I’ll never forget the first time I ever picked up the sticks. I had just gone through a breakup with my high school girlfriend and one of my good friends called me up the next day asking if I wanted to golf. Now, growing up I had played baseball and was quite good at it so I thought, “What the hell? Can’t be harder than swinging a bat.” So I grabbed my dad’s old clubs, and let me tell you they were ancient. They were an iron brand called Lynx, something I don't think you can even find in most golf stores today. They were forged blades too so you can take a guess how my first round ever went. Since that day, I have played thousands of rounds of golf with mainly a group of 10 people. All my age or younger. But yesterday on the course I had one of my most fulfilling golf experiences.
I teed off all by myself at 12:45 in the afternoon after messing around on the putting green putting one-handed. I had no intentions to pair up with anyone so I turned my music on (“Closer” Pandora radio station for those wondering) and went through a normal round catching balls fat, leaving some putts short, and sprinkling in a birdie or two and some pars along the way. I ran into some traffic along the way but never pressed to pass the twosome in front of me. I wasn’t there to just play a round after all. I was also testing the application to make sure everything went smoothly. It went way more smoothly than my round. As I made the turn, the group that was two groups in front of me had just let a group pass them and now I had to wait my turn.
Now, for those who know me, know I can sometimes be impatient. However, I decided to wait (and wait while homeboy took six practice swings, stepped back from the ball, took two more, and then hit) and let the group behind me catch up and offered to play the back nine with me. All three men were retired and just enjoying a beautiful day in Austin. Two of them were walking (which made me wonder why I was riding in a cart) and one was driving his own cart. It was truly a fascinating experience to hear all of the stories and jokes they had along the way. One of the men had owned his own company before and another had been a partner at a venture firm here in Austin. But we bonded over everything, from sports (I’ll admit one guy was a Patriots fan so that stung after the Steelers game Sunday) to favorite beers to music to great shots.
Every golfer must experience this at least once in your life. Our elders have so much knowledge and insight into life and all those lessons can be applied to your life. They have the same sense of humor we do too so no joke can go un turned. They appreciated me letting them join me and not having to wait and I appreciated them giving me some good reads on my putts. As we all sank our last putts and shook hands, I was kind of sad it was over and almost asked if they wanted to go for another nine, knowing they had to get back to their wives. However, I know they’ll be out again. They always are they say.
So I implore you to think with an open mind next time you’re paired with an older gentleman. Sure, he may only be 150 yards off the tee (or if you’re lucky like I was, these guys were 225 off the tee). But he’s a straight shooter and you’ll have a fun round hearing about what he’s seen in life.