By George Ferguson
The word obsession is defined by Webster's Dictionary as a persistent preoccupation to a certain emotion or idea.
As many of you can tell I love sports. I love football, basketball, baseball. From world cup soccer to women's tennis and everything in between. But they aren't obsessions.
I am truly only obsessed with one sport. It's a four letter word; no not that four letter word. It's golf. Golf is what preoccupies me all the time. In my sleep. In my dreams. At home. At work. I think about golf all the time.
When I was young, I played all kinds of sports. I was only mediocre at all of them except tennis. But my obsession with golf started much later.
I had always liked golf, but I never really had the chance to play it much. It wasn't all that popular in Havre when I was younger. Besides we couldn't afford to play at the golf course let alone find a way to get there. I certainly wasn't going to ride my dirt bike there with my clubs on my back. So, my friends and I would turn the middle school grounds in Highland Park into our own little nine-hole golf course.
As time went on, I turned all of my attention to tennis in high school. However, I still managed to hack the golf ball around every once in a while.
Since I never made it to the pro tennis tour, I started searching for a sport after high school that would ignite my competitive fires. I ended up finding it at Beaver Creek Golf Course.
For the past six years, I have become like so many Americans absolutely infatuated with the game of golf.
A good friend of mine got me started about six years ago, and I've never looked back. It wasn't pretty at first, I started off scoring in the mid-fifties. "Hack" would be the proper term, but I just kept at it. That first year we played every day. We played no matter what it was like outside. We played in wind, mosquitoes, rain, heat and anything else that Mother Nature threw at us.
If there was ever a morning I didn't feel like playing, my friend would simply refuse to not let me play. He would call and call until I took the phone off the hook. Then he would come over and simply beat on my door until I answered it. Despite my pleas, he refused to listen to me. It's one of his redeeming qualities. He just kept saying, "Shut up, you're going."
That friend has moved away from Havre and I've now become that guy. I get mad if my friends don't want to go golfing. They all love to play, but they aren't like me obsessed.
It's easy for me to say I'm obsessed, but here are some examples if you don't believe me.
First off, I'm not a rich. I'm not even financially comfortable. Yet, I am playing what is essentially a rich man's game. I have spent untold amounts of money on this game. I've spent money on golf, before I even see the checks that are supposed to pay for it. My 2002 income tax return is already gone. No, I didn't get my check earlier than everyone else. I won't get that check in the mail until February or March, but thanks to golf it's gone. Golf has made me financially UN-comfortable
As I said, I play golf whenever I can. I could have just finished playing 36 holes and if somebody else wanted to play another 18. I'd play and wouldn't think twice about it. Because of my willingness to play at any time. I tend to forget about things I am supposed to do. I miss appointments I'm supposed to be at. I un-intentionally neglect my wife, family members and my dogs. All just to be at the golf course.
A perfect example came on Aug. 19, my second wedding anniversary. At 6:30 p.m., I was supposed to take my wife to a romantic dinner and celebrate our marriage. And you know where I was at 5:30 p.m.? Standing on the second green at Beaver Creek. Seven holes in one hour, no problem. Luckily, it was a fast round and I made it to dinner. Unfortunately, there have been plenty of other times, when I didn't.
I am also an avid watcher of golf. My wife would probably use a different word than obsessive. I used to flip back and forth between golf and other things on Saturday and Sunday. Now, I watch the PGA tour event each week from the opening round on Thursday, to the final hole on Sunday. I never change the channel because I could miss something. I love watching Tiger Woods and Fred Couples. But it doesn't matter who's playing, I'll still watch. Don't forget about the greatest network ever invented, the Golf Channel.
Recently, I came up with an new idea. I admit I'm just an amateur hack with no hope of being anything more. However, I do have a friend who is an outstanding golfer in my opinion and I recently told him that he and I should give up our lives in Havre for one summer and join the Dakota Tour. I'd be his caddie for a small fee. My brilliant plan didn't go over very well with the wife. And I still haven't told my wife until now.
Speaking of my wife, she plays golf too sort of. She's learning. Some people might think I'm insane for wanting to have her with me on the golf course. But her desire to learn and try it is enough for me. And that way we can be obsessed together instead of apart.
You can see I have a problem. Is there a meeting somewhere, where I can stand up and say, "My name is George and I'm a golfaholic." There is no other sport like golf. It's a game you can be very competitive at while still having a barrel of laughs at the same time. It's a game that makes you lose your hair, but makes you feel powerful when you hit just one good shot or make one birdie.
Golf has honestly changed my life. I love it so much that this summer I even learned how to work on the golf course and loved every minute of it. For people who know me, it's shocking to put labor and me in the same sentence. But mowing greens and tee boxes were just as cool as hitting golf balls.
And now as the days are getting shorter and the winds of west Havre are turning colder, I grow sad. Golf season will soon be over and then what? I don't ski or skate. No golf what I am going to do. How will my obsession grow? Maybe winter won't be so cold or will have an early spring. Something, anything, I've got to have golf. I know I'll chip and putt in my house. I'll get a Tiger Woods' PlayStation golf game. I've got to have golf. Because, well, I'm obsessed.