My friends, Sunday was a great accomplishment in my golf life. Maybe I was inspired by watching Rickie Fowler’s 7 consecutive birdies (!!) in the Hero World Challenge. Maybe I was picking up some pro golf techniques by osmosis as we watched hours on end of golf coverage. Or maybe, maybe the universe just knew I was due for a golf win. Whatever the cause, the end result was this: a sweet, beautiful, all-natural, mulligan-free, legitimate par. My first ever on a non-pitch-and-putt course.
It was just like any other day on the greens. I was trying desperately to get some air on my hybrid shots, hacking away (literally) at chip shots, and putting like a champ (seriously, it’s the only decent part of my game), and I was still lucky to shoot a 5 on a par 3. Then I stepped up to the fifth hole and everything changed.
I teed up. I grabbed my trusty hybrid club. I took a deep breath and hoped for the best because, let’s face it, that about all I can do most days and it’s even more true when I haven’t played golf in two months (unless you count the tiny putting green at Golf Town…which you shouldn’t). There were no practice swings. There was no positive self-talk. There was no conscious thought whatsoever. There was just me and my hybrid, in the zone for one brief moment.
I made good contact. I know the sound because it happens so rarely for me. I watched as, miraculously, the ball took flight up in the air. I watched it flying closer and closer to the green, only to drop to the ground just shy of the green. But then the universe handed me a gift. I got a generous bounce, and then another generous bounce, and then a thank-you-lord little roll. Before I knew it, my ball was on the green. I’ve done this only twice before. This in itself was a miracle. There may have been jumping up and down.
Once I made my way to the green, I knew this was going to my first legitimate birdie. Spoiler: it wasn’t. The ball was a good 40 feet from the hole but, here’s the thing, I am occasionally freakishly good with my long putts. I was also still riding the high of perhaps my best tee shot ever. I was going to sink this putt. I took my time, lined up the putt, practiced a couple putting strokes. Then I putted.
It was tracking the whole way, right on line, and it was all looking so magical, that is until the ball just petered out and came to a stop. I didn’t get the weight right. I was still four feet from the hole, a dangerous putt for me since I have a tendency to think I don’t need to line it up from that distance. My boyfriend told me to take my time and line it up, and for once I listened. I looked at that ground from all angles, determined to find any sign of a break. I took another deep breath and gave that putt my all.
As a casual (i.e. undeniably unskilled) golfer, there is nothing sweeter than the sound of a ball falling to the bottom of the cup on a par putt. You would have thought I hit a hole-in-one for all my excitement and jumping up and down. I know, I can see some of you giving me serious side eye right now, wondering how on earth one par score over months of golfing is worthy of an entire blog post. To you I say: you cannot steal my sense of pride and accomplishment here. I got a par. Without a mulligan. On a reasonably long par 3. That is a good day in the life of a wannabe golfer and I am going to ride this wave whether you think it worthy of celebration or not.
Never you mind that I shot a 10 on the next hole…