd never discovered. Fore! Golf shirts, golf shoes, wind pants, gadgets, fuzzy animal golf club coversI was overwhelmed. Bonnie managed to get me out of the store with a dozen pink golf balls and a rubber suction cup for the end of my putter so she wouldn't have to hear me groan when I reached down to the cup to retrieve my ball.
Back at the driving range, I managed to try out most of the borrowed clubs in my bag and actually fire a ball or two briefly into the air. A-OK!
Day Three: Dressed like Nanook of the North and trying to remain upright against a 30pmh wind in the parking lot of Marsh Island Golf Course I wished I'd bought those wind pants. Barb and her partner Evie, organizers of the aforementioned CAMP league showed up with snazzy wind wear and a special clear plastic golf cart cover with zip up windows. I felt like I was riding in Oklahoma's Surry with the Fringe on Top "with isenglas curtains you can roll right down, in case there's a change in the weather."
A change in the weather I get. When it's starting out this way, I questioned the point of going. But off we went, dressed like Abominable Snow-women, blowin' in the wind.
Despite the gale force gusts, or perhaps because of them, I overcame my convoluted swing ("You look like you're chopping wood!" "Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy!" "This isn't softball!") and marched steadily forward on the course, 20 yards or so at a time. Then, occasionally 30-40 yards. One time the wind caught my ball and accidentally tossed it onto the green, where, to my delight, I soon sank a putt, meaning one over par and a Humphrey Bogart. What is the derivation of Bogey anyway?
My self-congratulatory phase ended when I realized that the next hole was three football fields away, around a corner and past the 7-11.
And it was getting colder out. Say, do those little knitted golf ball covers double as hats?
Day Four: Barb drops off a copy of Golf for Dummies at my office. Should I take this personally????
Facing those demons: League day approached. I was afraid of embarrassing myself. My insecurities reared their little golf club covered heads with flashbacks of my being the last one picked for sixth grade softball and the first double fault in the sleepaway camp tennis match. My athletic prowess can best be summarized by my status on Bonnie's former softball team. I always wore my sneakers to sit on the bench, just in case somebody else didn't show up and they'd have to send me to right field to avoid forfeiture. Oy.
So I was worried. It's not like softball, basketball or volleyball where a klutz like me is never invited on the team. In our Women's League, all levels of players need applyin fact, it's encouraged. So while that provided some comfort, I still had the pre-tee-off heebie jeebies. I may have had a dozen pink Crystals, but did I have the balls to do this?
League Day: I arrived at the course to find a gaggle of golfers ready to set out and golf carts lined up nose to bumper like a Disney World tram.
Off we went in foursomes, with my quartet consisting of Barb, who wanted to keep an eye on me, and two other players. It was sunny and windy, the course looked beautiful, and I hesitantly stepped up to the tee for my first shot. Amazingly, the ball went up in the air for a short but respectable distance.
Since we were playing "best ball" I didn't have to struggle to keep up. Everybody just used the site of the ball that traveled the farthest for the next shot. It was actually fun. And once or twice, the quartet was reduced to using my ballwhile theirs had traveled way farther, they had suffered unfortunate landings in bodies of water.
One time, I whacked a shot towards the rough and when it landed, three bunnies flew out of the woods as if I'd rudely interrupted naptime. They were adorable and I was having fun.
Our foursome laughed, talked, and scooted along the fairway, leaning out of the carts to retrieve balls like polo players leaning from their horses. I received lots of good advice.
Overall, I made a bunch of crappy shots, dug up an unfortunate amount of turf, whiffed the air instead of the ball a few times and occasionally got a "nice shot!" from my companions.
It goes without saying that upon arriving at the Clubhouse I enjoyed the beer, camaraderie and post-game round-up. At that part of the sport I am above par, meaning good. Or would that be below par, meaning good? I really need an answer on this.
And, prior to next week's League night I intend to practice a little at the driving range and try to find some fuzzy Schnauzer golf club hats.
When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Fryinga Rehoboth Beach Memoir and can be reached at www.fayjacobs.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 4 May 6, 2005