When I was little, my dad took me to the park to practice our short game. He practiced; I scampered around to find the golf balls that had gone hiding in the ankle-high grass.
When I became a sportswriter, I went to the U.S. Open and the Kemper. I wrote. Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Tom Kite vied for championships.
When I was in my mid-30s, my boyfriend the bar owner took off every Monday to play golf with buddies. I did my nails, cleaned, and had dinner ready in time for his post-round account of the day’s play-by-play.
Nobody, in all those years, ever invited me to play golf. But upon breaking up with said boyfriend, I decided I had been meeting men in all the wrong places and would learn the game. I signed up for a class and then bought a series of individual lessons with a teacher. And on June 24, 1993, at age 35, I played my first 18 holes with two brave friends who knew the game.
I subsequently had many (too many?) golf dates and even a golf wedding. Averaging four men for every woman. Golf courses outmatch dating sites and services for sheer opportunity, and they beat bars and nightclubs for character insights.
But, I found so much more than men through the game. Here are a few fringe benefits, which I hope make a case for why you might not want to wait any longer for an engraved invitation to golf:
Playing golf is much more fun than hopping on a treadmill. Walk 18 holes, and you’ve burned between 1200 and 1600 calories, depending on the hills.
Golf has taken me from Whistler in British Columbia to Kiawah Island in South Carolina, as well as Lake Tahoe, the Oregon Coast, the Alabama Gulf Coast, and the breathtaking Monterey Peninsula. As a golfer, I always remember to enjoy the views.
Common Ground with an Uncommon Array of People
I enjoyed time with the publisher of my newspaper, the NFL kicker, the owner of a major sports team… We may not think we have much in common, but we do through golf.
Through the Sharp Park Business Women’s Golf Club in San Francisco, I made friends from their late 20s all the way up to 90. And when I moved to Colorado, the first social effort I made was to find a new women’s club. A little more than two years later, these women are becoming treasured pals.
Finally, it probably should go without saying that I found an engrossing challenge. Golf makes everything else seem easy. Cooking, ironing, raising kids – all easy, compared to driving, chipping, and putting. Yet the game teases us with enough good shots in a round to make us come back, try harder, and play again.