Monday, June 27, 2011

Why I Love Golf!

I love golf, and not for your typical reasons.

I didn't hit a hole-in-one my first time out, I didn't grow up on any praticular golfcourse, and my friends and I are not members of an elite country club where the bartender knows what I like to drink and has it waiting for me as I come off the 18th green.

True, there is more than a traceable amount of respect for the game that hovers around the fact that you really only compete with yourself, it is a game of integrity, and there is a moral fiber that intertwines itself throughout every aspect of the 18 hole challenge, but I love the game for one reason. For me golf allows me to vividly re-live memories that have nothing to do with the game.

When I see golf on television or drive up to the first tee, I am reminded of the sight of the outdoor lantern lights hung from tree to tree over a swimming pool at a summer party that my parents brought us too at the neighbors house when I was 8 or the relfection of the christmas tree lights in the shiny wheel base of a brand new bike with the front tire cocked at an angle that makes it appear as if it were waiting for me to see it for the first time.

I smell charcoal, burnt hot dogs and suntan lotion on a scorching hot summer day knowing that there will be no school for 2 more months and the scent of assorted chocolates and tart candies that smack me in the nose as I open my trick-or-treat bag for the first time in the safety of our living room.

I hear the unmistakable pop of the fireworks and the choked squeal from a paper horn that is being blown too hard from a few houses over on a chilly new years eve when I am supposed to lying down and going to sleep or the sounds of other kids playing Marco Polo in the nearby pool while I lay on my back drying as the sun penetrates my closed eyes making the world pink.

I feel the surprisingly strong flap of a fistful of slimy fish as I try as a 10 year old to get it off the hook without my dad helping, then the coolness of the lake as I lean over the boat and put him back in the waters or the last firm plastic buckle snapping shut on my ski boots as I look up the hill to the chairlift knowing that today is the day I try the double black diamond for the first time.

And I taste the thick frosting of the rollerskate cake with the licorice rope shoelaces that my mom made for my birthday party, or the root beer floats that my dad made for my brothers and I well after our usual bedtime on an evening that my mother was away with her friends.

And I feel it all in a momentary rush that happens in seconds.

You see, I love golf for reasons that have nothing to do with golf. The sight of a stretched open fairway, a flag dotting the horizon in the long shadows of the clubhouse on 18 as the moon and the sun struggle for ownership of the sky, brings me to a series of places and a times that is reserved for moments of unadulterated pleasure, comfort, and security.

A time that was never scripted to last this long and can only be found again under very specific conditions. Stored in a vault, deep within my memory, that for some reason has golf as its only key.

I don't understand it myself, but then again, I don't need to!