Missing Golfing

Why today am I lamenting the fact that I can’t chase golf balls through the woods while swearing off this wretched game once and for all, again?

I’m just sitting here mourning the loss of another Minnesota golf season. I’m missing golfing.

 It’s the middle of December. It’s snowing outside. Christmas is right around the corner. I should be in a better mood. The latest edition of my free subscription to a golfing magazine just arrived in the mail. I didn’t sign up for it. It started arriving every month shortly after I inadvertently put too much information on a website form. I didn’t ask for this kind of torture. On the cover is some guy in mid-swing, wearing a short-sleeved shirt. I can only imagine that his ear-to-ear smile is due to either; the shot he just made being perfect, he’s making a massive amount of cash posing for this picture, he’s warm, he’s golfing, or, as I must assume, all of the above. No matter the case, I hope he has a wonderful holiday season. Whatever.

As far as pastimes go, I have plenty that keep me busy all year. Why today am I lamenting the fact that I can’t chase golf balls through the woods while swearing off this wretched game once and for all, again? The only answer I can come up with is that this past season of golf was a little surreal to me. I had joined a golf league on a whim, and it turned out to be the catalyst for some little life changes.

Being a bit of an introvert, I have spent most of my life pursuing activities in which most of my time is spent alone or with only one or two other people. In a golfing league I would be spending upwards of 4 hours a week with a mass of people that I don’t know. I’d forgotten I would only have to deal with three of them at a time. Still, that was at least one too many.

The other difficulty that had completely slipped my mind as I was signing up for this thing, was that I’m an absolutely miserable golfer! I grew up in Minnesota. Our golf seasons are terribly short. One doesn’t have time in any given year to spend the hours necessary to become good at it. That’s the excuse that I chose to use. I was amazed to watch the long, dead-straight drives of some of the league members. Surely, they must winter in Florida or something.

I will emulate them. They have expensive new clubs. I bought expensive new clubs. They have the latest range finders that money can buy. I bought the newest available. They have an app on their phone to track their shots. (What?) I downloaded it. New goofy shirts, shoes, tees, I even bought a pair golf pants that have a special little pocket in which, I guess, you can put a golf ball, in case one ever needs such a pocket. I became addicted to the gear and the game. I began playing rounds with other league members on the weekends.

It sounds like too much, I know. But my average score dropped from 105 in April to 97 in October. That could have something to do with the fact that, for my first 35 years of playing golf, I would do so about 4 times a year. After a summer of playing 2-3 times a week, I was able to shave off a whopping 8 strokes from my game. I still suck at golf, but it was super fun to see improvement.

That’s not the important part though. What I really learned was to step out of my comfort zone in a social situation. There is no hiding my massive slice of a drive with 15 people watching. I can’t fake a good chip shot. But I could pretend to enjoy myself long enough to make a few friends. Turns out that I loved being a part of that group, despite the truth that I was the worst on the team. Someone had to be. I suppose the lesson was just to grab a hold of that fear, shove it in the little golf ball pocket, laugh a little, and go have fun. Who knows what could happen? I didn’t need the fancy new gear. I just needed to learn to enjoy the companionship of a group of strangers.

foxes on the edge of a sandtrap from Missing Golfing post
A pair of foxes resting on the edge of the sand trap where my ball has spent a lot of time.

This snowy day, I find myself, missing the game. More so, I’m missing the social part of the game. It seems strange for me to say that to myself. I learned this past summer that maybe, being a little outgoing with other people isn’t worst thing in the world.

 But….. I just got a new pair of skis, my little story is over, the snow is piling up, and the weather is perfect! See ya later!

Tell us your favorite golf story! We’d love to read it!

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Minnesota Board and Boat

We were amazed by how much nature was surrounding us while the Minneapolis skyline shifted in and out of view.

I had to learn a new word while writing this. Aptronym as defined by Merriam-Webster is: “The similarity between a person’s name and occupation….”

While looking that up, I ran across something called, nominative determinism, which is a hypothesis proposed by Carl Jung, that, according to Wikipedia, “…. suggests a casual relationship based on the idea that people tend to be attracted to areas of work that fit their name.”

This past July, my wife and I joined a group called Internations It’s an internet site that encourages local gatherings of a collection of people from all over the world. We found a category that we fit into quite well called the Minneapolis Outdoor Activities Group.

That’s not what I’m here to talk about though. Through the Internations organization, Lisa and I were part of a group that got together in late August to try our hand at kayaking on the Mississippi River. Our guide and paddling expert for the event was a gentleman named Andrew Waters of his company, Minnesota Board and Boat. Refer to the first two sentences of this post if you’ve already forgotten my new words, as I have.

Of the 8 of us that were in our group that day, none of us had more than a tiny bit of experience paddling a kayak. Andrew gave us a run-down of the basic skills we would need for the next couple hours and we pushed away from the bank of the river. As we paddled along, he continued to educate us on best practices for keeping us comfortable and safe. This was, after all, the Mississippi River. Not a scary river from a rapid water standpoint, but not a great place for a beginner to get flustered and scared. Although, I’m sure Andrew has a plan ready in that case as well.

Once we had settled into a nice, relaxing pace he told several stories relating to the history of the river, the area, and the wildlife that we encountered on the way. It was a lovely day! We were amazed by how much nature was surrounding us while the Minneapolis skyline shifted in and out of view. The mix of urban adventure and getting back to nature at the same time was truly unique.

If you are in the Twin Cities area, ever plan to be, or are looking for fun now that you’ve decided to come, look up Andrew and his crew at www.Minnesotaboardandboat.com. They simply do not disappoint. They offer a huge variety of paddling options from absolute beginner levels to advanced. Most importantly, they just love to paddle and have a passion and a skill for sharing that with all of us.

I never did ask Andrew if he was familiar with Carl Jung’s hypothesis. When you meet him, please ask him for me, if nominative determinism played a role in his love of the water. Let me know…… Thanks!

Us on the Mississippi with Minnesota Board and Boat