D.L. Stewart: Not driven to the game of golf

Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing something by not being addicted to the game of golf.

Whenever I’m tempted to try it, though, I’m reminded of George Carlin’s riff on the sport. Liberally censored, it went something like, “You hit a (expletive) ball, walk after it and hit it again. I say pick up (expletive), you’re lucky you found it the first time.”

But while on vacation in Arizona recently, apparently driven to the fringe of insanity by all the relentlessly blue skies and oppressive sunshine, I decided to go to a driving range for the first time in my life.

Not that I never have struck a golf ball in anger. A few decades ago I got roped into a “celebrity“ tournament, despite my protestations that I did not golf. Standing on the first tee in borrowed golf shoes, holding a borrowed club, my name was announced to a gallery and all I could go was pray to the god of golf, if there is such a deity, to let me strike the ball sufficiently to get it off the ground and into the general direction of the fairway.

Possibly proving the power of prayer, that’s exactly what happened. The ball achieved lift-off and shot straight down the fairway. OK, it only shot about 50 yards, but I couldn’t have been more thankful. The remainder of the round was rough. Literally. By the time I reached the third green, the rest of my foursome was in the clubhouse drinking beer.

But maybe this time, I rationalized, I’d be more successful. So with my good friend, Jeff, I go to a driving range, where we each buy a bucket of balls and carry them to where a row of guys are earnestly hitting toward signs reading “100,” “200” or “250.”

My good friend, Jeff, incidentally is a great golfer, a terrific tennis player and a snappy dresser. I hate him. He drops half a dozen of the balls onto the ground, takes half a dozen swings and watches each one disappear beyond the 250-yard sign. He does that for half an hour.

Meanwhile, I hit three balls that get up in the air and reach the 100-yard sign and a couple dozen that reach an elevation of approximately 8 inches and a distance of roughly 12 yards. The rest dribble sideways and come to rest in front of the guy three spots down from me.

All things considered, that half hour on the driving range has me convinced I’m in no danger of becoming addicted to the game of golf.

But, if I ever do, I’ll probably never have to walk very far to find the (expletive) ball.

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