I played my first round of golf at the Seven Hills Golf & Country Club back when I was in grade nine at Port Hardy Secondary School.
My P.E. teacher was Mr. Balan, and he took our whole class out on a field trip to teach us how to chip and putt on the practice greens; from that point on I was hooked.
After seeing how much I was enjoying golfing during school, my dad decided to take me out on the course to play nine holes. The main thing I remember from that experience was him teasing me that my brother could hit the ball further than I could off the tee.
To this day, I still swing my driver like it’s a baseball bat to prove that I can hit the ball further than him.
My friends and I would always ask our respective parents to drive us to the golf course throughout our high school years, and we probably caused more grief for the local golfers than anything else.
We definitely didn’t follow proper golf etiquette, and we also didn’t realize you had to wait behind whoever’s ball was furthest from the hole.
One time Drew walked in front of Brian’s swing and he ended up taking a golf ball to the chest, which we both thought was hilarious, but Drew, not so much.
It wasn’t all hijinks on the links, though. Whenever someone actually made a good shot, which was rare, we would high five and shout some praise, celebrating the moment. Whenever someone made a bad shot, not naming names, a golf club would usually go flying.
Mr. Balan actually gave me a very valuable life lesson during one of those classes at Seven Hills, not just in terms of following proper golf etiquette, but moreso a lesson in restraint that still holds true to this day.
I was on the practice green during class, and I missed what I thought should have been an easy putt. My temper flared and I slammed the putter down on the green, putting a big dent in the ground.
Mr. Balan just sighed and shook his head, fixed the damaged green, and then said to me in a calm voice, “Tyson, getting mad won’t make you putt better.”
Now whenever I play a round I always try to keep that advice in the back of my mind. It helps me concentrate on not trying to kill the ball, because the more you try to kill it, the more your swing will backfire on you.
I’m still working on that part, and I try my hardest not to lose my temper when things don’t go my way on the course. I’m also always looking to record a new low score everytime I play.
Am I any good at golf? No, not really. I’m pretty terrible even on my best day, and usually by the sixth hole I start to mentally crack, which makes my game really go awry.
By the time I get to seven, eight, and nine, I always put up big numbers that totally sink my scorecard.
Let’s finish this week’s editorial off by saying golf and I have a love/hate relationship. I hate that I’m terrible at it, but I love the feeling of a well struck golf shot.
I’ll most likely play for the rest of my life so long as I have easy access to a great course like the one we have here on the North Island.