Swingin’ In The Rain

It was raining a couple of Fridays ago when my friends and I met at Cordova Bay Golf Course.

“Should we do it?” one friend asked.

“Maybe not.”

“I think we should.”


“But I don’t know.”

It went on like that for about 20 minutes before we finally came to our conclusion.

“Let’s do it!”

A little rain isn’t bad. It’s when the clouds open up and dump everything they have on you that it gets miserable. Some golfers come prepared with those massive umbrellas that attach to their carts and cover pretty much everything.

Not me.

The best I can do is a rain jacket with a hood. It works well enough. My shoes aren’t water proof though. So that usually means a soaker. But I can live with a little of that. In fact, I can put up with a lot when it comes to playing golf. I just love being out there. And that’s especially true this year.

Lately for me, golf has been as close to normal as life can be. When you’re out on the fairway, it’s just you and your friends (at a healthy distance, of course) and that long stretch of green stuff in front of you. Occasionally, there’ll be a deer and its fawn or a couple of eagles (the kind with feathers…little golf joke there) and a rabbit or two. Cordova Bay Golf, where we play, is a certified Audubon Sanctuary, along with a number of other golf courses in our province.

Oh, and then there’s the part about trying to get that little white ball into a hole far, far away. We’ll get back to that.

In the last few years, a lot of local golf courses have been shutting down as interest in golf has been dwindling.

And then the virus showed up. Many businesses have been adversely affected, of course. Gyms and dance studios and indoor sports businesses are struggling, or shutting for good in some cases. What caught my eye while we were playing a few weeks back, though, was a group of kids on the 2nd hole. Two of them were probably teenagers, the other two were younger. They were loud and goofy, and they probably didn’t know much golf etiquette, but I was delighted to see them. Because for any sport or activity to continue, it needs young blood.

As it turns out, golf and tennis have both had a resurgence in the last few months because they are outdoor activities that don’t really require any physical contact. Not only that, but courses have put a few protocols in place so you don’t have to touch anything that anyone else has touched. Like the flags in the holes or the rakes in the sand traps. For those of you who don’t know anything about golf, sand traps, also called bunkers, are those pools of sand, usually strategically placed at or near the green where the hole is. Balls have a way of landing in bunkers often. And they’re not easy to hit out of.

These days, you don’t have to rake up after yourself if your ball ends up in a bunker and you make a mess in the sand. Which is great. You see, normally, I have to rake often.

It’s much more difficult to book a tee time lately, and we often have to book two weeks in advance to get the time slot we want. I’ve also noticed the tennis courts a few blocks away from where I live are always busy. Every day of the week.

Our great fortune is that these two activities can be enjoyed year round because of our mild weather here on the west coast. Well, if it weren’t for that darned rain.

And so we slopped up to the first hole and took turns teeing off. The rain started coming down just a little harder, so I pulled up my hood as I walked over to the tee.

I set the ball up. Drip, drip, drip. All was silent except for the sound of the rain spattering on my jacket. I took a deep breath, swung the club back, and gave the ball a good whack. It disappeared behind a mound in the trees somewhere. Oh well.

As we walked up the fairway, the water started seeping into my shoes and sprinkling on my eyeglasses.

I smiled. Isn’t life great?

Tiger’s Demise

Tiger Woods during a practice round at the MastersImage via WikipediaI watched a documentary on CBC’s Fifth Estate the other evening called “Tiger Wood‘s Rise and Fall” by director Jacques Peretti.  I’ve seen other documentaries by this fellow, most notably one on Michael Jackson after his untimely death more than a year ago.  Peretti does have a pattern to the way he tells his stories which is compelling but maybe just a little bit tabloid.

He took us through Tiger’s childhood where this kid was quite isolated and controlled by his father, a Vietnam veteran who was portrayed as fearless and full of himself and very much a womanizer.  The documentary creates an image of a young boy who had his life planned out for him even before he was born, and who never really had any other option…whether or not he wanted one.  He was kept out of the public eye when he started to play junior tournaments, protected and groomed and made to practice hours and hours on end.  At one point his only friend was a much older golf pro who was also interviewed for the documentary.

It almost felt as if Peretti was painting a portrait with his own colours, trying to create a reason for Tiger’s behaviour, behaviour which was, to put it simply, just plain bad.  He was a well-groomed, gifted athlete who had, as it turned out, a seedy side.  A really seedy side, according to this documentary.  He traveled to and from tournaments with his large entourage, and in between gigs (and sometimes even during them) he would go to Vegas and sleep with countless prostitutes, sometimes all night and one after the other.

A great life, some of you guys might say :-).

But of course, Tiger was married and had children and eventually this secret seedy side was going to come to the surface as it did in a sudden and dramatic way back when he had the accident with his SUV.

I have a good friend who was a great admirer of Tiger until all of this happened.  She decided that she couldn’t forgive him and would never again watch him play or root for him.  A lot of people felt that way, while others suggested that he should be forgiven because he is human, even though his public persona made him seem pretty much god-like.

If this documentary is true, then Tiger had a very bizarre upbringing.  But then, so did Michael Jackson.  And so do countless other “stars” and athletes and people in public life.  You can’t help but think it must be the weirdest thing living the way they do.  But is this lifestyle because of who they are or because of who they are taught to be?  It must be strange to have everyone willing to do anything for you; a person could easily lose sight of reality and a true sense of one’s self.  The Paris Hiltons and Lindsay Lohans give us a kind of moral measuring stick to compare ourselves to, but is that really fair?  We don’t live like that, we don’t have more money than we know what to do with and a lifestyle that is nothing but parties, appearances, and perks.  It must be difficult sometimes for these people to know which way is up.

We, the public, are guilty of wanting to watch these train wrecks-in-the-making too.  We secretly envy their money and talents, while otherwise enjoying their eventual demise.  I watched those two documentaries with a kind of disgust, and yet I didn’t turn them off either, did I?  I’m as guilty of gaping at these misunderstood misfits as they are of thinking they’re above and beyond reproach.

Tiger’s life will no doubt never be the same.  He’ll probably find his legs and get his game back on par, pun intended :-), but most of us won’t forget that he isn’t the perfect spit-and-polish pro we once thought.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s a victim either, except maybe of our gawking stares.

And he sure can play.


Enhanced by Zemanta