It was a decision day for me…. I made the decision to give away my golf clubs

19 Sep

I was kinda at a lost as to what I wanted to write about today, and I had toyed with the idea of talking about my Navy career and sharing some sea stories.  For the uninformed sea stories are generally lies based on some level of truth, and 99 percent of all sea stories start off this was “And this ain’t no Shit!” That seed is planted in my brain and will take the form of a post soon.

But then I made a phone call to the local High School about my golf clubs.  It was a call I had been wanting to make for some time and a call I was dreading making, for an even longer time.  Years ago when I got a new set of golf clubs (my Callaway Big Bertha’s) I donated my old, but still great clubs (Cleveland’s)  to the High School where the neighborhood kids go. But when I made the call this time, I was turned down.  I was quite politely turned down but I was still rejected.  He told me that all the golfers at his school, on his team, none of which were left-handed, already had their equipment, and the fact that the clubs were left-handed made them pretty much useless to the school. But giving the golf coach credit, he did steer me in a better direction.  He steered me towards First Tee.   BTW I am a golf snob so I will name drop the type of clubs I have!  For years and years I coveted the Callaway Big Bertha golf clubs.  At the time I was doing this coveting I already had a great set of Clevelands.  Yes I know I am bragging, but it is my blog so I am allowed to.  But as a retirement gift to me, my wife allowed me to upgrade to the Callaway’s, it was a gift that I will ever be grateful.   And soon some deserving young man will also appreciate.

Let me talk about First Tee for a moment.  First Tee is a worldwide organization that uses golf to teach young intercity and otherwise economically challenged kids life skills.  Integrity, honesty, self-reliance, are some of the basic skills that are taught.   Taken from the FIRST TEE of Tampa homepage the goal of the organization is “To impact the lives of young people in the Greater Tampa area by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.”  These are very noble goals for a game that is indeed very noble.  I feel this is a perfect place for my golf clubs, and all the other stuff, shoes, balls, tees, towels, gloves, ball mark repairers, and on and on, to go and have a second life.  To make someone else as happy as they made me, to teach them those life skills, that have been important to me since the 1st time I picked up a club.  While I have no part in the selection of who gets the clubs (and I didn’t want to have a part in the selection) I was assured that a deserving young man would get them, and I could ask for nothing more.  Over the next few years, I will be thinking of my golf clubs in the hands of some young person falling in love with the game.  That young person may someday look to the skies to thank me, hopefully I won’t be there to accept.

When I made arrangements to give my golf clubs and all my other golf stuff away, it wasn’t a simple decision.  It was a heart wrenching one. I want to talk about the internal process of acknowledging my quitting of golf.  I want to talk about how I came to the decision.  It was a decision that was over a year in making, but the moment I made it, I acted on it, and I didn’t dwell on it.  I hadn’t played golf in over 2 years, and only a couple of times the year before that.  Over the last several months I have tried several times (unseen) in my back yard, to swing a club, to get comfortable with the process, I’ve used different lengths of cannula so I would have oxygen flow as I swung, and I tried walking without oxygen support, the bending over, even standing around without oxygen support was difficult. And even with oxygen support, if I walked 40 or even 20 yards to make a shot I was winded so bad, that it took too long to gather myself, all of this took any fun any reward I could get out of the game, so my heart wasn’t in it.  Physically I realized there isn’t any one thing I could really do to play golf these days.  Then add heat and humidity, my foursome would have to call 911 after the 2nd hole, and most likely the course marshal would bitch about the group’s slow play. LOL LOL.  That wouldn’t be fair to them. I knew it was time to give it up.  I’d embarrassed myself, and I was a disappointed in myself. This coupled with, the fact that only one of my golf buddies is still around, and he has already given up golf, made the decision easier, but not easy.  Also, mentally if my heart wasn’t in the game, my mind would never be.

The progression of the disease is eating me up, and reality has set in.  I will never play golf again. Maybe putt putt, but never real golf, on a real course.  These factors all played a role in the decision process. Yes, I will have my XBOX360 golf, which I am pretty damn good, but it is still on a computer.  And I don’t have anyone to share it with.

When you have a terminal disease, the progression of your illness forces your hand on a continuing basis.  Most terminal diseases take their time.  There rarely is a clear starting point of the disease, and within each individual the progression to the end is different. How we measure the progression is an internal thing.  Sure doctors have their charts and tables that tell them that if a patient has these indications, these symptoms at a given point they are at X point in their life expectancy.  But the individual has different measurements, such as can they still drive, can they still do house hold chores, can they fend for themselves in their own small and not so small ways, have their outside the home activities been curtained, and how has the disease impacted their hobbies, are some just some of the personal indicators we have.  These are our reality checks.  And we need them, and we need them to be personal.  The giving up of my golf clubs was one such reality check.  But it was only one, and far from the final one.

Okay off the soap box, If you have any questions, concerns or comments please feel free to ask.  Have a great afternoon and take care. — Bill


Posted by on September 19, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Observations, Ramblings


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22 responses to “It was a decision day for me…. I made the decision to give away my golf clubs

  1. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    September 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Know how it is, Bill. I gave away my tennis racket, a good relatively new one. Tennis was my thing. Sending you a big hug to replace those clubs. Okay, another hug!!! 🙂

    • FlaHam

      September 19, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      Paulette, It is extremely painful when you have a realization such as what I had. You having gone thru it as well, know the impact that decision had on me, and will continue to have on me. Thank you for your kind words of support. Please take care, Bill

      • The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

        September 20, 2013 at 10:10 am

        The support from wonderful people, good friends, like you, Bill, makes all the difference. Wishing you a good weekend.

        • FlaHam

          September 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm

          Paulette, It is thru friends like you that I make it, friends that lend me their ear, and help me carry the burden I choose to carry. I hope you have a great weekend as well. Please take care. Bill

  2. Chatter Master

    September 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Oh Bill my heart ached for you. I am at a point in my life where I know I have to face “walking away from” my martial arts. I only do a limited workout so I retain what I know, now. And it’s like you were speaking directly to me. But you are so right…this is only one reality. Thank you so much for your good spirit and attitude.

    • FlaHam

      September 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      Colleen, Thank you for you kind words and thoughts. The day you past the word that you have given up your martial arts, or even worst biking, you know I will ache for you as well. I was speaking directly to you, as I spoke to Paulette, as I speak to Dee, or Cindy, or Marlyn, or Ela. Or any of the many others who follow me, just as you speak directly to me in so many of your posts. Our hearts and spirits continue to fully embrace that which our body can no longer enjoy. It comes upon slowly and sometimes quickly, but each of us will one day face it. I for one will continue to fight what I believe is the good fight. I know you will as well. Take care, Bill

      • Chatter Master

        September 20, 2013 at 6:11 am

        I will, Bill, I will. Thanks for your words, they truly are helpful. 🙂 And I know you understand.

        • FlaHam

          September 20, 2013 at 9:22 am

          Colleen, we are all in this together and we have been drawn together via blogging. Some us spend thousands of words pouring out our hearts, and others are much more effective, with a lot less words. When the time comes for you, you can count on me to be supportive, and have a kind word. Heck knowing me I might have a ton of kind words. Take care, Bill

          • Chatter Master

            September 20, 2013 at 10:05 pm

            🙂 I will appreciate those words Bill, and I know they will help. 🙂

            • FlaHam

              September 21, 2013 at 8:04 am

              Colleen, we are here to help and support each other. We share our courage and strength, and this allows us to muddle thru many of life’s events. Take care, Bill

  3. gita4elamats

    September 20, 2013 at 4:18 am

    A retiree was given a set of golf clubs by his co-workers. Thinking he’d try the game, he asked the local pro for lessons, explaining that he knew nothing whatever of the game.
    The pro showed him the stance and swing, then said, “Just hit the ball toward the flag on the first green.”
    The novice teed up and smacked the ball straight down the fairway and onto the green, where it stopped inches from the hole.
    “Now what?” the fellow asked the speechless pro.
    “Uh… you’re supposed to hit the ball into the cup,” the pro finally said, after he was able to speak again.
    “Oh great! Now you tell me,” said the beginner in a disgusted tone.


    • FlaHam

      September 20, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Ela, L M F A O !!!! that was fun I was never that good, though in my fantasizes I once beat Tiger Woods. Thank you for the chuckle. Take care my friend. -Bill-

      • gita4elamats

        September 20, 2013 at 9:36 am

        I thought you might enjoy it, Bill! 😆

  4. Wanda

    September 20, 2013 at 8:03 pm


    I know your disease is forcing lots of unwelcome decisions on you (and that makes me more sad than I can say…). But your decision about your golf clubs, when you know you can’t use them anymore, makes me proud. You probably won’t ever know the identity of the person who receives your treasured equipment or what he/she accomplishes as a result–but I’m sure you do know that you did the best thing possible. And I’m guessing that 10 or 20 years in the future, that person will remark about the impact your gift had on him or her.

    And in the spirit of Ela’s comment above, I offer the following:

    The head of large accounting department was chatting early one morning with a colleague. As usual, the department head opened his center desk drawer and glanced down, momentarily, at something inside the drawer. The colleague, intrigued, said “I’ve seen you do that hundreds of times! What is in that drawer?!” Straight-faced, the department head replied “It’s just a reminder…debits on the left, credits on the right!”

    There are, of course, many versions of this joke, but I have fond memories of the head of the accounting department of my Navy activity telling it on himself and looking sheepish in the process. The recollection always brings a smile to my face.

    • FlaHam

      September 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Wanda, Thank you Wanda, having looked at them longingly for over 2 years, I knew it was time to make that decision. Being honest, knowing that they would end up in the hands of a deserving young person, made the decision simple. And it was indeed the right decision. Smiling, yes it my hope that someday in a conversation the individual who gets these clubs comments to someone how grateful he is to First Tee for his start in golf, and how nice the set of clubs they provided were. That will make me happy from long distance. Take care, Bill

  5. Marlyn Brook

    September 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    I so understand what the release of your clubs meant to you & for you but again I owe you a thank you. I’ve stared at my ski equipment with sorrow & dread for too many ski seasons. Tomorrow I will find the right place to donate them! You give me courage! As for MY left handed clubs…they were given to me decades ago in the hopes I would learn to play. Long story short….evidently chasing an Irish Setter across the course in a golf cart is a no no…who knew? End of golf, clueless what happened to the clubs BUT I did rescue the Irish Setter:) LOL Please know you are a good & kind man, a man your daughter & granddaughter can love, admire & be very proud of!

    • FlaHam

      September 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      Marlyn, Thank you, it took a long time to realize I wasn’t giving up, by giving them away. I am grateful that my decision gave you the courage to make your decision. Good thing I wasn’t doing half the stuff I have done on and to a golf cart. They are fun to race!! I truly appreciate your kind words. I hope my body of work, makes those that knew me, be proud to be my friends when I am gone. My daughter and granddaughter are both wonderful, I have my daughter convinced I am the good guy LOL even though I tease the hell out of her. My granddaughter is starting to form her own opinion of me, and I think so far, I am doing good. Years from now she will have these words to remember me by. Take care, Bill

  6. Allison

    September 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Dad…I didn’t know you gave up your golf clubs. This makes me so sad. But I think it’s so noble to give them away to folks who can use them…

    • FlaHam

      September 22, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Allison, Thank you for you sweet note, I would expect no less from you. There is no reason for you to feel sad, I Don’t. You think I am noble because I am your dad, and I love you with all my heart, but giving my clubs to someone less fortunate, someone who is just being their love affair with golf, it wasn’t noble it was the right thing to do. Giving up golf while I was still able to play, so some youngster could take up the game, that would have been noble, and a bit dumb. Love Dad

  7. DeeDee Granata

    September 22, 2013 at 5:14 am

    Thanks for the shout-out. 🙂 And I’m also left-handed. 🙂

  8. Capt. F Joslyn

    October 13, 2013 at 10:33 am

    In my recent trip, Sept. 17- Oct 3, 2013, to Hutchinson Island, FL.after not hitting any golf balls in over a year because my heart and my head was just not into it since being diagnosed with COPD, I tried going to the range one morning and tried hitting. Bloody frustrating! At least that factor in the game will never change no matter how good you are. But it was a joke. I left half the balls on the range and yes the heat and humidity was getting to me but it did make me think that I am coming to that conclusion: Maybe its time to give up the clubs to First Tee and just move on. For the first time since the game of golf came into my life as a wide eyed enthusiastic kid of 15 years old in Bellevue, Nebraska where I finally succumbed to the calling of the golf gods, I always traveled with my clubs no matter where on earth I was going to end up and at times would leave a necessary suitcase in order to bring my most precious possession, my golf clubs. I played in High School, I played for my college team and have won many scramble tournaments, set a state record and many more memories to many to mention. I was playing a respectable 6.2 index in 2010. Finally finished a round of golf under par! But in all of these years of playing this wonderful game, I’ve never had a hole in one! Bloody Hell! I will give it one more try before I hand my sticks over. You inspire me Bill

    • FlaHam

      October 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Capts, I played golf every week until 2 years ago, dragging my clubs and my portable oxygen. While my game was never as good as yours, and while I never won anything, well I did get a gift certificate at a work related golf tournament (for coming in dead last), and I surely never played to the level you played, at my prime I was an 19 to 21, my love for golf is as heart felt as yours. Like you I never had a hole in one, and my sole eagle came when I sank a 150 third shot on a par 5 (I still have the ball). I stopped playing because it was hurting my friends to much, to watch me struggle. The disease we share robbed me of my strength, but it has never taken my dignity. Capts play until you can’t, enjoy it as long as your head allows you to. I went from playing in the low 90’s all the time to shooting 115 + from the gold tees, and thinking that was a good day. But I was out there because, each week I did one thing right, I made that one shot, or hit that long putt, or pulled magic from my butt in the sand trap. I managed to make me smile, and my friends cheer. I only gave it up when I knew I just couldn’t go. I am suggesting to you that you keep at it until you head and body tells you to stop. And should you decide to pass your clubs on to first tee, understand your spirit will live on thru the hands of some young golfer who otherwise might not ever had the chance. I wish you well, take care, fast fairways and smooth greens. Bill


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