There are questions that a wandering golfer might get tired of (What did you shoot? What’s your handicap? What’s the best course you ever played? Did they charge you a green fee and/or How much did it cost?), and other inquiries that might grow old for a writer (How did you get an agent? Can I send him my book? How many copies did that sell? Do you actually make any money?). But a question that I will never tire of answering from this day to my last is, How the hell did you get on Augusta National?
I have lived a blessed golfing life–for all my shortcomings in competition or on the course, I wouldn’t trade any of my double-bogeys or DFL’s (Dead F-ing Last) for the places golf has taken me, and for the people it has put in my life. In case I wasn’t entirely aware of my good fortune, the universe slapped me across the face with a reminder to be damn thankful as I teed it up at the Augusta National Golf Club last week. (I have the scorecards and an arm’s-length receipt from the pro shop to prove it.)
To get the full answer to the above question as to how it happened for me, someone with no Augusta connections and with no CEO on his business card (or even a business card, for that matter), you will have to read the new book (it’s well underway–a first draft approaches). But for the short version, it happened because a reader took the time to reach out and let me know he enjoyed my Ireland book. A simple gesture turned into e-conversations, which turned into a golf partner in Scotland, which turned into a friend of a friend fulfilling the golf dream I always thought would have to remain in that realm of heaven, Nobel Prizes, and Eagles Superbowls.
This was the rare golf experience where the reality exceeded the fantasy–nowhere in my Augusta hopes did I expect to play the par-three course, park my shoes in a locker beneath a green jacket, tour the clubhouse and poke around the crow’s nest and the champions’ locker room, or get a look inside tournament headquarters. I’ll let the book and the pictures tell the rest of the story, but suffice to say that I set out to play Scotland and I ended up at Augusta. What a weird, wonderful game we play.
As for the other question I’m now so pleased to be able to answer–Was it great?–there’s an easy answer to that one: