I picked up my first golf club when I was five years old. Oddly enough, my mother was the athlete in the family and desperately wanted me to learn the game. I realize now she needed a second in order to round out another twosome, since my dad didn’t play and my older sister and brother didn’t take to it. I was her last, best hope. My mother played golf at NYU and absolutely loved the game. Apparently, she had a sweet swing and could drive a golf ball with anyone. Unfortunately, when she was in her mid 20s, she was struck by another car that ran a red light and sustained nine broken bones, including her collar-bone and could never recapture her near perfect swing. In addition to that swing she is tall and strong so she was able to get some real distance on her drives. But it was her short game that was most impressive. Early on, I was the whizz kid, prodigy of the driving range. I was going to be the Tiger Woods of the links before there was a Tiger Woods. The problem was, I never got better. Yes my drives went further, but not straighter. I never could figure out why I never improved despite my dedication to the game. Then it hit me. I peaked at ten. This was all very disappointing to my mother who never pushed me but had high hopes nonetheless. When I was in high school, I played three or four times a week after track practice, often on the course as the sun set into the water. One afternoon, I was determined to finish my round, which was often cut short due to darkness. So I did the most logical thing a sixteen year old could come up with, I brought a flashlight. I know, but the stupidity of it made tons of sense to me at sixteen. Besides, it wasn’t just any flashlight, it was a high beam, powerful flashlight with one of those large, square batteries. The problem was, even with that light I kept losing the ball. Make no mistake, I became quite proficient with the changeover from club to flashlight but unless the ball went dead center down the fairway, it was pretty tough to find. I did find a few of my shots, but, in the end, it was an exercise in futility. I played week after week, month after month and year after year with very little improvement. Fast forward to the present day and my golf game just flat-out stinks. One hole I drive the ball like a pro and the next I slice the ball into nowhere land, meaning the rough, sand, water or the other fairway. Homes that’s skirt the course are always a particular favorite as no house is truly safe while I’m out there. It’s actually quite sad because I have probably taken more lessons and spent my time on a golf course than most people on this planet. And that’s where the story ends. At forty-seven, I don’t play nearly as much as I used to. But at least now when I walk on to a course, I have the excuse that I haven’t played very much this year.