Big Bertha ripped through the air slicing the ball 45 degrees to the right. The golf ball bounced off of a 100 year old evergreen whose mocking presence hit every self- conscious nerve in my body. Although the lush green rolling hills and carpeted fairways never ceased to calm my very soul, frustration crept up my spine with every step I took.
Joining the EWGA was life changing. Although I’ve played the game for over twenty years, I was still a fair to midlin golfer. I never progressed to the level I expected. Prior to joining the EWGA, golf lessons were the essence of my play. A few occasional golf outings where my ball dribbled off the tee was the extent of my golf prowess. The EWGA changed all of that.
The women of this golf league are a cornucopia of sizes, shapes, colors and experiences. From the very first day, I joined the group, the erratic arrhythmic beat of my heart drowned out all conversation as fear gripped my being. “I’m not good enough to play with these women” was the mantra that played over and over in my head. As each woman stepped up to greet me, my doubts intensified. As my foursome approached the starter in preparation for our tee time my eyes darted in every direction looking for an escape hatch.
“Stop it” the small voice in my head admonished. My eyes began to focus on all of the women within my line of sight. As each of their clubs sailed through the air making solid contact with that little round ball my resolve began to take hold. My spine stiffened the beat of my heart quieted and my internal dialogue shifted. As I stepped up to the first tee box, I removed my driver from its well-worn blue and brown golf bag. I teed the ball up high so I could maximize the odds of making contact. As I took a few practice swings my driver behaved as directed so my confidence level soared like an eagle daring anyone to get in the way of its prey. As I lowered my head and assumed the proper form, I took aim and swung. As my club cut through the air like an unsharpened knife that little white ball turned into a formidable enemy as it defiantly remained on its perch. Grabbing the titanium shaft for all that it was worth my eyes darted feverishly anticipating looks of condemnation and scorn. That never came to pass.
What I did experience were women encouraging, supporting and cheering me on. As those outward displays of affection warmed my soul I once again stepped up to the tee box lowered my head, took aim and swung. My driver made solid contact with the ball. On the downswing, the glorious sound of that contact was music to my ears as that little white ball took flight sailing through the air with grace and ease but with one significant difference. Soaring over that very evergreen that taunted and mocked me that little white ball landed and continued to bounce another 30 yards straight down the fairway; 140 yards in total.
In triumph I valiantly re-inserted my driver back into my weathered golf bag as I gripped the cool stainless steel handle of my push cart. As I made my way up the pebbled cart path the pep in my step intensified. In no way did I believe that my level of play had improved significantly based on that one successful hole but I did believe that wrapped in the support and encouragement of my new found friends I would no longer be defeated by that little white ball.