Since I retired I have had to give up playing tennis, much to my dismay, as I had envisaged playing well into the future. But golf is my new sport and although it is as frustrating as hell, there is nothing like a few hours spent on the course in Malahide whipping that annoying little white ball from one hole to another. If you haven’t already seen it, have a look at the wonderful Robin Williams’ humorous explanation on the origins of golf.
I am now in my third year in Malahide Golf Club and thought I would have mastered the game by now! First mistake. Some days I go out and I play really well, bringing in a respectable score. But on other occasions, I am like a beginner again, hitting fresh air shots or taking the scenic route to the green through the trees and bunkers. I try to remember the instructions from my lessons….bend over, bum out, firm grip, swing slowly….(sounds like directions in a porn movie) and the ball leaves the tee, but not in the direction I want!
So, as the others walk down the fairway, I go left into the trees and search. Usually it is behind a tree and requires contortions not usually seen on a golf course to get it out.
And a game of golf would be no fun if my ball didn’t end up in the water at least once. In fact, when I joined, the first present GG bought me was a wonderful gadget for retrieving the said ball from a potentially watery grave. Suffice to say it was an inspirational purchase!
And yet I love it. Why? Well there are several reasons. It is a very sociable game and it is a lovely way to catch up with like-minded friends (many of my tennis friends are golfers). As a club, I have found the members of Malahide to be incredibly welcoming and helpful and I enjoy playing with different people, meeting new and re-connecting with others.
I am also in awe of those ladies in their eighties, many of whom still walk the course, who enjoy the competitions, the social activities and who offer encouragement and advice to all newcomers. They are my role models.
Concentrating on the game can be a problem when your surroundings are so beautiful. And there is so much to distract you here. The course is immaculately kept and and wonderfully mature, with views across to the Sugar Loaf Mountain. And then there is the wildlife: squirrels and rabbits, ducks, herons and swans, while in the early evening, the lean and hungry foxes come out to hunt their dinner.
And, of course, it is more than just a golf club. If you fancy playing bridge or poker, taking up line-dancing, or singing in a choir, then you can. There are numerous events ranging from fashion shows to musical evenings to BBQs.
Taking up a new sport in your 50s can be challenging, but also rewarding! I don’t think that my handicap will come tumbling down any time soon, but that doesn’t worry me. What does worry me is finding some appropriate and attractive summer golf gear…. but that’s another post! So remember, it’s never too late to take up a new activity; a new sport can be challenging and daunting, but look at the benefits – you keep active, you meet new people, you have another social outlet and most importantly you have fun. And you are never too old to have fun!