My love for the game of golf started 2 years ago. It was a balmy morning on the beautiful yet sleepy island of Kauai, the day after Thanksgiving in 2018. My brother, my best friend and a tall lanky older gentleman who for the sake of this writing will be referred to as “Marko” peer pressured me into renting clubs and venturing out onto the course behind our Airbnb. The only golfing I had done prior was a handful of rounds in the late 90’s at the local par 3 course where the longest hole was 110 yards. I don’t think I had ever hit a driver.
My brother and I have always been competitive with each other. While warming up at the range he made a bold claim to the group that he was a bogey golfer (I still have yet to witness him break 100, but that’s not the point). I had something to play for that day. As we stood on the first tee box, I looked out into the vast fairway of pristinely mowed and very hydrated grass. But that isn’t what stood out. The entire course was lined with nice homes, some tucked behind palm trees, others that were more vulnerable to golfers like me. Sure enough, on my first swing the golf ball came off the club in a sweeping, high and aggressive duck hook heading left. Somewhere between anxiety, excitement and pure terror I tracked my ball with bated breath as someone in our group mumbled “Oh shit”. Turns out roofs make a really loud sound when you hit them with golf balls and this opening tee shot was no exception. We all fell out laughing as I quickly requested my god given right to a mulligan.
Midway through the back 9 I had a decent lead on the bogey golfer. Between the 2 of us we had hit a total of 7 houses and weren’t slowing down. At that point golf seemed like more of a law suit waiting to happen verses something I could see myself getting into. But then everything changed.
On the par 4,14th hole I found myself in a fairway bunker off the tee. I had struggled the entire round making contact in the sand much less getting it out, so my expectations for the shot ahead were low. I assessed the yardage to the green and decided that a 5 iron might get the job done. I pulled the club back, closed my eyes and swung as hard as I could.
The truth is, I don’t remember if the ball made it to the green that day. I don’t remember my final score much less what I ended up with on that hole. That’s not important. What I do remember is I hit it…and I hit it pure. A rush came over my body. A sudden surge of dopamine and a feeling that hasn’t left me since. I wanted that feeling again.
If I don’t hit that shot who knows where I am now. Maybe I leave the course that day with the mere satisfaction of defeating my brother and that would have been enough. Maybe I have some funny tales about that one year we hit a bunch of houses and that’s where my golf story ends. But it wasn’t. It turns out that day marked the beginning of my journey with the sport that I have fallen in love with. And for the last 2 years I wake up every day with the same thought…I want to play.