A DUFFER WITH A DUCK HOOK
Sexy, playful, personality hair. A slight mist of perfume. Short shorts, green tank top and oversized sun visor, I’m decked out to learn the game of golf.
I read the brochure. “Small and fast, medium size, flat to rolling terrain” – like me. A perfect fit, I step onto the green.
Bent grass, winter rye and California vineyards. A combination of nature’s best, I inhale the freshness and exhale softly. I’m as happy as an Abraham Lincoln rose after a Miracle Gro cocktail. The day is mine.
With a practiced stroke, I apply sunscreen to my nose, arms and exposed back area. A finger tip shy, I miss the square area between my shoulder blades. I glance around for a helping hand. None to be found, I tuck the tube away and wait outside the clubhouse for my instructor.
“Hi, I’m Pete. Ready for your lesson?”
With a bucket of balls and a bag of clubs, I follow Pete to the driving range. My lesson begins.
Grip, posture, ball position and alignment.
“Fingers interlock on club, feet shoulder width apart, arm straight, eye on ball. Think of yourself in a box.” Pete says.
Chin down, hand in V, square this, square that, this puts a new twist on out of the box thinking. My body dyslexic, I address the ball.
A cascade of heads duck and clubs halt in midair.
“We don’t use that word on the driving range.” He waves a secret signal code to the other players and a whisper of newbie travels faster than pollen on a spring breeze.
I ignore the Hallmark moment of insincerity.
Again, hands laced, I swing. Whoops. My ball goes horizontal.
“Duck hook duffer,” a golfer grumbles and moves to safer ground.
Beyond the patient façade, Pete scowls and pops an antacid on the sly. Something tells me Pete won’t be a repeat.
I hold my breath, choke down and try again. A clump of grass flies in the air and lands on Pete’s left shoe. I glance down. The ball sits motionless. Embarrassed, I bend down, grab the grass toupee and pat the landscape back into place.
The not-so-great golf pro yanks me up into respectability and says, “That’s a divot. Keeps the gardener employed.”
With the patience of a man anticipating a paycheck, he repositions me. I stroke in jerks.
He bites his bottom lip, holding back his tongue. “This time pretend you’re sitting in a chair.”
I plant my feet and drop to a slight squat.
“Not that kind of chair.” His hair is turning gray under the afternoon sun. “A bar stool.”
I ease onto my invisible saddle and wait for more instructions.
“Pretend you have a plate of glass in front of you and if you bend over too far, you’ll drop it.”
Windows. Glass. Household repairs, not my best quality, I fidget into position. Stance in place, I take a stroke. No resistance. Only empty air. The ball smirks in place. I fall out of form. I drop my pane and my invisible dreams of playing at the Masters shatter.
“A waggle and a whiff,” he says, somewhat pleased with my progress.
The ground keeper drives by in his utility cart. His smirk reeks rookie.
I smile go away. I’m no rookie. I know the waggle and whiff.
One ball left. My last chance. I inhale and exhale slowly, my competitive nature steps to the plate, the Scot in me focused and ready to conquer the dimpled opponent.
Angle foot towards green, sit in chair, bent towards ball, concentrate. In motion, I pull the club back, let my shoulders carry the weight, eye on ball, and follow through.
I’m on the green. Well, sort of. Three feet to the left is good enough for me, I get a pat on the back. Cheers erupt along the course. I blush a humble shade of pink.
My neck aches, my back throbs, a blister forms on my open palm. My body feels like a pretzel bouquet. Lesson over, it’s time to relax in the lounge.
Crippled, I ease to the bar rail; Pete is nowhere in sight. The unprotected patch on my back throbs with the developing sunburn. I turn sideways towards the mirror. A red square glows between my shoulder blades.
“Looks like Kansas.” The bartender notes.
“More like Wyoming,” a patron corrects. “I tell you, that freckle’s Cheyenne.”
The bartender concedes the state and presents me a glass of Chardonnay with a side order of Advil, “On the house. Beginner’s special.”
Mr. Wyoming lifts a toast, “To the duck hook duffer.”
Curious, I grab my book of golf terms and thumb through the index. I’m a duffer with a duck hook that can waggle on a whiff. Cool. I’m a golfer. I raise my glass, return the toast and whisper, “I’ll be back.”
Award-winning author, Cynthia Borris, NO MORE BOBS, resides in The San Francisco Bay Area . Former Humor columnist for Valley Lifestyles magazine, the Daily Review newspaper, and a frequent CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL contributor, she is working on her next novel, TO SERVE DUCK. For speaking engagements, novel updates and fun, visit website. http://www.cynthiaborris.blogspot.com