A Lay of the Links
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The palm and the leather come rarely together,
Gripping the driver’s haft,
And it’s good to feel the jar of the steel
And the spring of the hickory shaft.
Why trouble or seek for the praise of a clique?
A cleek here is common to all;
And the lie that might sting is a very small thing
When compared with the lie of the ball.
Come youth and come age, from the study or stage,
From Bar or from Bench—high and low!
A green you must use as a cure for the blues—
You drive them away as you go.
We’re outward bound on a long, long round,
And it’s time to be up and away:
If worry and sorrow come back with the morrow,
At least we’ll be happy to-day.
Saturday was one of those perfect August days in Minnesota that you need to take a deep breath, soak up the blue skies, savor the low humidity and comfortable temperatures and file it away for January when you might need it. I played 9 holes of golf with my sister, her partner and my father in honor of his 89th birthday this week. Golf is a timeless activity that no matter your strength or age on any given shot you can out play your partners. My father isn’t as limber as he used to be or as strong, but once he got warmed up he played right with us or out played us the last 5 holes. He and I always only play nine holes, to be honest its about all the time I can stay interested in the sport, but it is a lot of fun to watch my father play golf. No one has ever enjoyed the game more than him. My father was never a scratch golfer in terms of talent, but he has this innate ability to compete when it counts. More often than not, when he needs to make a good shot, or chip it close or sink a putt, just to show he can, he does. And the smile on his face is identical when he executes his game as when he was 40 years younger. On the 7th hole, a par three, everyone else was off the green and he hit it to within 5 feet. A beautiful thing.
Golf is either is in your blood or it isn’t. I refuse to take it seriously or dedicate the time and practice to become good at it. But I like to play once a month and I enjoy my inconsistency. On yesterday’s round I hit one of the worst iron shots I have hit in years; a complete mishit, wrong direction, just terrible from 85 yards from the flag. I was off sitting green side left in the rough, short sided with a bunker in the way between me and pin. I followed that terrible shot with one of the best iron shots I have hit in years and lobed it over perfectly two feet from the pin. There are lots of ways to make par. Golf is a game that you will never completely figure out. If you have no interest or consider it frivolous, consider this; golf is a game, no matter your skill level, in which your enjoyment is inversely proportional to your ability to accept your failings.
It’s hard for me to compute that I have a father who is 89, only because what that translates into the age I must be. One of the amazing things about my father is his unique ability to think differently than everyone else. Not only would he think of the cow, in the parable below, he might even consider a goat or a sheep too. Happy Birthday Dad. And many more happy days ahead sinking putts on gorgeous August days. But come what may, at least we were happy to-day!
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The cheese-mites asked how the cheese got there,
And warmly debated the matter;
The Orthodox said that it came from the air,
And the Heretics said from the platter.
They argued it long and they argued it strong,
And I hear they are arguing now;
But of all the choice spirits who lived in the cheese,
Not one of them thought of a cow.