I played golf now and then in my mid-teens when I suddenly quit and did not pick up a club again for decades. Having played cricket and baseball all my life swinging a club was easy so hitting the ball was never my problem but finding it was as my eyesight was always pisspoor and I got frustrated by losing so many balls. Towards the end of one round I'd lost so many I'd run out and I walked the last few holes and decided that was my last ever round.
My brother whose golf career mirrored mine (played as a teen but not after) took it up again relatively late in life and improved to the extent he's off single figures. He always said to me I should play again. He even had a set of his old clubs waiting for me but I always refused
I didn't play again for decades until we had an overnight work retreat at a place in Macedon that had four holes out the back. During a lunch break I went with the others to have a hit. On the first hole they all used the available drivers and it didn't look that far to me so I said, "It's five iron" and my boss, who was a golfer, said, "If you're not going to play properly don't play at all" I ignored him and swung my club of choice and bounced the ball past the hole. I turned to him and said, "It's a five iron" I started to think, "Maybe I should take it up again"
My brother gave me his old set and I had a few hits locally and I enjoyed it enough but then I played in Thailand and absolutely loved it. Honestly the most enjoyable golf you will ever play in your life is with a pretty girl as a caddie. Not only do they rake bunkers for you, fill in the divots, drive you around the course but most importantly for me they will also find the ball for you.
That was when I was 48 and I'm now 53 and have played at least once a week since. For a long time I thought I wasn't getting better as my scores weren't improving but I eventually realised that somewhere along the line I started counting every shot, and giving myself penalties when warranted, things I would never have done when I started.
I played at Westgate with my brother yesterday morning at sun-up The course was completely empty as you'd expect so we could do as we pleased. We played about twenty holes before anyone else showed up.
One hole sticks in my mind, we played two balls apiece on the fourth. I've played over fifty courses now and I would say with a straight face to anyone that's a difficult hole by any measure. A long curving par four, both my tee shots ended up near each other in the line of trees marking the adjoining fairway. The wind was blowing very strong so I hit a deliberate slice around the tree, high into the air and it swerved and landed in the middle of the fairway right in front of the creek that splits the hole in two. I yelled out to my brother, "That's the greatest shot I've ever seen!" He said he didn't see it. My second ball was only a few feet away but was directly behind a tree. There was no way around it so I went under. With the ball in the back of my stance (as instructed to me many times by my bro) I punched it along the ground and it ended up just a few feet from my first ball.
Both balls were extremely well placed in front of the creek about 150m out. Like I said, I think it's a difficult hole and I had two definite par chances, all I had to do was put the balls on the green. After taking great care I plonked the first one in the water forty feet in front of me. I then very huffily walked to the second one and without hesitation smashed it to the fringe of the green. Three putts later I had a wipe and a double bogey for my troubles but both second shots will stay with me forever. They were so similar yet so different and I executed them both perfectly and that's what I will remember
Tomorrow I'm off to Sunshine, I've never broken 100 there (I have elsewhere).The par 5's give me trouble! They are just endless so I always try to smash the ball and end up just drilling them into the ground and one bad shot leads to another. All those 8's and 9's add up. I'll see how I go
If anyone else has trouble with finding balls due to their eyesight I can recommend these..
Chromax balls, they are metallic coloured which makes them sparkle in the sun and they are near impossible to lose. The only downside is they are so bright it can be dazzling. I sometimes switch to normal balls on the shorter holes just to give my eyes a rest. I've only seen one other person use them on the course and I spotted it about 100m away. They aren't much different to a regular ball when it's overcast but when it's sunny you'll spot them a mile off.