FORE Winter 2014 : Page 14
RANGE TOKENS Embraceable You Golf is so much better when you play with the one you love. By Mark Willard E veryone who has ever picked up a golf club knows the hardest shot in golf is the long bunker shot. Give even the best in the world the assign-ment of getting up and down from the beach 30 yards away, and knees start knocking. Which is exactly why there is one shot that stands out in my mind from the day I first played a round of golf with my wife. It was the day after our wedding. We took members of our bridal party out for a casual day on the course. My wife had never played an organized round on a par-72 course. Ever. It was less than 24 hours since I had said before God and everyone watching that I would have and hold this woman, from this day forward, so I took every chance I got to grab this beauty’s hips and explain to her the finer points of the golf swing. Now it’s possible that I was just a tad hung over. I’m not going to apologize for it . . . we had a lot to celebrate the night before. As I’ve said in this column before, golfers use EVERY excuse . . . so the party-ing the night before was my excuse on this day. I couldn’t hit anything straight. Didn’t matter. I was watch-ing the woman of my dreams, flow-ing around the course in a white dress. The golf gods were with me, no matter my score. Before I tell the story of “the shot,” I must add that my wife is an ath-lete. She picks things up quickly, so this wasn’t your typical first round. Let’s put it this way, she wasn’t swinging and missing. On one hole, she sent a low screamer into a front right bunker, about 30 yards away from the hole. I told her that the long bunker shot is next-to-impossible. I’ve been trying for years to master this shot, and my first try at it usually leads to another bunker shot. She smiled and got ready for the two-minute (up close) tutorial I was about to give her. “Open your stance and the club face. Pretend the sand an inch be-hind the ball is the actual ball. Take a full swing, blasting down on the sand so it will explode the ball out. Don’t try to hit the ball itself. Love you.” The conversation went some-thing like that. She took her first swing and the ball went flying. No joke. Not just flying anywhere, but flying far, toward the hole. I remember it in slow motion. The further it went, the more I loved her. It landed right next to the hole, about three feet away. I can’t remember if the putt went in, but who cares. One of my groomsmen was standing nearby. We looked at each other in amazement. Then I looked at my bride. Calm smile, doing some raking. I tried to explain to her what she had just done. She was nowhere near as impressed as we were. She expected it. Be still my heart. I LOVE playing golf with my wife. We now have three kids, so it doesn’t happen often. But it will. I played a round recently with two dear friends, a husband and wife in their late 50s. It was awesome watching them together. My wife and I will be like them. I’ve never quite understood the guy who NEVER wants to play with his significant other. Now don’t get me wrong, the guys’ golf trip is a time-honored thing and I love that too. But so many guys look at golf as a way to get away from the women. C’mon . . . golf is better than that. Fact: Women look awesome in golf clothes. Fact: Your chances of stay-ing for a beer after the round are better if your girl is with you. Fact: You will act like a petulant child on the course a lot less if the ladies are around. So give it up, and let them play. Ⅲ You can catch Mark Willard on ESPNLA (710AM) weekday mornings from 10 a.m. – noon where he gives instant reactions on the hottest topics in Los Angeles-based sports. In addition, listen to the Range Tokens podcast each Monday morning at 9 a.m. on scga.org. 14 | FORE Winter 2014
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