On the Links: Army golf: left, right, left right | AspenTimes.com

On the Links: Army golf: left, right, left right

Samantha Johnston
On the Links

By now you know that there are a lot of things I want to be good at: yoga, CrossFit, running. Add golf to that list. I was a late bloomer in the golf department. It just wasn’t a big thing growing up in Steamboat Springs. Skiing, swimming, equestrian sports, building beer bongs, pulling the sled behind the car on back roads — now those were things I was good at. Golf, not so much.

As I progressed in my career, I learned that golf was a basic skill every businessperson should have. Anytime someone asked me if I wanted to golf for a charity or conduct business on the golf course, I had to admit that I could drink beer and drive the cart, but I didn’t own clubs, nor had I ever played. This was usually met with that look you give someone when you feel really sorry for them because they clearly were raised by a pack of wolves.

So five years ago, I decided to teach myself to golf. I ordered a custom set of Cobra clubs (customized based on what is a question I really ought to go back and ask the pro who sold them to me) and bought a golf membership. And I sucked. For four more years. But I looked the part, so people asked me to play and then were really frustrated when, by the fourth hole, I had whiffed at least 11 times, shanked 11 times, hit the ball as hard as I could and watched it roll off the tee 11 times and six-putted four times.

Last year, I found Dede Cusimano, the LPGA Pro at the Aspen Valley Golf Course. That woman deserves a medal and a vacation to Bora Bora for her patience and her remarkable ability to help me make progress. If I had a dollar for every time she said, “What are you doing? Where did you learn that?” I could buy another set of custom clubs. But I’m getting better. I don’t whiff it (very often), I top it one-fifth of the time instead of all the time. And I can get the ball off the tee box on the first try. Mostly.

So two weeks ago, someone in the office asked me if I wanted to play in the Trashmasters tournament. Umm … no. I don’t need help embarrassing myself in front of the community. I can do that all day long without golfing. But there were only two people in the office who could play — Editor Lauren Glendenning and me. It’s like Dumb and Dumber, only we were both Dumbest.

We met Phil McKeague the night before the tournament and re-expressed the fact that a 30-handicap each wasn’t a joke, and in fact should be higher if that was a possibility. We also told him we couldn’t bear to golf with anyone who actually wanted a shot at winning. We recognize that playing bad golf is part of how one wins Trashmasters, but to win playing badly, you have to be good enough to fix what you screw up. We only have the screw-up part nailed. So he paired us with Snowmassians Ted Greene and Bill Moriarty. Those two deserve a medal. An expensive one. Not only did they explain the rules, tally our scores and offer words of encouragement (those are hard to find when golfing with us), they didn’t call either of us any names (that we heard) or quit before we finished 18 holes.

I’ll admit, that was one of the most fun days of golf I’ve ever played. Great company, a great cause and a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Thank you to Bill and Ted, Phil and the entire Trashmasters community for letting us play. We’ll see you next year.


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