JUST THINKING: Golf addict

Just Thinking | Julie Stafford

I have a new addiction and, for once, it doesn’t have calories. Actually, sometimes you can even burn a few calories. (That is if you walk and don’t drive a cart. And don’t enjoy an alcoholic beverage while you’re doing it.)

My name is Julie Stafford and I am officially addicted to golf.

I think I’ve told the story before about how my dad actually gave up on teaching me at the Greenville Country Club when I was younger because — somehow — I always seemed to tee my ball off at a 90 degree angle. I don’t blame him, really. I was, after all, in middle school and hyper focused, at that time, on perfecting my exaggerated eye roll.

Actually, I was kind of relieved. My two older brothers were way better at sports and I didn’t have the patience for a game that required you to be super quiet and hone your attention in on a tiny little ball. Especially not when there were boys to chase and mischief to get into.

Fast forward 30-plus years and now I’ve got a baker’s dozen rounds of golf under my belt and it’s all I can think about. Head down, knees bent, head of the club leads your back swing, left arm straight, feet in the right position.

For me, it’s about spending time outside, in the fresh air, with my favorite guy and dialing in on the thought process, trying to figure out what will make my ball go farther, veer left or slice right. How much “oomph” do I need to get the ball from the edge of the green to the hole, factoring in the angle and incline.

I started learning the game with the set of clubs I’d bought my daughter in the seventh grade. She was fairly tall at the time, so the height was just about right. It was a boxed kit, baby blue bag, complete with every basic club you really need.

Surprisingly, I did fairly well with the game after all these years. Sometimes I joke that my dad must be watching, helping me swing just so or blowing my ball to exactly the right spot. It became clear pretty quickly, though, that I needed something one or two steps up.

After working with an expert at a golf shop, I upgraded to men’s senior, graphite clubs and love how they feel and how they’ve improved my game. But perhaps even more fun are the accessories that I’ve found.

Not only did I buy a hot pink golf bag, but I also found awesome polka dot and striped knit club covers, styled more like those harkening back to the ‘70s. When I asked my boyfriend what he thought about them, he was honestly speechless. His response? “I’ve never actually had a conversation about golf club covers before, so I don’t know how to answer.”

I know gadgetry does not guarantee a good golf game. And I know it’s going to take time — probably lots of it — to figure how to get my ball to go here or there. But in the meantime, I’m thinking it doesn’t hurt to have a few cool doo-dads to go with the basics. Maybe if I’m lucky, folks will focus on my polka dotted driver cover and miss the fact that I hit my hot pink ball smack dab in the middle of the pond.

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