Casey Hagen, Author

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When I’m Not Writing…I’m Golfing and Here’s Why

Posted on Oct 7, 2014 by Casey Hagen   No Comments Yet | Posted in Uncategorized

Hole 17

Last spring my husband gave me a three pack of golf lessons from an instructor for Mother’s Day. Yes, ladies…I’m sure this is way, way down on the list of things you want for Mother’s Day or maybe not on the list at all. It certainly wasn’t on mine. Until that point, I had a set of low end clubs that I would use on the rare occasion I went to the range with my husband.

I went to lesson one with a good dose of fear and trepidation at my guaranteed humiliation. I was every end of the spectrum. Some shots went far and straight, others scrubbed not thirty feet away from me. There was the occasional shot that went sideways…and I mean SIDEWAYS, had other golfers been hitting next to me, I’d have them dancing. And I can’t forget my favorite, when I would swing at the ball with all my might and miss the damn thing by a mile. Golfer tip for you…don’t close your eyes when you swing. And when I was super lucky, I would miss the ball by a mile because I slammed the golf head, usually a driver head, into the ground behind the ball at full force. This breaks clubs. Not usually the first time you do it, but eventually!

My husband was patient and quite honestly, if he were anything like me, he replayed these moments in his mind and laughed his ass off. Out of ear shot of course! He likes to live.

With three lessons under my belt, my instructor pronounced me ready for the course. I thought he lost his damn mind. Would you send a new driver out after three lessons? Um, hell no! There are all kinds of obstacles on the golf course. If you’re really unlucky, you get linked up with another twosome to witness your humiliation. You can hit houses, people, pool areas at some courses, and God forbid you hit the ball straight at a tree or boulder and it comes back at you and takes your head off. But my husband reassured me and on the course I went.

My husband is extremely patient, something I’m not. He made sure to book tee times when we could play alone. He kindly reminded me of golf etiquette when I would swear at the top of my lungs or whoop and holler with every success. I gained confidence and slowly got better.

One day, the inevitable happened. We were in line to start and there was a twosome behind us. My hubby, the polite one, looked at me and asked if I would mind letting them play with us. Um, hell yeah, I mind! But apparently, this is the courteous thing to do. I didn’t want to. The husband looked like a dick. There was just something about the way he carried himself that put me off. I know, how did I notice this when he was sitting in a golf cart? But I did. I eventually gave in.

It was hole first hole of the day, my third shot. The dick opened his mouth and said, “You know what your problem is?” Anyone who asks this is not expecting an answer. They’re setting up to give you unsolicited advice. But me, I told him exactly what I did wrong and how I needed to fix it and shut down his, “hey little lady, let me show you how all knowing I am and help you muddle your way through this man’s game” attitude. The problem though, we had another 17 holes to go where I had to resist beating him with my 6 iron.

Bad experience aside, my husband and I have made it a priority to golf almost every weekend since. This starts in March when the courses open up, soggy from the melted snow saturating the ground, through the fall, when bright and crunchy leaves litter the course making it next to impossible to find even a ball hit on either side of the course. Here are a few things I’ve learned since I started playing.

The simple things…

Golf is addicting – Golfers become obsessed with getting better. They start looking up videos about swing, watching golf on TV all the time, reading golf magazines, etc. All of these things, I must admit to doing.

Golf breeds shopping addiction – New clubs, gloves, tees, balls, golf clothes, cleats, hats, ball markers (one for every hat of course), you name it, we buy it. Budget Golf online store is one of my best friends!

You need to change grips frequently – Listen, people can be seriously injured out there. Really. Just last week, we were at the range and my pitching wedge came right out of my hands on my follow through and pin wheeled over my head, almost nailing myself in my own ass. Funny, yes, but also dangerous! While spending all that money on the other stuff, make sure to buy new grips.

The not so simple things…

I compete mostly with myself – I know what I’m supposed to do. I know how to hold the club handle, how far to bring the club back, when to turn my body, where to place my feet, and how to follow through. Putting all of those things together just right? That’s the hard part and most of the time I do pretty well. I just always want to be better. I’m always looking to shave just one stroke off the score from the previous weekend. I’m so obsessed, I can’t even look at my score after the first nine because it’s too much pressure thinking about what I need to do on the back nine.

I’m hard on myself – I forget that in the world of golf, I really am a beginner. I don’t practice every day or even every week. Life is too busy for that. So why do I expect to improve as though I do?

I unrealistically expect perfection – I’m a perfectionist or so I’ve been told. This makes the game of golf agonizing because having 18 perfect holes? This doesn’t even happen for the pros so I shouldn’t expect it from myself.

Patience, patience, patience – If you screw up a hole, forget it and move on to the next. Still working on this one!

Golf is a game that can raise you so high on one hole, and then slam you down the next – And I mean, it takes your face and grinds it right into the dirt for good measure.

Just this past Sunday, I took on a long par 5. My most dreaded hole on the course. Dogleg left, the first shot aims right at the community pool. I always shoot it short enough that I have to hit over 75 yards of bushes on my second shot to get it on the fairway. I’ve never made par on this hole. My best score 7 on a 5, a double bogie. My worst? Well, we won’t go there but to say, we stop counting when we double par.

Sunday, I hit the perfect driver shot, for me, and ended up far enough into the corner that I didn’t have to hit over the bushes, and then I hit a solid 3 wood shot to get it in reach of the green. For me, these two shots alone already made this a successful hole. Then my husband says, “Remember, shoot to the right of the green, avoid that sand,” because, of course, there has to be sand right before the green. What do I do? I don’t listen and I go right for the flag…and sail it right over the sand to land on the green in three. This is not the norm and at this point…we’re both psyched.

And this leads to best part of golf…my husband, best friend, soul mate, right alongside me cheering me on. Even when he’s having the shittiest game, he’s always so excited when I do well and always cheers for me. Even when it means I’m kicking his butt! I need to get out of my head a little and get better at cheering him on when he’s doing great and I’m not. I’m usually inside my head analyzing ever way I went wrong at that point and sometimes too in my own head to recognize he had a really great shot. Working on changing that!

And just when I think my husband can’t be any more supportive, he says something really great. No really, and now it’s the best thing about golf for me. He probably doesn’t even remember saying it, but I’ll never forget. I always know how he looked, what he was wearing, what hole we were on, and after all the normal exclamations of, ‘Oh my God, did you see that?’ and the ‘You did it, can you believe it?’ He pressed his hand to his chest as one does when their heart races and says, “Man, I’m so glad I get to be here to see this!”

That moment is what really makes golf worth playing and why I always want to play with him!

Jim Golfing


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