The BOSH Man! GOES GOLFING!Submitted by DudeThatsBOSH at 2012-07-26 12:19:33 EDT
Rating: 1.7 on 18 ratings (20 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
Golf, especially in New England, isn't just smacking a ball around for a few hours, it's much more intimate than that. The smell of fresh pine sap and wild flowers hits you from all directions (especially when you're in the woods as often as I am, looking for the results of the last shot), from the boughs above and the pine needle-covered forest floor. The combination of the cool air and the morning sun penetrating the woods' canopy creates a haze of green and penetrating beams of yellow, which fills you with a feeling of ambition: "I'm going to clean the house after I finish up here, maybe sweep the deck, wash the car". I prefer to play golf in the early morning when the conditions are like I described, with the cool air and the dewey grass, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. But really, who can complain?
It was a hot but otherwise unremarkable July afternoon as we approached the 7th tee on a public course in the suburbs of Boston. The buzz I had been working on since 11am had since subsided after an hour and a half in the midday sun without a drink. The conditions were not ideal, highs in the 90s with high humidity levels, but it was a Friday afternoon and I wasn't at work, which was a good thing. A great thing.
Let me rewind a little.
I was recently married and settling into a new position at work, and my best friend of 15 years had just purchased his first home. We stayed in constant contact, but our opportunities to hang out dwindled as our newfound 'adult' responsibilities became appearant. My friend (Jay, if you care to know) was excited about his new home, and was planning on having a house-warming barbeque. He had taken Friday off to prepare for that evening's festivities. He called me early in the week to ask if he could borrow my power washer, and I one-upped him by also taking Friday off and offering to come help.
I power washed his house and deck, and then joined him in the backyard to help him with the horsehoe pits. Once that was finished (complete with backstops, gravel throwing lanes, and beer holders) we realized that we had about 6 hours to kill before company arrived, and were fresh out of beer. He offered to run to the store, but I told him it would probably be best to hold off until company arrived if he wanted to be awake for the party. It was then he suggested we go shoot 18, and so we did.
Jay is the type of person who played golf twice a week (or more). He played in a golf league Tuesday nights through work, and played 18 holes at least once per weekend, sometimes twice. Back then I was lucky to play 5-6 times all summer, but it was a Friday, I wasn't at work, and I was with a friend I saw too seldom, golf sounded like a great idea to me.
I realized almost immediately that despite how much he played, Jay wasn't understanding that you didn't have to try and crush the ball in order to score well. I was up 3 strokes on him as we climbed up to the elevated tee box on the 7th hole. The 7th is a dramatically downhill 140 yard par 3. I was up first, so I grabbed my 9 iron (only because of the elevated tee, that yardage usually demands a 7 iron from me) and took a casual swing. I lost the ball almost immediately in the sun but it felt like good contact. I told Jay that I lost it and he said I'd put the ball on the fringe, about 15 feet from the cup. A nice shot by my standards.
He shot next, with a pitching wedge, but as usual he tried to crush the ball. I tried to follow it but lost it in the sun. He also lost it but thought he also made good contact. I shrugged and we walked down to the green. We looked for about 5 minutes but couldn't find his ball. There was a water hazard beyond the green so I suggested he drop over there. In the meantime, I putted from the fringe leaving me a tap-in for par. While he fished out a ball I walked up to mine and my heart skipped a beat.
I tapped in for par and asked Jay what kind of ball he was hitting.
"Well I was hitting a Titleist 3, but I'm going to drop a Callaway"
I reached into the cup and pulled out my Top Flight, along with a Titleist 3.
Jay had just shot a hole-in-one, a remarkable feat for any golfer of any skill level.
We finished up the course without anything spectacular happening and went to the clubhouse. Jay bought a round of beers for everyone present (about 10 people) and told his story about the 7th hole. Meanwhile, I was counting up our score and found myself grinning like an idiot. I showed the scorecard to the gentleman sitting next to me at the bar. He chuckled and then asked Jay what he shot.
"I don't have the score card, ask The BOSH Man!"
The gentleman passed the scorecard around and everyone got a good laugh at Jay's expense. He finished up with a 102. There was nothing hurtful or demeaning in it, just some good clean fun on an unremarkable Friday afternoon in July. I tried to give Jay some money for the bar tab, but he insisted that he cover it. It was the last beer he ever bought for me.
We partied that night, Jay told his story, and I made sure people were informed of the final score (I beat him by 6 strokes mind you, a 96 was a great day at the golf course for me).
3 weeks later Jay passed away sometime in the night from an asthma attack, this was 2 years ago.
Since then, I joined a golf league at work and try to play once a weekend. My game is improving (down to a 9 handicap). Once a month 3 of my closest friends and I play the same course Jay and I played on that unremarkable Friday afternoon, and we always drink to his memory on the 7th hole.
It's funny how we make personal connections to otherwise arbitrary things, like golf for example, and they become our own. If there is a lesson somewhere in this heap of text, I guess its probably to enjoy everything you do, make every seemingly unremarkable moment count, because the power of your memories is remarkable, and something you will come to enjoy even if those memories were born from great loss.
I'm not depressed or even upset about it. On the contrary, I'm greatful Jay introduced (albeit unwittingly) the joy of golf to me. That unremarkable Friday turned a casual don't-really-care hobby into something I take great joy in doing. I joined a league at work and my game is improving (down to a 9 handicap). Being good at something is nice, but enjoying what you're doing is excellent, and I've really come to enjoy being on the golf course. I only wish Jay were around so I could thank him.