Only A Game Only A Game

To Golf, Or Not To Golf?03:11

Rory McIlroy edged out Sergio García and Rickie Fowler for the Open Championship title. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)closemore
Rory McIlroy edged out Sergio García and Rickie Fowler for the Open Championship title. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

When I was young and playing golf, I could not rule out any.

On one hot day - the grass was brown - I took a mighty swing.

The ball, quite gashed, took off due left, but here's the funny thing:

A fellow tending to the course had parked his jeep too near

My hacking self, as it transpired, and so he got to hear

A crashing sound, and then a silence, as it did sink in,

That there was nothing where his windshield recently had been.

On many days I went to play I was quite unprepared

To lose so many golf balls in the woods, and so I shared

The golf balls my companions carried, grumbling as they walked.

And when I lost the ones I'd borrowed, my companions balked.

"Perhaps you should bring more," they said. And I could understand.

I lost balls in the brooks and ponds, and also on the land...

Beneath the prickly bushes, under poison ivy, too,

Which, if you are a golfer, I'd avoid, if I were you.

I lost them in the rough, of course, and in the road as well,

For where the ball would go when I would hit it none could tell.

I'm proud of very little of what I did in the game.

I never got much better at it. Still and all the same,

I never broke a golf club 'cross my knee. That sort of break

Is probably just as bad as tossing clubs into the lake.

(I never did that, either, and when I had reached the end

Of any round I'd played with an acquaintance or a friend,

I always wrote upon the card the number of my swings,

Despite the need for higher math that such a practice brings.)

And did I learn from golfing any lesson real and true?

Perhaps just this: It's not for me. Perhaps it is for you.


  • More Sports Poetry By Bill Littlefield

Bill Littlefield Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield has been the host of Only A Game since the program began in 1993.


+Join the discussion

Support the news

Next Up

Where to now?

More Only A Game or Explore Audio.