A Doug's Life: Keep Me Out of the Sand Trap

About a week ago, while covering the Sun City/Menifee Health Expo, I had my first experience with the Sun City Civic Association community center.

Oh, I had driven past the colorful marquee and sprawling complex at Sun City Boulevard and Cherry Hills Boulevard many times. From the street, you don’t get a clear picture of what all is available to seniors in that facility. Probably a good place for a bingo tournament, I figured, or maybe a square dance. Why would I ever want to hang out there with the old folks?

Then I remembered that, as a 56-year-old, I qualify for admission. Hey, I already get the senior discount at Denny’s. Retirement can’t be that far off, right?

So as I walked onto the grounds of the community center that day, I was actually kind of curious about what goes on there.

Simply put, I was impressed. They have a giant swimming pool, a huge lawn bowling area, shuffleboard courts, an arts and crafts center … pretty much everything you’d need to stay busy. Suddenly, I wanted to put down the notepad and shuffle a board or two. The memories of shuffleboard games with my grandfather at his “retirement home” came flooding back.

Then something off in the distance caught my eye – a golf course.

That made perfect sense. A retirement community such as Sun City, which was developer Del Webb’s model of perfect senior citizen living, had to have a golf course. Doesn’t everyone who’s retired – and some who aren’t – play golf?

One of these days, I plan to find out for myself. Granted, the golf course there in Sun City looks nice and inviting. So does the layout across town, by Menifee Lakes. But for now, I’ll stick to reading, genealogy and the grandkids as my leisure time activities.

OK, maybe a game of shuffleboard once in a while, but that’s where I draw the line.

Here’s the thing about golf. Basically, I’m a terrible golfer. I can hit a baseball that’s pitched to me, but for some reason, I have a heck of a time hitting a golf ball that’s just sitting there on the tee, daring me to take a swing.

Oh, I gave it a try. I spent one entire summer practicing on a Par 3 course (the JVs of golf), and I thought I was getting the hang of it. Then a friend dragged me out on a full-size, 18-hole course and told me, “Now you have to use your woods.”

You mean those other clubs in my bag that look like sledgehammers? How am I supposed to get one of those under the ball with enough force to drive it 80-100 yards? Worse yet, how am I supposed to even get the ball off the ground?

On that first attempt at a real course, I learned real fast what a mulligan was – like on my first swing. After a while, my buddy told me I got no more “do-overs.” About the third hole, a guy asked if he could join our twosome. He lasted one hole before politely asking if he could play through. Guess he didn’t like watching me kill worms with my ground balls.

A couple days later, I told my uncle I had tried the big course. An avid golfer, he asked what my score was.

“A 75,” I said.

“You shot a 75?” he replied in amazement. “Doug, that’s great! And on your first try?”

“Well,” I responded, “we quit after nine holes.”

So there you have it – the reason I’m taking a hard look at lawn bowling and backgammon. Oh sure, I’ll probably give golf another try when I feel like four hours of torture. For now, I’ll stick to a game of catch in the back yard with a 3-year-old.


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