"I survived my first year of marriage, and all I got was a souvenir golf ball."
By Julia Green
One’s first wedding anniversary is generally a time of romance. Of wining and dining, flowers and jewelry, declarations of love everlasting. Me, I spent my first anniversary in the company of Tiger Woods. (Not like that.)
My husband, Jeremey, and I made plans to travel to London to visit my family for our first anniversary and, in the hunt for some cool-wife points, I casually mentioned that the 150th British Open was in St. Andrews this year. (In hindsight, I may have been delirious, or at least driven near-crazy by five months of winter.)
Nevertheless, that’s how I found myself traipsing around the links at the “Home of Golf” in Scotland, draped in a bright yellow poncho and looking not entirely unlike a lost baby duckling. My husband, wearing a similarly colored poncho and a backpack underneath it, more closely resembled a hunchbacked Big Bird.
Over the past two years I’ve been learning how to play golf, by which I mean I’ve logged about six hours at the driving range and played the nine-hole course at Meadows twice with borrowed clubs. That being said, watching any of the majors on television is something I do when I’m in dire need of a good nap. Even the lure of the disgraced Tiger’s return wasn’t enough of a reason to make me want to watch this year’s Masters. This is all by way of saying that schlepping around a golf course for two days wasn’t exactly my idea of the most romantic first anniversary ever.
So you’ll imagine my surprise when it ended up being exactly that.
From our third-row bleacher seats between the first green and the second tee, I got to huddle beneath an umbrella and watch Jeremey’s eyes light up like a kid on Christmas when he saw the likes of Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson sink putts. As we walked the course, I caught a glimpse of why my husband is so good at his job, as he pointed out each hole and explained the best way to play it, and conversed with me as if I had any clue what he was going on about. I saw him get momentarily bitten by the celebrity bug as he strolled 10 feet away from Tiger Woods and stood just as close to watch Rory McIlroy absolutely crush a ball off the tee at the 618-yard 14th hole.
Ultimately, the first anniversary – like the first year of marriage – is about compromise, testing the waters, and setting the bar. It’s about figuring out how you’re going to survive spending the rest of your life together, what you can expect in years to come, and what will be expected of you. The first anniversary and the first year of marriage are also not unlike a round of golf: lots of hazards in unexpected places, lots of tilts and slopes you didn’t see as you approached, and lots (and I do mean lots) of bogeys that should have been birdies.
What I learned from my first anniversary? That I’ll always want to be next to the man I married, even if he’s speed-walking the entire length of a hilly golf course in a driving Scottish rain. That Rory McIlroy has one of the fastest (and most powerful) golf swings I’ve ever seen.
And that next year, that husband of mine had better be taking me to Maui.