Photo by Unison Alberta

I played my first golf game for 2023 yesterday. While the shots were reminiscent of the previous season, there were two birdies worth reflecting upon.

From the tee box on Number 9, a vast fairway lay before me ready to accept my booming drive. Though cool, the sun was high and the breeze lightly bristled. I assessed my delivery based on what second shot I might leave. There was, however, an impediment to the otherwise pristine landing area. A lonely goose sat munching on the little grass there is at this time of year. Why was the goose alone — most geese are coupled? — Did the mate die or had she not hooked up yet or was he just slow to fly north?

She was 220 yards out so a great aiming point. The chances of me hitting the bird were slim to none, especially by directing it at her. I stood at the ready, yellow Srixon ball perching high on the white tee awaiting the smack, and smack it I did. As I lifted my head to view the drive, the launched orb rose high and straight, rocketing to where I had aimed. Oh no, I mumbled. I wanted to yell ‘fore’ but I didn’t think goosey spoke my language. They speak honk.

The landing was on target and the squawking flurry of flying feathers was disturbing. As I walked toward the area of the bird strike my emotions were raw. Is she dead or permanently injured? I felt guilt, remorse, sadness, apprehension, and self-condemnation. It took me back to when I was a kid and killed a robin with a shot from my BB gun.

I reached the crime scene. There she stood, unstable but in one piece. I got goosebumps as I watched her regain her balance after the ball-blow. She looked at me as if to say sarcastically, “Nice shot, dude.” I wanted to give her a goose hug but she was unapproachable. I knew she’d get back at me by delivering poops on the green in line with where I’m putting. “Take that!” she would say.

A few holes later I hit off from the Number 12 tee box. My ball lay inches from a creek but was playable. The second shot arrived 50 yards from the green caught up in the bunch of overwintered dry grass. It was perched up like an ice cream cone though so I had a shot. As my playing partners looked on, I selected my 60-degree wedge and launched a soaring shot that amazed those who were there.
The ball crested, then lingered as if to allow the viewers added joy and anticipation.

The drop to the green seemed in slow motion. I could hear the ah’s from my playmates. They knew it was a beautifully lofted shot even before it struck the green. There was one bounce before the ball found the cup and disappeared therein.

The ah’s turned to wows and positive acclamations. I humbly uttered thanks as if it was routine, but inwardly said “Yes!”

A 2-birdie day. Despite being guilty of foul play, I can’t wait for game two.