– indecision –
Golf. I don’t know why it happened or how it started, but it just seemed to always be there. It was there in my dad, it was there in my mom. And it was definitely there in my brother. A dinner conversation was never complete without a mention of the latest news or current leaderboard standings. My house was plastered with golf memorabilia and I always had to be careful not to roll my ankle on any of the golf balls scattered on the floor of our family room, turned putting area. Very rarely did a family vacation not revolve around golf. It was always there. For better or for worse, golf was always there.
I can’t remember my earliest memory of golf because, like I said, it was always there. When I was two I loved golf. I loved it. I remember packing up the car with clubs and heading out to the country club, merely an hour or so away from sunset. I remember walking on the perfectly groomed grass, wiggling my little toes into the cool moistness. I would swing my club at the ball, and even when I missed, everyone was happy. The beaming joy from my whole family bounced off one another, creating a moment so full of happiness. I threw myself back on the ground, soaking up the final rays of sunlight of the glorious day. I loved golf. Golf had created a perfect day.
Toddlers sometimes get upset for no reason, and at times, they don’t even know what has gotten them so worked up. This was not the case for me, I knew why I was upset. When I was four I hated golf. I walked down into the basement and came back up very disturbed by what I had seen. A considerably sized chunk of my play space in the basement was now occupied by a big, bulky, and somewhat coarse to the barefoot, putting green. I might have been sad about the new intrusion, but the real horror came next. My brother had retired from our petty little games, and now was putting on the putting green. Every chance he got he was down there putting, day in day out. I think this is when I started talking to my cat. All so sudden, and all so soon. Golf had stolen my friend.
Her tail was wagging with joy. My mom’s face was beaming with excitement. My dad’s head was shaking in disapproval. We had gotten a dog, we had gotten Augusta. When I was five I loved golf. Golf was the reason that the most wonderful dog had entered our lives. It was the boys versus the girls in the struggle to bring her home. Obviously, the girls prevailed with only a slight complication. The dog had to have a golf name. A minor wager if it meant I got a dog. So she was Augusta, and forever she will be. Augusta National is the home to one of golf’s greatest triumphs, the Masters. The green jacket is a marking of excellence. Her green collar is a marking of love. Her never ceasing love and ever-present joy. Golf had given me the best dog ever.
A new school, new teachers, new classmates. Same last name. When I was twelve I hated golf. The first day of middle school had come and what was a fresh palette for the rest of my classmates, was now just another day of my artificial smile to confirm that “yes, yes Will is my brother.” ” Oh, he’s doing great, the summer season was just swell.” Maybe I’ll list a few of his tournaments just for kicks. They smile, I smile. They laugh, I laugh. We both sit down. To them, I am just his younger sister. To some, I don’t even have my own name. To others it will be the only reason they will stop me in the hall or talk to me after class. Never interested in me, only what I know. From then on I was Grimmer, just Grimmer. Golf had pushed me under the bus.
The headlines read, the interviews stated, the town praised. My older brother, my seventeen-year-old brother had qualified for the US Open. That’s right, the US Open. When I was thirteen I loved golf. How could I not? For one week, everything about my family’s life changed. We were back at Pinehurst and what a joy it was. A place we had been to so often, now suddenly felt so different. The air was sweet, and the Arnold Palmer sweeter. My credentials allowed me to go anywhere and spurred my imagination on further. A crowded course was a spectacle for the dreamer. The week would soon become memories, but memories I would not soon forget. This journey so long, yet over so soon. Golf had given me an experience of a lifetime.
Three chairs, not four. One child, not two. An empty house, not full. Will had gone off to college. When I was fifteen I hated golf. For him, his whole life was changing. For us, everything stayed the same. The only difference was that now our hearts were gaping holes of loneliness. I smiled at his phone calls when he would ramble on about his classes and his friends and this big grand life he had up there. How did he seem so happy without me? How did I seem so sad without him? The days got slower, and my heart got sadder. There is a realization that you get when change comes, yet you choose to ignore it. When it does hit you, it hurts. And I mean it really hurts. The realization is that things will never be the same. It is as simple as that. A cliche I never thought to be true. All of a sudden, it was the only thing that I knew. With each passing day, my happiness became distant, my eyes became red, and my mind became quiet. Golf had taken away my best friend.
My ears turn, my mind puzzles, my mouth smiles, my curiosity gets the best of me. This is my reaction when I hear the word golf. Sure, it might be a force of habit, it might be an engraved instinct. In reality, it is because I love golf. Sure, my opinion shifts daily, but I know that when I am on the eighteenth hole of life, I will love golf. Golf is what strings my family together, golf is what makes my brother so happy, but most importantly, golf is what makes me, me. My days are not filled with buckets of range balls or dozens of wedge shots. My room is not full of trophies or signed flags. My mind is not filled with dreams of winning majors. But I will tell you that my life is measured in holes. Some days are harder, and we hit bogeys. Other days are easier, and we hit birdies, maybe an eagle if we are lucky. But at the end of the day, life is a journey. And there is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful that golf is a part of my life, that golf is always there. For better or for worse, golf is always there.
“As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.” – Ben Hogan