Love of golf only outweighed by lack of ability


I’m the world’s worst golfer.

I’m pretty certain that if I actually kept score for 18 holes at Brookings Country Club and didn’t take any “gimme” putts, or ignored drives into Lake Campbell on holes 1 and 2 – I would finish with a score in the 140 to 150 range.

Let’s put this in perspective – my buddy and BHS classmate Scott Holm can regularly shoot 72 at BCC even at his old age. So two of his rounds likely would have a combined score of less than one of my rounds. I see a wager coming, Holmer.

Speaking of Holmer, kind of weird that he stopped calling me to golf after he spent countless Wednesdays chasing my ball two or three fairways over, or dealing with constant worm burners and line drives down the right field line. Or maybe it’s that I’m an opinionated ass. Although he already golfs with plenty of those, too.

My lovely wife, Carley, is a terrific golfer, too. In fact, she was a college All-American at Augustana. Odd that I only golfed with her one time last summer and that was at the first-ever Roach Family Outing, which happened to include as many beers as bogeys – for me, anyway. 

Golf is a game which takes time and practice to develop any kind of consistency. My spare time in my teens and much of my adult years were spent playing baseball. No regrets there, but now that I have turned 50 I really wish I had just a little bit of golf ability. 

Golf on TV became a must watch for me once Tiger Woods burst onto the scene in the mid 90s. He was the best. He was poised to become the best golfer ever. He spent  281 consecutive weeks as the world’s No. 1 golfer and, in all, spent 683 weeks ranked No. 1. That’s the equivalent as 13 years on top.

Then it all crashed down. In 2009, he had a car accident after a fight with his wife, and headlines ensued about infidelities. In later years, he became addicted to painkillers after back surgery and was charged with a DUI after being found in his car with the motor running.

Then his body started to breakdown. Four knee surgeries and four back surgeries later Tiger was back in his element last weekend – his comeback was almost complete. He was contending again, finally healthy enough to realistically contend for a fifth Masters title. He didn’t disappoint. 

Back in the day, Tiger Woods turned golf into must-see TV, especially for hackers like me who had only given the sport a passing glance. It feels like golf is going to become must-see TV again. The game NEEDS Tiger.

Millions of people around the world were fixed on every shot last Sunday. I know my family watched every shot. Our little ones watched off and on between playing with toys and such. My wife and I agonized with every shot the back 9, hoping Tiger would hold on and claim his fifth Green Jacket.

I asked our 3-year-old Kendall what she thought of Tiger’s win. She only wondered why he was named after an animal. I asked 5-year-old Camden for his thoughts. “Did he just win the national championship,” he asked, the Final Four still on his mind.

To me, this is a top three greatest moment in sports history. For sure the greatest individual accomplishment. To hit absolute rock bottom and come back at age 43 and win the Masters again is beyond amazing. 

Suddenly I feel the urge to dust my clubs off and hit the course. Maybe, just maybe, a 72 is around the corner for me … for nine holes.

Billy McMacken is the publisher of The Brookings Register. Any horrendous golfers looking for a playing partner this summer should email him at [email protected]


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