Expensive hobby

Expensive hobby

I took an early retirement from central government service and my second innings as a management consultant has lasted 17 years. Now I realize that one has to call it a day sooner or later.

But just the thought of sitting at home and not doing anything did not make sense to me. So I undertook some research on how retired people spend their time.

My study revealed that people do a variety of things- going back to teaching, travel around the world, become a volunteer for social causes, latch on to religion, get busy with an elaborate morning pooja, visit temples and attend discourses, try their hands at cooking and a few other people take to golf and spend their rest of their lives outdoors.

Out of all the above options, I liked the last one mainly because I loved Wodehouse describing this grand game in many of his novels like “Fore”, “Golf without tears” and I wanted a taste of the game.

As a first step, I looked for a coach, who will not burn a hole in my pocket and to my good luck found one. The pseudo golf range where I was initiated into the game was more of a maidan which had a few grass patches. What I liked about my coach K was that he treated me on par with his other wards, who were in their thirties; he also admonished me when I tried some of my tennis strokes.

He would never allow me to hit the ball unless I practice a few practice swings. He patiently taught me how to hold the various clubs, get the right grip, the right posture and finally the swing.

After four months of intense practice in driving, chipping, putting, coach K declared that I was fit to enter the hallowed portals of a golf course.  He warned me that dress code was very important in golf courses and I had to buy golf shoes, gloves, caps and smart looking cotton trousers and tee shirts.

My first day at a golf course is still green in my memories. My coach handed me the driver and asked me to practice my swings. Then he placed the ball on the tee and asked me to put my head down, concentrate and go through with my swing. I precisely followed his instructions, but to my dismay my swing totally missed the ball.

I took a deep breath and tried again and lo, the ball flew high up in air and landed 150 yards away on the fairway. My second shot on the fairway was a disaster, but my long putt in the greens almost reached the hole and that was the precise moment I got addicted to this wonderful game.

Now I play the game twice a week. There are good days and bad days. I have gotten used to losing my balls in water and in the forest of trees; once a snake quietly passed by as I was looking for my ball. Sometimes ravens carry my balls away mistaking them for eggs.

For good or bad I have started liking my expensive walk!