I grew up behind the #2 Tee of the local country club.
You can assume whatever you want from that statement. Some of it may be true, a lot of it probably not, but it’s all one big puddle of moot.
We had lattice and railing around our back porch, and when I was still shorter than the rails, I would spend hours watching the golfers through the holes in the wood. Most of them never knew I was there until my shrill, loud voice started to heckle them—“You dog-legged it!” or “Oh no! The woods! Ya hit it in the woods!”
When you grow up an only child, you find your fun where you can.
A few of them were regulars enough that they knew my schedule and would turn and wave to the unseen, disembodied voice they knew was behind them before they even took their shot. “Been working on that dog-leg problem!” some of them would call out. I’d raise my hand above the rail and give a thumbs up.
And then critique their swing.
There was no winning with me as their critic.
The house is dramatically different, gutted in the late 90s after a fire, expanded a couple of times, decorated in my step-mother’s style now rather than my mother’s. The trees between the house and #2 are decades taller, and the lattice work rotted eons ago.
But the porch is covered now, with fans to keep some of the flying things away. I’m back here this week while Earl attends day camp with a family friend out on the river, and I’ve found myself camped out on the porch with just enough breeze from the fans to keep the temperature down to tolerable.
Yesterday, I sat out here with pajama pants hiked up to Timbuktu and towels soaked in vinegar wrapped around my legs. TechPapa, Earl, and I went tubing this weekend—twice—and my skin is determined enough that SPF 50 is pointless. The backs of my legs are fine, but the sunburn on the flip-side gives them a weird mullet appearance.
Hellbeast in the front, Cullen in the back.
I spent the day on the back porch with the fans to keep the vinegar reek out of my nostrils and stared at an empty course. The club is closed on Mondays. So I read my book, enjoyed the fresh air, relaxed.
Today, the golfers have been full-tilt. Golf doesn’t change much through the years, but it seems everyone has stopped dog-legging to the left and are now driving straight toward one of the houses way off right, landing their balls behind a line of trees that separates that side of the fairway from the green.
It’s not a line of trees you can cut through, no matter how good you think you are. Thems old, thick trees over there. And low. And tall.
I saw one guy earlier pull up and take his place at the yellow tees, the furthest back from the hole. He had the clothes, the bag, the swagger that seasoned golfers have. I mean, come on, he was playing from yellow!
He took three practice swings, shifted his feet for a few seconds, then stepped up to the ball. Drove it like he meant it. The ball shot way up, flying, then landed just on the other side of the women’s tees.
It took every ounce of everything I had not to yell, “What’d you hit it with? A pitching wedge?”
I kept my mouth shut, though, because there’s no lattice for me to hide behind anymore. And things sound much snarkier coming from 37-year-old lungs than the sweet lips of a precocious towheaded 4-year-old.
Yeah, my inner golf critic is still alive and well. Just don’t ask what my handicap is or how long it’s been since I picked up anything other than a mini-golf putter. I talk a good talk, but I’d rather sit and watch than walk the walk.