The shame of not being able to golf with the cool kids
My name is Mark Scholten, I’m 43 years old, and I am so ashamed of my golf game that I now almost can’t golf in front of people. There I said it. Shame is not too strong a word. It’s almost a full-blown phobia. It was all brought back to the forefront again recently when Doug Lange and I were invited to participate in the Bring Back Western Washington University Football golf tournament at Avalon in Burlington. We quickly settled on driving the beverage cart so we wouldn’t have to golf in front of people.
There is absolutely no good reason why a sports enthusiast my age shouldn’t be a good golfer. Doug and I get invited to golf in tournaments all the time but I’m too chicken to play. Now in the name of complete honesty the reason for my ineptitude is self-inflicted. I have been golfing for more than three decades. First started going out with my dad, grandpa and brother in about 4th or 5th grade. I exaggerate only slightly when I say I’m not a heck of a lot better now than I was then. I’ve only broken 100 three times (have all three scorecards by the way).
I love going out a few times a year with close friends and loved ones. I can usually make it through a round and only humiliate myself a couple times. But the leap from that to being able to call myself a golfer (rather than just “a guy who golfs”) has alluded me all these years.
There have been flashes of brilliance. About 10 years ago in Winthrop I knocked in a 9-iron from about 110 yards. The bad news was it was my 5th shot on a par-5. Last summer I saw I was going to have to tee off on #1 at Raspberry Ridge in front of a huge group of people. Totally freaked out. The driver wasn’t really an option because I would probably kill someone so out came the 3-iron. Totally lucked into about a 220-yarder right down the middle. The little gallery actually applauded. But that’s about it for good memories. After that it’s all just a blur of hooks, slices, topped drives, duffed long irons and 4-putts.
The goal when I was younger was to be a good golfer by the time I was 40. Well I botched that one. I should probably be at peace by now with the fact I’ll never be good, but I’m not. Doug and I did a live broadcast from The Hitting Zone a few years ago and local pro Dean Russell said I had a “pretty athletic” looking swing. I hope I’m not doomed to just be a guy with potential who SHOULD be a good golfer but isn’t. I realize it’s going to take a level of commitment (like playing more than three rounds a year or getting clubs custom made for a 6-6 guy) I haven’t shown yet, but I will hold out hope. Until then look for me lurking in the shadows and trying not to draw attention to myself on the course. Or maybe it’s better if you don’t look for me.
Maybe by the time I’m 50…