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Doctors and golf? The stereotype doesn’t hold

The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. It’s time for fitness in the great outdoors. That’s why we love the Treasure Valley, right? And for doctors, this means dusting off that putter … right?

Wrong! It’s true I am a doctor. I love golf, but only about as much as I love shopping for tires or cleaning the lint out of my dryer. With so many triathlons and other outdoor activities that actually burn calories and release endorphins, I can’t figure out the draw of getting a little white ball into a tiny cup. In fact the “activity” involved in golf has always confused me. The only time I personally break a sweat while golfing is when running from cigar smoke on the 19th hole.

I realize that the golf course is supposed to be prime “networking” territory for doctors. I suppose that if one has difficulty with conversation, there’s nothing like watching people wearing plaid pants yell at a ball to break the ice. However, I have found that the practice of medicine comes with some degree of agility regarding small talk. I personally have yet to be at a loss for words whether the conversation is golf, questionable fashion choices or what a patient coughed up this morning. And although my husband might suggest that I personally have never been at a loss for words, I’m pretty sure there are other doctors out there who do just fine without breaking out the saddle shoes and knickers.

I did, however give it a try. After various attempts at “relationship building” on the back nine, including golfing while gigantically pregnant, I have chosen to practice what I preach, and reduce my anxiety and stress. That means no golf and more yoga. I came to this treatment plan after running out of my golf shoes as I chased a wayward ball. My shoes actually got stuck in the mud, and I did a faceplant in a sand trap, limbs flailing, shoeless. If nothing else, I provided the Gang Green at the country club with plenty of amusement as they shouted, “Give her a mulligan!”

I can’t even say I looked good doing it, since the last time I checked, collared polo shirts on women went out in the ’80s. To quote the great Dave Barry, “Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it’s open to anybody who owns hideous clothing.” (Thank you, Tiger, for bringing a bit of style back into the game. We all liked you before you ran into that fire hydrant.)

If you’ve ever been to a golf tournament, you know that it involves very long, silent periods interrupted by roars of anger or joy, all directed at a tiny, white ball. And this is actual shouting at the ball, not at the golfers. So to be clear, there is mostly silence, punctuated by cheering and yelling, “Get in the hole!” Need I say more? Serious golfers can be observed examining the ball with the same degree of concentration and caution as an unattended brown package left alone at Newark airport. It’s the kind of silence that begs to be run through, yelling willy nilly at the top of your lungs, “Woo hoo … it’s golfin’ time!!!” I have promised my husband never to do this, on the golf course at least.

So it may be Wednesday, but this doctor is in – or at least is not on the fairways.

Lauren Chasin, M.D., is a board-certified family physician, and the medical director of ZoomCare at 510 Main St. in Boise, where she diagnoses and treats patients of all ages.

About Lauren Chasin