On the course: The thrill returns
July 23, 2006
The tingle started on the plane to Denver. Something was wrong. I grabbed the in-flight magazine and rolled it into a tube. I took my grip (overlapping, of course) and waggled. I began to hallucinate, imagining how much break you would have to play if putting a Titleist down the aisle of a 757 as it banks a left turn.Yep, there was no doubt about it – the golf bug was back.It is one of the great ironies of my young life that my love for golf disappeared the moment I moved from Aspen to Edinburgh, Scotland, last year. Maybe it was a result of my run of poor play. Or the Scottish weather (cold). Or my girlfriend’s attitude toward me leaving for four hours (colder).Gone was the excitement I used to feel – waking up early before a round to heat my golf balls in the oven on a cold spring morning in Aspen, sneaking onto the 18th green at 9 p.m. with a bucket of balls to chart the breaks around every possible pin position (don’t laugh, that top tier is tricky).When I confided in a Scottish friend about my disinterest in golf – which in Scotland is akin to losing one’s faith – he replied: “Da nae worry. When it’s ready, golf will find you.”And so I waited, my golf clubs idle in the closet, the heads of the irons bent over in the darkness as if in shame. I almost didn’t take them with me on holiday to Aspen.And then, right as the pilot announced our descent into Denver, it came. The fizzle of the ball off the club face. The piercing trajectory. The distant, barely audible thud on the green. I imagined the opening tee shot at Aspen (slight fade over the bunker, watch the tree on the left); the 12th hole at Maroon Creek (take an extra club, swing hard and pray); the closing hole at River Valley Ranch (driver for the brave, iron for the clever).I live in the country that has been called the home of golf. But for me, Aspen will always be where the game resides. Let’s tee it up.