Moving Up Doesn't Solve High Scores
My life changed drastically recently. It was kind of like a rite of passage, if you will.
At the club where I play golf -- kind of -- there are a couple of magical birthdays that earn gangsome members a new status on the golf course. When you turn 60, you move from the blue tees up to the white, a gain of around 500 yards during a round.
When you reach 70, you are allowed to move up the silver tees, a gain of another 500 yards or so. These moves earn a golfer new-found respect in the gangsome as his scores usually reflect the shorter yardage.
I've seen guys make this transition so well that they go from being C players to attaining A-player status. It's sweet stuff. Teammates give you high fives instead of low digs. They heap praises upon you instead of curses.
It's new life for the old and weary. It keeps you in the game, as it were. At least team captains don't avert their eyes as they make selection after selection before one has to choose you.
One of the nicest things about this process is that it keeps everyone in the game. Some guys move to those silver tees and begin shooting their ages every couple of weeks. It's something a lot of plus-65 guys look forward to with great anticipation.
I've watched this happen for several years now, and it's almost magical to see the difference in a golfer's attitude when he's putting for birdies on every hole instead of bogeys.
So, yeah, I was kind of looking forward to the magic day with some pleasure. Movin' on up. Maybe life after 70 was going to be all right.
Only problem was, I had this sneaking feeling my moving up to the silver tees might be kind of like what happened when I moved from the blue to the white. By the time I got there, that's where I needed to be.
Unfortunately, my birthday fell on Friday this year. The gangsome doesn't play on Fridays because there may be another couple of groups on the course, and we don't want anything in our way as we flit around the course in three hours. That also rules out Saturdays and Sundays. And then it was too cold on Monday.
If the temperatures don't reach 50, the gangsome doesn't reach the first tee. We're a spoiled bunch here at Gates Four.
Finally, everything came together Tuesday. I was so excited that I even went to the range and hit three warm-up shots. Twice as many as usual. Today's the day, I thought. I'll probably go out there and put a nice little 70 on the card. Symbolic stuff, you know?
Well, it didn't quite work out that way. Actually, I felt kind of strange up there at those silver tees while the other guys in my group teed off from the longer tees. Weird feeling. Old feeling. Creepy stuff.
The first two holes were nice, though. Two-putted for par on the first hole. Chipped and putted for par on the second hole. Then the walls came tumbling down. Popped up into a lake in front of the tee. Double bogey. Just like real golf.
The next hole was a par-5, and for the first time in maybe 10 years I felt that with a good tee shot, I might be able to reach the green in two. Bad thought. Wild slice into trees on the right. Bogey.
OK, that's as far as I'm going with the play-by-play. Suffice it to say it got uglier. I learned the sad lesson that no matter how short the course might be playing, you still have to hit a decent shot now and then.
I went on to shoot 42-42 -- 84. I guess it was poetic irony that my last round from the white tees had produced exactly the same numbers.
So now what do I do? Hopefully, by the time you read this, I'll have had a chance to play another round and the results will be better. Trouble is, instead of feeling optimistic I'm fighting a feeling of foreboding.
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