Misadventures in Golf

Main Line Today (June, 2019).

I don’t golf.

While a lack of time, talent and treasure has likely contributed to this state of affairs, the idea of hitting – and then fetching – a little round ball for the better part of a day just isn’t my thing. Not to say I do not appreciate why golfers golf. I certainly do. There’s the challenge of the course, the camaraderie, the outdoors, and most importantly, the hours away from family.

Perhaps I’m a bit jealous or naïve, but I prefer my golf outings to include windmills, ramps and the demonic ball-eating clown of a putt-putt course.

All of which makes it is a bit ironic that I have two young boys at home who escape to the local golf course every chance they get. Cutting through neighbors’ yards, they find themselves on the fairway of a country club to which we do not belong. Some may call it trespassing. I prefer to call it venturing. Either way, one thing is clear…

They don’t golf.

Rather, their hobby of choice is collecting wayward balls from the nearest water hazard. The small pond is full of golf ball booty, and as if inspired by the menacing ceramic pirate that stands guard at their favorite miniature golf course, my boys are there to loot the treasure of unfortunate golfers.

Their very first escapade to the golf course yielded just a small treasure. Laying on the grassy embankment, they snatched up what few balls were within reach. But they saw potential in that pond, and honed their skills accordingly.

Before long, they were escaping to the greens with backpacks in tow. Golf balls quickly replaced textbooks, folders and crumpled loose leaf pages. Summer was in session.

And with summer came swim trunks and snorkeling gear. The younger of the boys, aged nine, would waddle down to the course in flippers as if he were a young Jacques Cousteau. He, it appears, was the one charged with wading into the hazardous muck of the pond. His older brother, quite content (and dry) on the embankment – was the spotter.

“Spotter?” I asked one day. “For the golf balls?”

“No,” they replied. “For the snapper turtle.”

Sure enough, a giant snapper turtle had taken up residence in their favorite water hazard. Judging by his size, I would venture to say he has been hanging out there since the late Jurassic period, and not once paying his membership dues. Considering the sheer number of golf balls in the pond, though an omnivore by nature, golf balls are not to his liking. Toes and fingers, however, are another thing entirely.

Which is why, though he trusts his older brother the spotter, my younger son came home from the links one midsummer day asking for a pool skimmer. While I may silently condone their adventuring, I wasn’t about to finance it.

But God must have been listening that day – and perhaps he was more concerned for my son’s toes than me – for the very next day our neighbor placed a pool skimmer out with the trash. Ask, apparently, and you shall receive.

Properly equipped, the balls started coming home in droves. What my boys plan to do with them is anyone’s guess. Maybe one day the entrepreneur in them will set up a stand alongside the fairway and sell the balls back to their original owners. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll actually take up golf.

For now, however, they seem content in doing what boys love to do – adventuring. And it doesn’t cost a thing.

Except perhaps a toe or two.


  1. Although the nay sayers as they have always done say kids are doing nothing but looking at screens your boys are doing what kids love to do. Adventuring in the outdoors discovering all that is new to them!
    I see kids on bikes in my neighborhood so know not to believe the nay sayers!
    It’s a lovely article you wrote and it took me back to adventuring in my childhood!

  2. I would love your sons and their spirit. My husband took me to a golf course for the first time many moons ago. I assumed the balls I saw lying around were trash and I picked them up. My hubby, seeing me, informed me that other golfers were behind us and the balls I was picking up were theirs. I quickly scattered the balls around the green in time to see a number of puzzled golfers behind me looking for their golf balls where they assumed they would be. I enjoyed this…I don’t think they did.

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