A bad round of golf is still good

Published 9:59 am Friday, June 6, 2008

It’s good to have a bad round of golf. It really is.

Sure, it can be frustrating and even make you ask: “Why did I think a round of golf would be relaxing?”

On Sunday, I played nine horrible holes of golf with one of my brothers, 13-year-old Brody O’Tool of Fort Dodge, Iowa. Neither one of us had played this year at all. We hoofed it all over Green Lea Golf Course, too. Being rusty hurts the game, but so does being weary from carrying clubs in the hot sun.

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It wasn’t long before Brody and I decided to stop taking score, relax and just hit the little white ball around. Bad would be good. We lost most of my balls.

The very next day I competed in the United Way Charity Golf Outing. also at Green Lea. I bought a box of balls. And you know what? I did much better. The bad round shook off the rust. I lost no balls.

I was on a team of four golfers that actually had several substitutes. It was sort of like how football only require 11 players, but teams stock up around 55 or 60 players. This Tribune-sponsored team featured Freeborn County Engineer Sue Miller, Albert Lea Executive Director Dan Dorman, Dorman’s son Chris, Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer, Tribune Advertising Director Crystal Miller and me. We were supposed to have state Sen. Dan Sparks, too, but he stood us up.

We did fine anyway. Sue Miller said we were a crack team. I joked that we played like we were on crack.

And we supported a good cause: the United Way of Freeborn County.

It was a best-ball tournament, and the team scored 77. (The course par is 72. The winning team had 61.) I went in thinking the team would hardly need to use my shots. In actuality, my shots ended up being used quite often.

Maybe some of that had to do with the people I was playing with. Brody is fair, but he is still a kid figuring out the game. He needs someone like me to coach him, and perhaps I can do that a little better when I’m not rusty. And I’m not hoofing it. Next time, we’ll get a cart.

Some people say golf is a sport for the elite. That is true in some parts of the country, but not in the Upper Midwest. Here, all walks of life golf. I think it’s good for exercise and improving concentration. It’s harder than it looks to make sure the swing is just right and that you hit the little white ball with your club. It’s just that good golfers make it look easy. Like I told young Chris Dorman, it’s not how hard you swing, it’s how well you swing. Even seasoned golfers have to remind themselves of that.

Hey, it’s summer. It’s Minnesota. Hit the links.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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