I enjoy golf. It is not always fun. But there is a joy in it still for me. It’s only been three years and I don’t get to play as often as I would like. However, the game is a joy to me. It is a challenge. I picked up a review of a book in the New York Times of The Downhill Lie, and related particularly to the follow quote:
Consulting books by the experts, Hiaasen comes across this tall order from Bob Rotella, the sports psychologist: “On the first tee, a golfer must expect only two things of himself: to have fun, and to focus his mind properly on every shot.” A friend agrees to join him in a tournament on one condition: “Promise me you’ll have fun.” Meanwhile, his wife and son sign up for lessons and … they think it’s fun! Hiaasen writes as if he were the only golfer out there who isn’t having a good time. Is golf fun? I wouldn’t know. In my experience, it’s a lot like writing — exhilarating when you get it right, and the rest of the time it’s torture.
While the journal format doesn’t allow Hiaasen much occasion to exercise his flawless ear for dialogue, it does give us a chance to hear the voice in his own head. His preoccupations emerge as themes here: a midlife awareness of the physical decay that aging brings, a stubborn resolve to prove himself the exception, memories of his father, hope in his son.
I turned 40 this week. And after a party in which we played duck duck goose, danced the hokey pokey, cops and robbers, octopus and ran up hill chasing footballs and frisbees, I was painfully conscious of the shape I am in. But for golf…I promise to have fun! Let’s go play!