If there is one thing I’m not, it’s a golfer. In fact, the best place for me on a golf course is in the clubhouse, watching the greens while happily sipping a glass of chilled pinot grigio. When my husband, Todd, and I began dating about 14 years ago, I found that the more time we spent together, the more I discovered my biggest takeaways were that he was smart, funny, handsome—and a very avid golfer. Todd happens to be in the country club business, so golf is both his vocation and his avocation.
As I enjoyed the blooming blossom of falling in love, I desperately wanted to experience everything Todd held dear. After all, he was accompanying me to the theater and to sparkly fundraisers (he’s far more comfortable in a golf polo than in a tuxedo), so naturally, I wanted to go golfing with him. I mean, seriously, how hard could it be?
Neither of us will ever forget that misdirected morning when I met Todd at one of the golf courses at Bonita Bay dressed in a long, floral hippy skirt, wedge heels and a spaghetti-string tank top.
At first, he blamed himself for not preparing me for the dress code, but as I told him, “I looked up what to wear—it’s just that I feel cuter in this.”
Poor Todd had to explain to me that looking “cute” was not an option. I looked around and saw all the ladies on the course in Bermuda shorts, collared shirts and sun visors. Clearly, they’d gotten the memo: There were rules.
We made our way to the pro shop and I bought a super ugly (on sale) plaid shirt for $59 and unearthed a pair of old sneakers from the trunk of my car. And not only did I look ridiculous; golf turned out to be HARD. I tried taking a few practice swings but missed every time. Fortunately, it turned out that I was very good at driving the cart and ordering cocktails while Todd pitched, chipped and putted. To make a long story short, that was my first and last golf experience—until New Year’s Day, 2018, when Todd and I met our friends Lydia and Chris at Cypress Lake Country Club for the annual Bloody Mary Open.
Almost 14 years later, the one thing I had learned about golfing was that proper attire is required. So, before Todd and I headed out to a New Year’s Eve party/dinner, I laid out some capri pants, sneakers, socks and a proper golf shirt with a collar. Because our tee time was for bright and early at 9 a.m. and I knew we’d be ringing in the New Year with around 20 of our closest friends, I thought I should be prepared just in case I was feeling a little rough around the edges. It was only the second time I’d golfed, but it wasn’t my first rodeo.
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Our New Year’s Eve dinner party was fabulous! The bubbly flowed, the wine flowed, more bubbly flowed. We ate, we danced, we sang, we danced some more. Our glasses were never empty—we raised them, we toasted, we sipped to 2018. And we sipped, and sipped some more. We ushered in the New Year with a bang. And a short few hours later when the alarm rang at 7:30, my head was banging.
“Do we haaaaave to go?” I whined to my husband, pulling a pillow over my head. Ever the dedicated golfer, Todd ignored his own headache and queasy stomach and cheered me out of bed.
As we sped to the golf course, I used sterilized hand wipes in Todd’s glove compartment to wipe off my New Year’s Eve makeup. The sun was so bright. “An Uber took us home, right?” I asked Todd. “Of course, honey,” he assured me.
The good news about the New Year’s Day Bloody Mary Open is that there are plenty of bloody marys to go around, because, as you soon learn, you’re not the only one feeling green around the gills on the first morning of the year.
On the other hand, Lydia and Chris (who have a young daughter) were tucked tight into bed by 10 the night before and, after a good night’s sleep, were feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Luckily, about halfway into my early morning cocktail, I, too, was beginning to feel somewhat brighter.
Maybe it was my suitable golf costume, or it could have had more to do with the delicious bloody mary, but I not only actually hit the ball most of the time but hit it pretty well several times. One of my putts even rolled right into the cup. I mean, Jordan Spieth doesn’t exactly have to worry, but I wasn’t embarrassed or anything—which, of course, called for another bloody mary in celebration.
Mostly though, it was fun—fun hanging out with friends, checking out all the golf course wildlife and, of course, driving the cart. After 14 years, I discovered I was still pretty good at that.
Afterward, we retired to the clubhouse for a delicious buffet brunch where we met other festive folks and wrapped up our New Year’s Day in style.
You’ll not be surprised to learn that when we arrived home at around 2 p.m., I didn’t even bother changing out of my not-so-cute golf outfit before going straight to bed. My golf adventure had come to a welcome close.
I am heartened to report that after 14 years of zero practice, my golf game has improved. So much so that I can’t wait to give it another swing 14 years from now. Something tells me that in 2032, I’ll still be a fan of bloody marys—and, hopefully, I’ll be able to dig up another polo shirt from deep inside my closet.