I came late to the game of golf. I bought my first set of clubs in the early-mid 1990s, but beyond a few mostly clueless trips to the driving range off Burbank Boulevard in the Sepulveda basin I never moved with them onto a course. After sitting for way too many years taking up space I sold the basically unused set at a garage sale. For like $80 bucks.
Then in 2002, I really got bitten by the bug, fueled by the discovery that reasonably priced group lessons could be had at the Griffith Park driving range. So I got an entry-level set of clubs found at a nearby sports emporium, took said series of lessons, in the process reacquainting myself with a former elementary and high school classmate Florie and her main man Billy, and together we were pretty into golf for a few months until Florie became pregnant enough with her first child that golf had to take a back seat. Then after the baby arrived it was a whole new golf-less world for the freshly minted parents.
I kept at it individually without any real resolve or improvement, always being able to count on tallying up a score the triple digits whenever I stepped onto a full-fledged 18-hole course, such as those attached to the Inn at Ojai, Pebble Beach’s Inn at Spanish Bay or Death Valley’s Furnace Creek.
After meeting Susan in 2004 my enthusiasm for the game was on the wane. June of 2006 was the last time hitting them at a range, and though I kept the clubs readily accessible in the study for a long time, it was several months ago when I decided to the basement they should be banished — in part because of some sort of nagging weird injury to the backside of my left shoulder that I sustained somehow seemed destined to be aggravated and aggravating if I ever decided to get back in the swing.
Then came the news in May that an upcoming tradeshow I’d be attending in Savannah this September had a golf tourny attached to it. I got the OK from my boss to expense the registration fee as it would be a good way to rub shoulders with some of the industry’s bigger wigs, and set out on a four-month reacquaintance regime. Seeing how I did nothing golfy for the first two months, I recalibrated the timeline and this past weekend I began a two-month program.
And so after a Home Depot run and a stop at Orange 20 Bikes to drop off a wheel needing a new hub, I paid a visit to the Majestic Golf driving range on Melrose — the same place I’d last hit more than 24 months earlier.
I was presently surprised by two things. One, I hit better than expected — which is not to say I hit well… in fact, only about 10% of the 120 balls I whacked at were worthy me leaning back and whispering “that’s what I’m talking about” as I watched them sail out on target (or close to it). Two, my shoulder didn’t hurt afterward. That’s huge. There came a point last summer where I could barely throw a tennis ball overhand to play fetch with Ranger, and I was seriously concerned that the type of motion and extension that comes with a golf swing would exacerbate the issue and tissue. But other than some residual soreness mostly when I push on the point of origin, it’s fine.
So the aim is to make at least a weekly visit to the range, culminating with a round at the nine-hole Los Feliz par-three course in Atwater, followed by a nine-hole round at Roosevelt Golf Course up at the end of Vermont above Los Feliz in the weeks before I leave. I’m certainly not expecting miracles — hell I’m not even expecting I’ll break 100 out in the low-country of Savannah, I just want to hold my own.