Although many of our friends played golf, we saved this sport for our retirement years. It is time consuming, expensive and not all that much exercise. We thought we’d have more time when we were finished working which has turned out to be true. We thought that senior citizen discounts and the opportunity to play at times when golf courses are empty would lessen the cost. This also turned out to be true. Walking a golf course while we play nine holes is a gentle workout for those in their golden years. What we did not realize, is that golf is a mighty complex game. That ball is so small, that club is so long and that hole is so far away. There are many things that go wrong and when you wait until you are old to conquer these new skills, the learning curve is steep indeed.
We have attended a number of Elderhostels over the years and like the learning that takes place and the interesting people that participate in these learning-combined-with-travel experiences. Last spring we went to an Elderhostel at Lawsonia Golf Course in Green Lake, WI after some introductory lessons at the local park district. I arrived at this golf camp an extremely dismal player and while I learned a lot, I was only slightly less dismal at the end of the week.
After more practice it was time to give Lawsonia another try.
We remembered how patient the golf pros were and how much we enjoyed being able to attempt a course that has been highly ranked since it was first constructed in 1939. Lawsonia has two courses, the Links which is modeled after the traditional courses first established in Scotland. Many of the holes are long and when we teed off, we had no idea where the green was. The Links Course has elevated greens and open rolling terrain which were also challenging. The Woodlands Course is very tight, wooded and scenic. It was built through an old stone quarry, and many holes had great views of Green Lake. The Woodlands is surrounded with trees, which captured many of our balls and sent them careening in all directions.
Every day we received instruction about some aspect of the game and had an opportunity to demonstrate what we learned to the pros. They were kind, patient, and encouraging. I was having a devil of a time using my driver. The pro watched for thirty seconds, said, “Try bending your left knee,” and my ball took off like never before. If only I can remember that knee as well as all the other tips and suggestions we got this week. Some times the staff set up games to improve our skills. They laid out a nine hole course through the trees and we used our pitching wedges to precisely hit the ball between ten and twenty feet. At least we tried to be precise.
The weather was perfect all week. Whenever there was down time, we were encouraged to fit in a few holes. By the end of the week we had played 63 holes and my skills had progressed from dismal to mediocre - a great improvement.