Rory McIlroy beat Sergio García and Rickie Fowler for the  British Open title. Bill Littlefield, strangely, wasn't even among the contenders. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy beat Sergio García and Rickie Fowler for the British Open title. Bill Littlefield, strangely, wasn’t even among the contenders. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

The things that can go wrong upon a golf course number many.
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.