The Old Man with Wooden Clubs
‘Twas a Saturday sunrise and three of us friends
Were standing upon the first tee.
We were crowned in the latest of golfing attire;
Imperially well-draped were we.
Titanium drivers and irons that gleamed
And golf balls—the top of the line.
Our shoes bore the emblems of recognized brands
And they glittered like gold from the shine.
When out of the clubhouse the manager came
And said with a courteous smile,
“I’ve added a fourth who will join you today,
Though he doesn’t come close to your style.”
His clothes were in season three decades ago,
And he looked like he came from the past.
A faded old cap and his faded old shoes,
Were to ours, a striking contrast.
But his most antiquated component was this,
The wooden-shaft clubs that he bore.
They were battered and dented and seemed to belong
In the back of a second-hand store.
While the three of us stepped to the tee in our turn,
And we drove our three balls down the way,
And they sailed and they landed a fair distance out,
The man chose the club he would play.
With care and respect, he lifted the stick,
And wisely considered the breeze.
He looked down the fairway and addressed the ball,
And his swing had a grace and an ease.
His ball started low and began to ascend,
And it rose like a kite in the air.
It went straight like an arrow and landed well past,
The other three balls that were there.
Our seconds shots landed somewhere near the green,
And the old man took out an old wedge.
When he swung it the ball seemed to search for the flag,
And it landed three feet from its edge.
He birdied and I looked at him while I thought,
That his luck was absurd and bizarre.
But we bogied hole two as we watched the old man,
Sink a twenty-foot put for a par.
And so it persisted for sixteen more holes;
He continued to give us our licks.
And he did it with skill and humility’s grace,
And with antique and battered old sticks.
At the end of the round, as the handshakes commenced,
I asked him for all of us three,
“How could you, an old man with outdated clubs,
Play superior and better than we?”
The stare of his eyes penetrated my soul,
And my heart sensed the wisdom of age.
He spoke and for me what I heard has become,
My yardstick, my compass, and gage.
“Equipment has little to do with the score;
It’s the person who’s holding the wood.
If he’s doing the best with the clubs that he has,
He’ll probably be pretty good.”
Then I realized how life resembles the game,
That like top of the line clubs and ball,
Some when they’re born have a silvery-spoon,
But then others have no spoons at all.
Possessions have little to do with success;
It’s the person who’s holding his share.
If he’s doing the best with whatever he’s got,
He’ll probably be pretty fair.