In the Charitable Swing

In the Charitable Swing

By Michael Jacobs /

Michael Jacobs Atlanta Jewish TimesSpring is prime season for Jewish Atlanta to honor community leaders for their dedication to making our schools, synagogues and other organizations all they are today and all they could be in the future.

Apparently, when that commitment to community is as thick in the air as the pollen that turns our cars green whenever we get a respite from the rain, it becomes infectious. I must have caught the bug.

I don’t know how else to explain how I wound up standing on the first tee at City Club Marietta at 8 a.m. Sunday, May 3, instead of sleeping or editing or waiting to watch Chelsea clinch the English Premier League soccer championship.

It’s not that I never play golf. I played 10 or 20 times a year when I was in high school, and I staggered around the mighty Kerr Lake Country Club — a whole lot of country, not so much club — every few months when I was working in Henderson, N.C., at the turn of the millennium.

But before I talked myself into teeing it up with the Temple Kol Emeth Brotherhood for a good cause — a young woman battling back from injuries suffered in an accident in 2011 — I had played golf exactly once the past 10 years.

I do enjoy golf, at least for the first 60 or 70 strokes. But by the time I get to the 12th or 13th hole, I tend to be sick and tired of mishitting the hail-size ball and chasing after it through the woods.

I’ve never broken 100. I’ve never had a handicap, aside from my inability to keep my head still or my left arm straight, my lack of proper shoes, and my comically patched together “set” of clubs. Yes, that’s duct tape holding my 4-wood together, and, yes, the head and shaft of one of my two drivers aren’t attached at all. My newest club is more than 30 years old: the putter from the woman’s set Dad bought me at J.C. Penney when I first tried to play but was too big for junior clubs and too small for men’s clubs.

Did I mention that I use a simplified scoring system? If I find more balls than I lose during the round, I win.

Needless to say, my playing partners at the Brotherhood tournament abandoned all hope of winning anything when I became the final part of their foursome, but they were gracious enough. No one laughed out loud at me at any point of the day, and they resisted the urge to try to fix my hopelessly broken swing.

I think a good time was had by all. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. The course was immaculate. The snacks and drinks were plentiful. And compared with some of the charitable golf tournaments in the Jewish community, it was cheap.

No doubt I could use the exercise from a regular four-hour walk over hill and dale at the local links, although the heart-healthy benefits of physical activity might be offset by the frustration-driven rise in blood pressure.

But if I committed to trying to find a golf game, paying for clubs and lessons and greens fees and a usable pair of golf spikes, I wouldn’t have enough money left to play charitable tournaments. So in the spirit of community service exemplified elsewhere in this issue by people such as Eliot Arnovitz and Perry Brickman, I’ll just practice shouting “Fore!” a little louder before next year’s tournament.

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