After my retirement more than five years ago, I decided to take up the game of golf. I knew nothing about the game. As a matter of fact, in the beginning I would pack an extra pair of trousers in my bag — just in case I got a hole in one.
But now at the age of 77, I go out once a week with three friends — Irv, Dennis and Ken — to the Dix Hills Park Golf Course, a nine-hole course off Commack Road that’s run by the Town of Huntington. We don’t keep score, but we get plenty of exercise and find it both challenging and fun not using a motorized cart.
In the beginning I took a lesson, but I was not comfortable holding the club with one thumb over the other. I solved that problem by stopping the lessons.
I know I am improving because now I am able to count my lost balls on one hand; in the beginning I needed two hands and my left foot. But who needs to keep score anyway? I now watch the golf tournaments on TV and see the pros hit that little ball more than 300 yards, landing it on the green. I then say to myself that it takes me three swings — just to hit the ball.
The guys I play with are also retired. They do point things out to me and give me helpful hints like “look at the ball,” “keep your head down,” and “direct your feet to the right.”
Their advice seems to be working because now I am keeping up with them. I’m not saying I have high hopes or dreams of becoming a professional, but I am now ready to keep score.
I enjoy chipping and putting, and I am reminded how as a child I always enjoyed the sand. I recently bought new irons, and with my new driver I can hit the fairway on a regular basis.
After golfing, it’s time for lunch. The main place we go is Jersey Mike’s Sub on Route 110 in Farmingdale. We all wait for Newsday, where they have a buy-one-get-one-free coupon. We all order heros and take the free one home for lunch the next day. Since we are all retired we do watch for specials. Sometimes we go to the Premier Diner in Commack, where we get a 10 percent discount for being seniors.
I can honestly say what I love most about the game of golf is not that it is good for your health and heart or the camaraderie on the course. I guess most important is the lunch I have after the game — where I can order what I want without my wife telling me what is healthy and what is not.