Sunday, October 5, 2008

Golf in the Kingdom

Thursday afternoon the weather looked ideal. I had been spending too much time in the office and I had not been able to play golf for over two weeks. So, I took off and headed north to Ridgeview Ranch.

They had an opening for a single person. I was matched up with two nice business men who were making up a round for their golf league. We headed out just after 4pm and we knew that we wouldn’t be able to play a full round. I played extremely well and headed to the back nine just two over par.

Mostly I was putting very well thanks to an off hand comment by Johnny Miller during the Ryder Cup about judging break. I put in three putts for par that were over 15 feet. We finished the tenth hole and my playing companions who were having a tough day decided to head to the club house for a beer.

I went along alone paring the 11th after holing with another long putt for a par. Then I approached the 12th hole which is a medium par three. I stood in the twilight looking at the pin that was near the front of the green. I took out my Sky Caddie (given to me by two friends who understand) and calculated my distance. I was just at 140 yards from the pin. I took out a nine iron. For me, a nine iron hit well will go 145 yards. I figured it was late in the round and given a front trap, better to be long than short.

I hit the shot well and it flew directly at the pin. In the gathering dark I could not see how close I was. For a fleeting moment, I thought it might have gone in. I suddenly realized that I didn’t have any witnesses to vouch for me if it did. I drove the cart path around the green and realized that I had hit it pretty much my full length and was five paces above the hole with a down hill putt. No problem, I thought to myself, because I had already holed several of these.

Then to my alarm I realized that it had gotten just too dark to be able to read the putt. I was thinking to myself that the best strategy would be to just hit it firm right at the hole. Then, I paused and looked around me. The setting sun made a golden sunset and the surrounding houses added a luminescent to the scene. It must have been just perfectly 70 degrees. A small gentle breeze was blowing. I stood there taking in this absolutely perfect North Texas night. I remembered that I had just shot one of my best front nines ever.

I took a deep breath and offered a short prayer. “Thank you Lord for the gift of this day, the beauty that surrounds me, the joy and pleasure in a round played well, and most of all for good friends, who not only share a love for the game, but also are kind enough to help me enjoy it more.“

With that I picked up my ball. The birdie putt had by now been transcended by the beauty of the moment and a heart that was full of thanksgiving. I drove my cart slowly to the cart barn. I knew that there would be many more chances for birdie putts, but few moments in which everything comes together. In golf, just as in the rest of life, sometimes it does.

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