When Your Golf Name is “Sherry Shanks”

What year is it and what’s happening to me? Did I time travel to Texas in the 1980s? 

It certainly feels like it or at least it did last Saturday. This is because I found myself on a golf course hitting a ball in the middle of the afternoon when the heat index could loosely be defined as “surface of the sun.”

The last time I held a club or really even pretended to have even the slightest smidgen of interest in golf was when I was trying to impress a boyfriend (now husband). He loved golf so I thought the best course of action would be for me to go all in on the sport.

This included getting a golf outfit. Trust me when I tell you that back in the day women’s golf clothes were hideous and the miracle of moisture wicking fabric had yet to be invented. I was “styling” in plaid Bermuda shorts and a thick knit polo shirt that seemed to act as a conduit for all my sweat to gather and linger. 

The most impressive thing I did was to sign up for golf lessons. This is where I discovered I was shockingly horrendous at the sport.  As in I was so bad the golf pro started calling me “Sherry Shanks.”

 A shank, if you don’t know, is when you hit the ball so poorly that it veers wildly off to the right like an inebriated bird. It’s been called the “most destructive shot in golf” and it was apparently the only shot I could do.

Oh, I tried to get better but no amount of coaching or deep thoughts about keeping my head down and slowing my swing did any good. I finally came to the realization that instead of impressing my boyfriend I was scaring him away. So, I happily retired my Bermuda shorts and never looked back.

Now decades later I find myself on a golf course holding a 7 iron and sweating like a grizzly bear inside a sleeping bag filled with poultry gravy. The reason I’m here is plain and simple. It’s love. 

My daughter has taken an interest in golf which means my husband is on cloud nine. But this also means that I need to “play” so they don’t get paired with two golfers who might be less than thrilled to be in a foursome with a beginner golfer. 

I’m what you would call a foursome blocker. Because in golf math a threesome is less likely to get another golfer added to their tee time..

In a surprise to everyone, including myself, I had decided to take this golf outing seriously. I hit some practice balls and weirdly there was not one single “Sherry Shank.” 

This buoyed my hopes that maybe I wouldn’t embarrass myself on the par 3 course. And by that I mean not shanking my swing so badly that my ball would cause grievous bodily harm to another golfer.

As I teed off on the first hole something magically happened. I hit a golf ball straight for the first time in my life. It didn’t go far but it went straight and even made one of those encouraging “thwack” sounds. 

Lord help me but with that one swing I was hooked. Even with sweat having a parade down my back and my underwear getting swampy I was all in for nine holes. I don’t know if I was suffering from a delusional disorder brought on by the heat or if I’m actually getting into golf.

I guess the only way to find out is to get back out there and hope that Sherry Shanks doesn’t reappear. Hmm, maybe a cute golf outfit would help. 


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