Janey Way Memories #148 “A Good Walk Spoiled”

Mark Twain said that golf is “a good walk spoiled.” Contrary to that notion, I love to play golf. I didn’t always feel that way though.
I first played the game in the early 1960s when I still lived on Janey Way. Then, my dad, a Sacramento police officer, came home from working a special event one day carrying a well-used set of golf clubs.
The set came in a worn out leather golf bag and featured clubs which did not seem to match, along with a full bag of old golf balls.
My brother Terry and I could not wait to try the set out. So, we carried the bag down to the Phoebe Hearst School yard and started hitting balls. We were horrible. The game looked so easy on television. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicholas hit the ball a mile.
We, on the other hand, either topped the ball a few feet, or hit it wildly left or right. No one dare walk near where we were practicing, in fear being struck. But, like good Relles’, we persisted.
Soon after that, we scheduled a round of golf at the Perkins Golf Course on Jackson Highway. We played with Randy Puccetti and Bob Pesce. Randy played respectably because his uncle had given him some lessons. Bob and Terry and I were a danger on the golf course.
Our shots from the first tee went awry. Terry topped his shot 50 feet. I hit mine about 100 yards long and 50 yards off course. The whole round went that way. We were so bad, that at one point, two middle-aged golfers behind us tried to give us some tips, to no avail. After that fiasco, we quit playing golf.
I took the game back up though, in my early 40s. I did it the right way this time. I started out by buying a used set of clubs and a video entitled “Automatic Golf.” The video demonstrated an easy and effective way to hit the ball. It worked. I began to play, not well, buy respectably.
I played the game with friends from work. We had a great time. We all played at about the same level so the games were competitive, and nobody took them too seriously.
I even went out a played with my dad who was a very good golfer. I dearly enjoyed that time spent with him before he died.
These days I play golf with my friends in the Sons in Retirement (SIR) Branch 117. We play every Monday (9 holes) during March – October. I play with a regular foursome that includes my friends Hal, Jim and Bob. We always try hard to make a good score, but first and foremost, we have fun.
As far as Mark Twain’s saying that golf is “a good walk spoiled”, I have to say I disagree. Now, that first round of golf I played when I lived on Janey Way so long ago is just another frustrating, but funny, Janey Way memory.

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