I’ve loved golf for most of my life. I remember as a kid hitting balls into a field on my grandpa’s farm. And then blissing out when a nine-hole course opened up a few farms down the road. I’ve had trouble breaking 100 but there were always a few shots each round that leapt off the sweet spot of my clubface and arced towards the green.
Then there’s computer golf. I have lots of courses on my laptop and sometimes on the screen I hit it straight and long. Oh, I have a rich fantasy life.
And of course there’s watching the pros play on TV. Many exciting down-to-the wire finishes. Over the years, though, I’ve lost interest in seeing the men play. Everyone seems so businesslike, so serious. Nary a smile to be seen.
It’s not like the women are completely opposite to this but still a lot of the female players show their personalities … saying hi to people in the galleries, congratulating a competitor for a great shot, flashing the teeth when all is well, and even sometimes showing a rueful smile when the ball goes out of bounds.
I love women. Men are fine but in general women are easier to talk to. Okay, that’s a big stereotype but there’s some truth in it. On the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour (the LPGA), there are many pretty women, and many nice people. That’s what I want to see … genuine human beings.
The LPGA season starts tomorrow in the Bahamas. I’m so taken with a young Canadian golfer – Brooke Henderson – who’s kind, intelligent and attractive. I want her to do well as she starts her professional career.
The little voice in my head tells me that I’m wasting my time and energy when I wax poetic about women players such as Brooke. “You have a spiritual life, Bruce, and you’re here on Earth to spread love around, not to walk the fairways at tournaments and watch highly skilled players do their thing.”
The larger voice points to something sweet on the golf course. The sport mimics the great journey of life … 18 holes of ups and downs. I want to see the joy on the golfers’ faces, and the sadness when things are falling apart. I want to see kindness, determination and acceptance. I want to see life.
I enrolled yesterday in the “LPGA Fantasy Series”, where I pick a team of professional golfers and get points based on how well they do in the real tournaments. I don’t care about the prizes. I care a bit about winning the series, as I compete with a few thousand other fans across the world. But I can handle finishing near the bottom of the heap. I’m thrilled that I picked players who strike me as being lovely humans. I’m also happy that so many countries are represented on my team: Canada, USA, Italy, South Korea, Paraguay, Scotland and Spain. The world community.
All this makes me happy, even though I know that comes from within. And a happy Bruce touches people. So thank you, golf, and thank you, women players. May we all hit it straight down the middle, and be gentle with ourselves when the ball ends up in the rough.