It's 6:15 AM last Wednesday and I am at a golf course. I feel insane for doing this because, to quote Lebowski, I am obviously not a golfer. I used to golf as a kid quite a bit, I just sorta fell out of love with the sport for some reason (ADHD, Football) until recently. I love watching the game, but playing it never did anything for me because I lack the patience necessary to suck at something while at the same time enjoying it like so many of my friends do. I beat my Dad to the course, which makes me feel like a grown-up for a split second. Then I realized that I'm starting up a small marketing shop, broke and trying to figure my proverbial shit out (What's up, ladies). I instantly am put in my place by the cosmos. There is a portable light illuminating the driving range at about 70-quadrillion-candle power. Men all around me are smiling and donning dry fit shirts, slacks and a bag of sticks good enough for a pro. Upon observing the driving range, it's clear to everyone that these fellas aren't professionals, but for just today they get to feel like it.
If I were to describe the mood here in one word it'd be "cocky." I had no badge, no pass, nothing on me that deemed myself worthy for admission to the grounds; yet I gained admission easily through not making eye-contact and walking with conviction. I am realizing that this place is whiter than homogenized milk treated with Clorox. There are a lot of "words words words belly laugh" conversations going on all around me. It feels like... golf. My only goal today is "Do not eff up Dad's game, just carry the clubs and shut up." This is a difficult task for me.
When one hears about a Pro-Am, I think that most thoughts go to the celebrity Pro-Am model as exhibited in "Happy Gilmore;" where one person is paired with a professional and they go play a tournament combining their scores for a total that will eventually be tallied against the field to define a winner. One would be considered false with this assumption. A standard Pro-Am groups 4 amateurs with one professional and his friends who just want to tag along. This made for the most absurd walk through a course I've ever been a part of.
These things have to be the ultimate ass-whip for most professionals who just want to get in to the town in which the tournament is held, check in to their hotel and go make their living trying to place in the tournament. This happens in no other sport as it does in golf. I think it's really cool that they do this, but it really does have to suck the life-blood from most tour professionals to go out with 4 random dudes who will do nothing but slow the round of golf down to the pace of an EZ-Go with a flat tire. That being said...
Ken Duke was our professional, and I must say that he's a hell of a nice guy. So were his friends. His caddy was a hell of a dude as well, though he was a Bama superfan. He had a hat AND a bracelet telling me so. I wanted to troll him, but my Dad beat me to it with some Johnny Football smack. Good on you, Dad. Also joining us were four of Ken's friends and 3 tournament supervisors. If you're keeping score, That's five golfers, five caddies, four friends and three from the Nelson. I've never walked a course with 17 people before, but I'm willing to do it again.
The round went off without incident, we had a great time and I really enjoyed walking the course. I guess that as I've matured (shut up, I have) I realized the cool thing about golf is just being able to walk and play in the beauty of a golf course with other people, be them friends or people you've just met. I hadn't known any of our group before the outing, but during the round, we all became momentary friends. It's really nice to have no agenda and just get out there, play and enjoy yourself. I think golf may be the greatest equalizer on the planet. We all suck at it. Even if you're good, you get frustrated to the point of insanity during a round. EVERYONE has a pointer for you. Every. One. I even offered a tip to my Dad that was super-generic. "Just relax." That's great work, Mr. Haney. Thank you.
All in all it was a beautiful day, a nice round of golf and I got to spend some quality time with my Dad. It's funny how the parent/child relationship changes as you get older. Your parents move from disciplinarians to your trusted advisors and friends if you're lucky. I consider myself very lucky in that department. Thank you, Dad.
I got sentimental, I'm sorry.