In spite of the occasional scores in the high 60s and the constant rounds in the 70s posted by the lady pros, they in no way reflect the average woman's game. Nor does the low-handicap amateur's. Any class-conscious handicap chairman, thumbing through her rack of cards, can tell you the C players outnumber the B's almost two to one and the B's outweigh the A's. They're all in there pitching—and putting, or trying to, and each seeks a different solace.
"Golf has always been a mental therapy for me," confided a 62-year-old grandmother who has survived three major illnesses within the last 10 years—removal of a cancerous left breast, a serious abdominal operation and, lastly, a heart attack. "When I get out on the golf course I feel I'm alive," said this smooth-swinging golfer, a 15-handicapper who gives strokes to women 30 and 40 years younger. "I'm exhibit A for what golf does for you. Since my heart attack I use a cart, but 10 years ago, three months after my breast operation, I started swinging a club again. The doctor told me it was good for me. I began to play again the next summer. My left arm isn't quite as strong as it used to be, but I can still occasionally shoot in the high 80s, and I've never gotten over the thrill of hitting a good shot."
"I may not play well, but I play fast," a 40-plus player said proudly when she was included in a foursome with A players.
"Women usually play much faster than men do," a starter told me, "and I'd rather try to push 200 women off the first tee than 50 men. Women make up their game before they get on the tee. They already know how many strokes they're giving and who gets what. That speeds up play a lot. The men get on the tee and then make their matches; who, how much and how many. All this while they should be driving. Meanwhile, the hole's opened up. One thing, though—around the first tee, women are louder than men. When you have 25 women talking all at once it sounds like 125. Women have more to talk about, I guess."
Golf, for instance.
"I have some of my longest shots on the putting green."... "My husband can't stand it when I three-putt; he'd rather see me shank."... "And then she said to me, 'Go ahead and shoot, you can't reach the green.' "... "That's not as bad as the one who said to me, I didn't know you sliced,' so I kept slicing and finally when I stopped and started hitting again she said to me on the 15th tee, I didn't mean to upset you before when I said you sliced.' Boom!"... "Did you hear that Helen had to cancel out of the tournament? She came home from the qualifying round and was fixing dinner when she dropped a frozen roast beef on her foot—broke her big toe...."
Or the post-mortems after team matches: "We were all even going into the ninth. I sank my putt for a 6 and she says to me, 'You had a 7.' I did not, I had a 6,' I tell her and told her every shot I had. 'You had a 7, she insists, so I drew myself up to my full height and said, 'I'm a Brownie leader. I've taken the Brownie oath. I do not lie. I had a 6.' "
The horrible part of it is that sometimes when you come home and tell your husband, "A terrible thing happened to me today on the golf course," he suddenly becomes anti-female and says, "What's wrong with you women? The men don't have all that trouble."
Then later he'll repent and listen to every lurid detail, with the admonition, "O.K., so next time you'll know better."
No matter how you slice it, and slice them we do, we women are in golf to stay. It's a mad wonderful world, and we love it.