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The Greatest Game Ever Played

That is the title of an extremely popular golf movie about the 1913 U.S. Open where caddy, Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old amateur wins the U.S. Open in a play-off. It’s a study of fortitude, trial, and excellence. Something in golf we try to achieve but as novice golfers, we rarely make that kind of splash.

All that changed for me on April 9. As part of a foursome of other medium handicap golfers magic happened that day. Every golfer’s dream is to shoot under par, post your best score for all to see and as you get older you dream of shooting your age. In one fantastic golf outing I was fortunate enough to live those three dreams in one game!

Reminiscing playing golf around the age of 12 at Schenley golf course in Pittsburgh, I always dreamed of making that fantastic shot or shooting that great score. But sadly, like most of us know, golf is a tough game and accomplishments are graded in maybe a birdie or two or a long drive and sometimes breaking 100, 90 or 80. As a 10 to 15 handicap golfer depending on where you play,  the excitement of shooting that fantastic score is every golfers goal on the first tee.

It only takes a couple bad shots to ruin your score, but you still have to enjoy the game and continue playing the entire round knowing that on next hole you can do better. I always say, “Every hole is a birdie hole!”

April 9 started with the routine par 4 on hole one and bogey five on the second hole… and then the sun began to shine on my game! Six birdies, seven pars and five bogeys later I was able to put the cap on my game at 71 strokes. It was not only the best score that I ever shot, but I also shot my age (71) and I shot under par. It was exciting and almost unbelievable!

That evening in a conversation with our middle son Ben, a very low handicap golfer, he wanted to know if that eagle putt that I missed was short. He wanted to be sure I went after it. I did miss it past the hole and sadly missed the birdie putt coming back. I three putted the 18th for par and secured my 71. Yes, I stood over a 10-foot downhill putt that would have given me 69. Oh Lord! Later in that conversation Benji laminated, “Tonight you will relive that round and you will discover how close you came to shooting a 65 or 66.”

The golfing gods smiled on me that day. I can’t wait to get back on the course and give that 71 a run for the money.

PS Just two weeks earlier I shot a 93… Go figure!

Editor’s note: In this era of coronavirus and social distancing playing golf has been frowned upon by some, but thoroughly enjoyed by others. The golf courses have made great strides in helping us stay safe from the virus. Flag sticks remain in the hole while putting to avoid contact. Sand trap rakes have been removed, also ball washers and water containers have been eliminated. Golfers are bringing their own food and water. On most courses, golfers can rent a separate cart to keep a safe distance from their partner. And in the case at Lakeview Golf Course, a plastic shield was draped between the driver and the passenger on the golf cart. Not only are we out in the open getting exercise and vitamin D, we as golfers are continuing to exist as close as possible to any semblance of a normal life in these trying times. We are practicing social distancing and good hygiene…and enjoying our day!

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