Newport Beach, here I come.

by gbsmith4

I tried to avoid it.  I made every effort to do new things.  I even sold all my equipment, clothing, and accessories.

But, after 5 years away, I’m back playing golf.  Yes, cycling was interesting.  Tennis was fun.  And I wasn’t half bad at either.  But, at golf I’m actually, well, good.

Of course, I never intended to come back.  But, there was a fraternity get together with guys I hadn’t seen in roughly 30 years.  And seeing as there was golf on the agenda, Nancy suggested I might want to hit a few balls so I wouldn’t embarrass myself.  Well, if you know me at all, you know where that was headed: one basket led to two.  Two baskets led to a few times a week, then some new clubs, then some casual rounds, and then — inevitably — my normal 7x a week routine.

Ironically, I found I hadn’t lost all that much.  Maybe a half club shorter than I was 5 years ago.  And my short game is rusty.  Oh, and in the one tournament I did play in — a municipal “club championship” — I choked so badly on the first hole, my tee shot landed in the driving range.

But, that can all be fixed with a few thousand balls, about a hundred rounds, and maybe 10 tournaments.  Of course, I can never go out and “just play.”  No, I’m hardwired so that I have to have a goal.  And being as I’ll turn 56 in a few days, the U.S. Senior Amateur in Newport Beach, is just the ticket.

Oh, I’m not talking about winning it.  (Although, I suppose it’s possible.  First I’d have to qualify, or course, then make it to match play, beating a bunch of former pros and such.  But unlike tennis and cycling, I’ve never competed with anyone in my age group who I thought was just head-and-shoulders above me.  Still, I’d say the odds of winning are maybe 1%….and that’s if I’m really on my game.)

But, as I mentioned, first I have to qualify, and even that’s no easy task.  I mean when I was in my late 40s I played lights out in the US Mid-Amateur quali and still fell 2 shots short.  But, that was against young bucks 25 years and older.  At least now I’ll only be tackling other old farts.

But, so far, I think I’m doing everything I can.  With this cold, I’m hitting balls indoors, but with a launch monitor so I know where they’re going.  I’ve already taken a lesson with our local pro to get a baseline.  I’ve rejoined my old club.  I’ve contacted a few old buddies about playing some 2-man tournaments in the spring.  And, I have a full complement of tournaments lined up in the early summer and fall.

It’s going to be fun.  And a lot easier than cycling.