SLICE OF LIFE: Golf, the four-letter word

2013-06-02T00:00:00Z SLICE OF LIFE: Golf, the four-letter wordBy Vanessa Renderman, (219) 933-3244

Every time I pull in or out of the garage, I see a piece of my past, resting against the concrete wall.

Under the dust and threads of broken spider webs is a turquoise bag that holds my set of Dunlop clubs. Yes, I once was a golfer.

Let me clarify. There was a time when I golfed. Even then, I never called myself a golfer. That's like saying you're a chef because you throw together dinner every night.

I was 15 when my mom and I took lessons through the Schererville Parks Department.

"You've got a natural swing," my dad would say.

I signed up for the Lake Central High School team but never returned after the first meeting. I could tell those girls were actual golfers, raised with a view of the course from their kitchen window and a putting green in their backyard.

I was just a kid who played some par-3 courses with my parents. It was something to do on summer afternoons, not a career path. 

But looking at the clubs doesn't bring back fond memories of family bonding. It reminds me of my dad and his hate-hate relationship with the game.

He hated it, and the game hated him right back.

When he wasn't slicing the ball, he was hitting it wildly horizontal or behind him. On one outing, his boss bailed in time to avoid taking a golf ball to the noggin.

We started standing well behind Dad when he teed off. But, that was no guarantee.

Mom once sat on a bench behind him and off to the side, and the ball somehow took on the properties of a boomerang and whacked her in the head. She lost her hearing for a few days, but it returned and now we all have a good laugh about it.

We learned there was no safe place to stand when Dad teed off, except maybe directly in front of him on the fairway or near the hole.

His golf balls were drawn to water hazards and tall grass. And, I'm sure he upset a family or two of hissing Canada geese.

I once witnessed him throw a club in the air out of frustration, and the club got stuck in a nearby tree.

All that slicing and chipping from the sand finally took its toll, and Dad retired his clubs. The announcement was unceremonious and one we thought would pass. 

But, holiday after holiday, he reiterated that he did not want any golf tees, golf balls, golf towels, funny golf books or anything to do with the sport.

Golf, after all, is a four-letter word.

Vanessa Renderman is a business reporter for The Times. You can reach her at

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