Hit it from here.”
I look at him, not giving voice to the question. I just put a ball in the water in front of the green, and I can move to a point much closer for my next shot. But Dad thinks I should hit it from here.
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“It’s a good angle, a good lie, a good distance for you and that club. Just get the stupid water out of your head and swing.”
“‘Just get the water . . .’ Exactly how does one do that? How did you just hit that shot like it was on the practice range?”
“I been playing this game a while.”
“Yeah, I know, but so had all the old men at Green Gables, and they almost always put the ball right in the drink.”
He chuckles at that.
“Well, see, there’s your problem: you still remember all those terrible swings from way back then. With those in your head, you never had a chance.”
I take a deep breath, drop a ball close to where the last shot originated, and step back. A couple short practice swings, another deep breath and I step up to my ball.
I step back, and look at my dad. “What?”
“What color is the water?”
What kind of question is this?
“Is that all?”
“With a layer of green algae, or whatever, around the edges.”
“Right. Didn’t have to look, did you?”
I stop, look at the pond again, realize I didn’t have to.
“Right. Now, look away again.” When I make eye contact with him, he nods. “Now, no looking — what color is the pin?”
I think about it for a minute, look around, searching for a memory, realize I have none.
“I have no idea. Blue?”
He chuckles, nods towards the green. The flag, flapping at the top of the pin, is white.
“Okay, so, what?”
“So, this: everybody sees the problems, the hazards, the difficulties. You have to, or you make stupid mistakes. But, if all you focus on is the problem, you make swings based on the wrong information. Put all those problems in the equation, but then focus on the objective. Put your energy towards the pin, not away from the water.”
I think about that for a minute, then look again at my shot. There’s water, there’s rough short and all around the green.
But, then, there’s the flag. I hadn’t looked at it since before I set to hit my tee shot, but, well, there it is.
A little to the left of where I had been aiming.
I step back again, look over my shot, look at the tops of the tree to gauge wind, and then step up to the ball. Little waggle to loosen my hands, and then swing.
This one feels good. The ball arcs into the air on a perfect line toward the pin, sails over it, and lands comfortably in the back of the green, seventeen feet past the hole.
Dad starts walking, and I think I hear him mutter “Easy game…”
Michael Alcorn is a former teacher and current writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Valkyrie’s Kiss,” a finalist in the ScreenCraft Book Competition, is available now at firstname.lastname@example.org. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
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