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The Golf Lesson

Story ID:5047
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Caldwell Idaho USA/Canada
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The Golf Lesson

“Do you golf, Mike?” Jim asked.

“Not much, but …” I began to tell him three stories I never tire of telling.


Except for a few birds, the course was
quiet. It was great morning for golf: no
one ahead to slow me down, no one behind to rush
me forward. I looked down the hill.
The fifth hole of the nine-hole, par 3 course lay
below and one hundred and seventy yards
away. The flag hung limp in the still air. A
small knoll at the front of the green hid the
cup. I checked my score card again. It was
definitely a good day. After four holes,
I was only six over par.

I grabbed my seven iron, approached the
tee, placed my ball, glanced at the flag,
and positioned myself. After another look at the
flag, I drew my club back and swung.
The iron whistled through the air, struck the
ball at an angle, and drove it spinning
through the air. It started toward the hole, but
the spin and aerodynamics took control. I
watched helplessly the ball sliced to the right,
away from the hole, and head for the tall
grass that separated the fairway from the forest.
It slipped between the blades of grass,
disappeared, bounced off something hard, and

I stood in shock. The ball bounced across
the fairway, jumped over a sand trap,
leaped onto the green, and headed toward the
flag. It disappeared behind the small knoll.
I waited for it to reappear. It didn’t.

“That must be close to the hole.” I

I grabbed my clubs, walked down the hill,
and approached the green. My eyes
remained focused on the area around the flag. My
ball was no where in sight, but the cup
was still hidden by the knoll. I climbed to the
top of the knoll. The cup came into a view,
but my ball didn’t. The green was empty. I didn’t
think the ball rolled fast enough to go
over the edge of the green, but I walked around
to the back anyway. My ball wasn’t there.
I turned and look at the cup again. “It couldn’t
have?” My heart began to pound as I
walked closer to the hole. There was my ball,
nestled close to the pin at the bottom of the

It remains the only hole-in-one I ever
got. There were no witnesses to my feat.


Jack and I stood at the tee-off to the
first hole of an eighteen-hole, par-three
course. My best friend took his first shot and
came up short of the green. I teed off and
watched my ball land a little short and slightly
to the right of the green.

Jack’s second shot put him on the green,
a few feet from the hole. I grabbed my
wedge, stood by my ball, and judged the distance.
My light swing lifted the ball from the
grass in a smooth arc toward the green. It hit
the rough at the edge of the green, bounced,
rolled smoothly toward the flag, and plopped into
the cup for a birdie.

On the second hole, it happened again. I
chipped my second shot into the hole.
After double-bogeying the third hole, I chipped
another one in on the fourth – three
birdies in four holes.

My game returned to normal. A
double-bogey was something to get excited
about. At the eighteenth hole, my first shot
placed the ball at the edge of the green.
Jack and I surveyed the green. The cup was placed
near the center. The green sloped
from the right to the left.

“You should chip toward the rear of the
green.” Jack said. “The ball will roll
up and then back toward the hole.”

“You’re right.” I said and studied the
green. “That would work, but what the
heck? I’m just going to aim straight for the
cup.” I swung my wedge. The ball hit the
green, bounced four times and dropped into the
cup for my fourth and final birdie.”

“I don’t believe it!” Jack took his hat
off and scratched his head. “That was some


Don, my neighbor, looked at my ball. “You
can take a free lift from there.”

I sized up my first shot. The ball was
fifty feet from the hole and rested in the dirt
in the center of an maintenance road. “You’re
right, Don, but the ground is level. I think
I’ll just shoot it from here.”

I swung and lifted the ball in a high
arc. I silently cursed. The ball appeared to be
headed deep into the brush behind the green. I
watched as it climbed higher and lose
momentum in the wind. At the highest point in its
arc, it lost speed, and dropped straight
into the hole, rattling the flag as it did.

Don was shocked. “In my more than forty
years of golfing, I have never seen
anyone drop a ball into the hole like that. What
a shot! It’s a birdie too.”

I smiled at him. “Thanks, Don.”


I finished the last story. Jim looked at
me. “You sound too good for me to play.”

“Actually, I suck at golf.” I smiled. “I
just told you the best.”

What I didn’t talk about were all the
balls that landed in the woods and didn’t
bounce out. I didn’t mention that I once won a
trophy in a tournament. I was the not-so-
proud winner of the prize for the most lost
balls. There are thirteen of my balls in the
ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia. All were lost
in that one round of golf.

The day I got the hole-in-one, I lost the
ball in the woods on the next hole. I got
four birdies in one round, but I didn’t tell Jim
my final score was twenty over par. I
focused on the positive.

If someone asks me about my life, I tell
them I had to move seven times between
provinces, countries, and states. I talk about my
wife who died too young, the numerous
jobs that ended before I thought they would, and
I whine about the money hardships.

It’s all negative.

It’s time for me to tell the golf story.
I loved and married a wonderful woman and
shared the rest of her life with her. In the
process, we created two children. I moved seven
times and got to meet wonderful people and
experience things I could only dream about.
I remarried to an amazing woman. We share new
lives together.

Life is hard – life is good. It’s how you
tell the story.

Now “that” is a golf lesson!

Michael T. Smith