New Shoes

After playing a round of golf a few weeks ago my feet hurt. “Time for some new golf shoes.” I said to myself. Found a nice pair of very light, comfortable golf shoes at a fair price at a local shoe store.  They always have a “Buy one, get the second pair at half price” deal, so my new soft spike fairway walkers were fifty percent off.

Golf is the most normal thing I get to do these days. No masks required. Four or five guys giving each other space to tee off and putt. Our varied skill sets keep us apart on the fairways. Or off. Our usual group (all either Elders or Deacons in our congregation) consists of a couple of heavy hitters, a couple of average players, and me, the one markedly on the left side of the curve. When someone says, “Take a mulligan.” they are usually talking to me. Mostly, they’re just really quiet after I strike, or rather muff,  the ball.

The great thing about golf though, as I have said before, is that we are all competing, not against each other, but against the course. Oh sure, there’s lots of trash talking, but in the end some guys score low, some average, and some (one), well, sadly, above average (or par, when the objective is to be below it). Even then, my rare accurate shot to the green, or the occasional one putt, receives from my friends sincere praise. 

So on Monday morning I showed up in my new golf shoes. Immediately one of the guys noticed and brought it to the attention of the others. “Bob’s got new shoes!” On the first hole, I teed off last, as usual. However, my tee shot flew into the air, straight and true, and landed in the fairway. I don’t know who was more shocked, me or them. “New shoes!” was the first remark. To the fairway we walked. I approached my ball, took out a fairway wood and… It was another high-flying, on-target shot. The third shot was more of the same, a high soft-landing pitch to the green. Two putts, and I bogied the hole, which for me was like a birdie at least. “New shoes.” someone murmured.

On it went, hole after hole, playing real golf, enjoying each moment, and managing to card my lowest score of the season. But who got the credit? New shoes. Now when Rick hit an almost impossible shot from a side-hill lie in the sand trap, managing to get it to three feet, I said, ”Great shot Rick!” not “New glove!”  When Harve got a one-putt par on the eighth hole,  I air high-fived him and said, “Nice par Harve!” not “Nice pants!” But my stellar round was credited, not to my improved skills, but “New shoes”.

Never mind, I’ll take it. I wonder how well those shoes will play next week?

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