The Brotherhood of Golf

The game of golf makes no sense to me. It must be some kind of a man-thing, because no matter how hard I try, I just don’t get it. My husband, of course, LOVES it and took me to play it on our honeymoon. He endured roughly five-and-a-half holes of me scootching the ball a couple of yards with each whack of my club. Finally, before we made it to the 6th hole, he called it a day and hasn’t invited me to play since.

            And I haven’t asked. Basically, I figure he must use the game of golf as an excuse to get out of the house alone, because I can’t come up with any other reason for his passion for it. He doesn’t count it as exercise because most of the four hours he is gone is spent hurtling over closely clipped grass in a golf cart, then hovering over the tiny, dimpled ball for an inordinately long period of time. Rarely does he come home pleased with his game.

            I resolved fifteen years ago that although I hadn’t a clue about my husband’s interest in golf, to each his own. However, now I have three sons, each with their own set of golf clubs. At dinner they talk to my husband about golf swings and eagles and pars and boogies and other things that are meaningless to me. Feeling out of the loop, I took a big step and planned a family golf outing, just to be a part of things.

            “We’re all playing golf this evening,” I announced to my family.

            “You don’t play golf, Mom,” my middle son reminded me.

            In spite of his apprehensions, we loaded up the golf cart with golf bags and two sawed-off left-handed clubs that my nine-year old uses primarily for weapons and all teed off with relative success, although as I expected, my ball rolled about eight feet after three furious swings, two that totally missed and one that dug up hole big enough to plant a geranium in. My husband immediately appeared with a jug of top soil he just happened to have on hand and repaired the hole.

            He then announced we’d be playing Best Ball which meant he hit his ball a very long way and the rest of us picked up our balls and rushed over to his. Even before we made it to the second green, tensions were mounting. My husband was almost out of potting dirt, the boys were hungry and I was wondering why I thought I’d give this stupid game another chance. We made it a couple of more holes in spite of our spirits, and then our younger son, not taking to his big brother’s advice on irons, body tackled him in the fairway. (We really should stick with football games.) My husband quickly confiscated their clubs, and set them loose on the empty course.

            The sun was now low, illuminating every leaf of the ancient oaks and turning the sky a soft pink. A sprinkler switched on automatically, rhythmically splattering a good portion of the grass near us, the drops dazzling like diamonds in the dropping sun.

            We were alone out in a sea of perfectly manicured green and all of a sudden, I felt relaxed. My husband and I leaned back on the white vinyl cushion of the golf cart, propped our feet up and watched our boys. They were racing each other across the grass, their breath coming in deep laughs. All of a sudden, they collided, then spontaneously held that embrace and rolled down a hill through the sprinkler.  My husband and I sat still and watched them dance a dance of brotherhood. And I was glad to be included.

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