Friends For Nine Holes

I am constantly amazed at the ability of golf to turn complete strangers into friends—at least for the length of a round.

During a twilight round this past week, on the tenth hole I caught up to a couple of good looking young people who were out on a date. I heard them talking about classes, and assumed that they were University graduate students. The group ahead was very slow, and they asked if I’d like to play with them. Sam explained that if I didn’t mind, he and Kristen were playing a “scramble.” Both would hit and then they’d both hit again from the better ball.

I didn’t mind; I thought it cute.

A few minutes later, we were joined by a Korean gentleman more near my own age. The couple also asked him to play with us. He introduced himself as Jhoon.

So there we were, four strangers on the tee. When the group ahead was near the green, we took our swings and then headed out.

I knew immediately it was going to be a fun night. Sam and Kristen were carrying their bags, wearing flip flops, and having a grand time. Sam was a good player, and I could tell that Kristen was a beginner, but was giving a good account of herself. It was also pretty quickly clear that Jhoon (also a walker) was an accomplished player as he chipped in for a birdie from ten yards out. My game was—well, it was what it was.

By the second hole together (the eleventh), we were playing like a regular foursome, applauding good shots, and rooting for putts to fall. By the third, we were chatting as we walked to our balls.

It was on the fourteenth that I found out that Sam and Kristen weren’t students, but young elementary school teachers. The classes they had been talking about were ones they had to take for teaching certificate recertification.

We had quite a bit to talk about after that. Jhoon, an engineer, asked our opinions about some difficulties his daughter was having in high school, and we offered some advice.

We also talked quite a bit about courses we had played around the state,  the PGA Tour, my golf GPS unit, and other fun things.

After the eighteenth, we smiled, shook hands and all said we hoped we’d meet again—and meant it.

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