October 11, 2002

One of the things we were struck by on the drive yesterday was how the scenery seemed to change so dramatically every 20 miles or so. Today was no different, though the drive to Bernalillo was much shorter (it took only 90 minutes or so). The most dramatic change occurred when we reached Albuquerque and found that the freeway overpasses were pinkish-orange with turquoise accents. Wild.

The Santa Ana Golf Club, where we'd made a 12:40pm tee time, was on the Santa Ana Pueblo, right next to a casino. The casino and its parking lot were rather small (this we know because we had planned to gamble a bit after golf, but we couldn't find a parking spot), and the road to the course a bit dusty and winding, but the course itself was large and beautiful. Al remarked that if he were ever going to join a golf club to play regularly, this would be the club he would join.

I'd picked the course because it consistently makes the Golf For Women Top 100 Fairways Reader's Poll, and it didn't disappoint. While all the staff I encountered were men, the first three women I came across in the pro shop were all dedicated golfers, and two were planning tournaments at the club. They knew all the staff by name, and they were nice enough to give me tips on playing the course: "the greens are very fast, the rough is very rough, and the natural areas... forgettaboutit."

The starter set us off on the Star 9 (there are three 9-hole courses; you never know which two you're going to play until the starter tells you). I teed off fairly long, but right. I was in the sandy dirt about 10 yards to the right of the fairway. I hit my second shot forward and about 5 yards further right than the first, into the natural area. My ball was sitting up, though, so I whacked at it confidently, only to have it go into even deeper brush further right. I hacked through the weeds and managed to just get my ball onto the grass off the fairway. I hit a beautiful pitch shot... right into the bunker. After chipping out and having the ball roll off the green, I picked up, my morale completely shot. I SO WASN'T HAVING FUN.

I ranted a bit to Al in the cart: Why do I play this game? I'm not a golfer. I obviously suck. Why do I do this to myself? I want to have fun, but I'm NOT having fun! I'm not good enough to have fun! So in this semi-weepy state I teed off on the second, and again hit my ball right. I hit a second one, and that one was actually in play, so I sent Al to fish the first out of the brush and continued with the second ball. My second shot was also terrible, and when I went to put my club back in my bag, one of the bag tags that resorts always hang on your bag had blocked the compartment. I tried to push the club around the tag, and it gave way rather suddenly. The 5-iron slammed down into the bag, catching my thumb between its clubhead and that of the 3-iron.

I screamed in pain and immediately burst into tears. These were definitely NOT tears of frustration. My thumb started turning purple and swelling right away. When I got ahold of myself, I tried to hit my next shot, but couldn't grip the club properly, and contact with the ball produced another scream of pain. I started swinging with my thumb sticking out, and didn't do any worse than before, so I decided to continue playing.

Hurting my thumb turned out to be a good thing. It took the pressure off me to play well... and consequently, I played better. After the 3rd hole we flagged down the snack cart lady for a cup of ice and a Snickers (as any Harry Potter fan knows, chocolate is a rememdy for encounters with dementors; I find that it also helps soothe stressed nerves in general). I was able to get the swelling down a bit, but it appears that I've broken the bone just north of the joint; the burning sensation of a broken bone is unmistakable, and I can't grip a coffee cup. (It's also throbbing now that I've been using it to hit the spacebar, but I can't get used to spacing entirely with my left hand.)

We're now on our way to the Days Inn Santa Fe, where we have a reservation for two nights. More news tomorrow!

Photos from Day 4

Posted by Lori at October 11, 2002 03:26 PM