The Raptor Rundown

Delia Rune, Finance Director

When I arrived at the Morris Williams golf course on a chilly Tuesday afternoon, I wasn’t sure what to expect from golf. I didn’t know much about the sport apart from the fact that it was somewhat similar to putt-putt, and the players get to wear cute outfits. It took me about one failed attempt to hit the ball to realize that golf was more difficult than I had given it credit for.

We started off golf practice by collecting the golf balls and heading to “the range.” As I waited for my turn to try to hit the ball, I watched rows of middle-aged men with AirPods swing their clubs and knock ball after ball into the air with clean precision. I imagined that when it was my turn, that my own golf skills would look something like that. 

Obviously, I was wrong. Before I had even taken my first swing, Mr. Croston, the golf coach, was gently correcting me and demonstrating how I should hold my club. I did my best to interlock my fingers the way he had shown me and take aim. Nerves washed over me as I lined myself up to hit the ball. I took two practice swings before I tried to hit the ball. I missed it completely and swung my club hard into the air instead.

Immediately, Mr. Croston jumped in again, reminding me to keep one arm straight and bend my knees a little. I tried again, and, this time, I hit the ball. At first, holding the golf club was a little awkward, but, as I practiced, it became more and more comfortable. 

Over the course of the next forty minutes, me and two other members of LASA’s golf team—Zaye Beadle and The Liberator news co-editor Luci Garza—rotated who was putting and the stroke used to get the golf ball into the hole, and took turns watching one another play. Mr. Croston was always nearby and jumped in whenever someone got a few swings in a row that didn’t go very far. 

One thing that stood out to me about the golf team was the low-pressure, inclusive atmosphere. Even though I was terrible at the sport, I never felt like I stood out or was being made fun of by the other members of the team or even the serious golfers at the course. A handful of the team was also completely new to the sport, and it was comforting to feel like everyone was learning how to play alongside me.

The next and final portion of the golf lesson was to go to the course and try to get a few golf balls into the holes. This was by far the most embarrassing part of the entire day for me.

Although the process of hitting a ball into the small holes marked by flags in the ground is not difficult—in fact, it is very much like putt-putt—I still managed to make a grave error.

See if you can catch my mistake: I took hold of my club the way I had practiced on the range, lined it up with the ball, took one practice swing, and then knocked it with all of my might into the air. I did everything the way I had just been practicing, but the moment the ball entered the air I realized where I had gone wrong.

Had we still been on the range, that would have been a decent shot. But we were not on the range, where the goal seemed to be to get the ball to go as high and as far as possible. Instead, we were on the course, where the goal was to get the ball to glide into one of the holes on the ground. 

I watched in horror as my ball soared above all the others and landed yards away from where I was aiming—and directly on top of someone else’s ball. 

The rest of the golf team laughed at me for a solid minute, but I didn’t feel like I was being made fun of. We collected my ball and resumed playing. 

This experience was indicative of what it felt like to be a (temporary) member of LASA’s golf team. The atmosphere was warm and very comfortable for complete beginners like myself, and Mr. Croston and the rest of the team were incredibly supportive and helpful. I am definitely more interested in golf now than when I started out and I had the best time stumbling along to figure it out, commitment free.