Why Red Plays Golf and Other Thoughts on Life, Cont.

Red, as they say, is no spring chicken.  A few years ago he could still play soccer – albeit with the players on the U10 team he was coaching – but the lines on the curves crossed and soon it was best to watch from the sidelines during practice.  So as to competitive sports, the options were considerably narrowed.

Thinking himself still a bit too young for shuffleboard, Red continued playing golf and even surprised himself at times with a respectable round here and there.  The good rounds are fun, but golf is mostly in the doing.  Too much of life is watching – movies, football games, theatre, music and other events.  Red likes to be the one doing and golf – however ultimately pointless it may seem – consists almost entirely of doing.  Yes, there is the camaraderie and exercise – Red likes to walk the course whenever possible and challenges any normal human over age 45 to go out and walk 18 on a steamy August afternoon and tell him they aren’t just a little bit tired afterwards.  But mostly, it is the doing of golf – picking the right club, making the correct swing, lining up the putt properly –  all while attempting to craft a decent score on the hole that you are playing.  Golf at its best consists entirely of that improbable  moment when Red takes a crooked stick and makes a small white ball do exactly what he wants in the garden that is any particular golf hole.

And finally there is this – on any given hole on any given day, Red can do better than the absolutely best athletes in the sport.  That could have never happened on a basketball court with NBA players; but it could happen at Pebble Beach where with a respectable drive and a well-placed 7-iron Red might just have a better score than Phil Mickelson on the par-4 16th.  And just like that, Red takes a skin from Lefty.  How sweet would that be?


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