It was a week of getting advice, and a week of taking some of it.

Keep your head down. Bend your knees. Keep your arm straight. Relax. Eye on the ball.

Somewhere around New Year’s resolution time, I announced that I was going to learn how to golf this year. I looked up indoor lessons during the winter. Months passed and I didn’t call. When it warmed up, I researched golf pros in the area and let more time pass.

It takes a lot of motivation to start something when you know you’re going to be bad at it. That first step into low self-esteem is a big one.

Last week was it. I started at the bunny hill of golf courses – Red Hawk. A flood of golf balls rolled away from the clubs of a group of elementary-age students.

“What did you learn from your first putt?” a coach asked them.

“I guess no one here wants any candy,” he said, as they tried a second putt and balls rolled everywhere but the place they were aiming.

Red Hawk is a great place to learn. It was $20 per person for 9 holes and a cart. The weather was perfect, in the high-70s and no hint of the Quad-City wind.

“Keep your head down. I’ll watch the ball for you and tell you where it lands,” my friend said. It wasn’t necessary. The ball barely made it off the tee box.

I thought of all the things over the years that didn’t come easy but now are muscle memory. I have scars on my knees from learning to ride a bike. I think nothing of pointing my skis down the steepest slopes, but I remember the mustachioed fireman who taught skiing on weekends yelling at my 9-year-old self, “French fry, pizza pie,” right before I fell on my face.

When you’re deep in the middle of being really bad at something, it’s hard to remember there’s an end in sight.

On the sixth hole, as I stood, dejected, with grass on my driver and the ball still sitting on the tee, I thought back to a tennis instructor I had in Texas. I was getting frustrated with my backhand and he said, “You haven’t worked hard enough to get frustrated.”

By the ninth hole, we were the last people on the course. All the carts were put away and the sun was setting. I pulled out my pitching wedge and set up my shot ahead of my toe, just as I’d been told to do. I pulled the club back about a quarter of the way, just as I’d been told. Of course no one was watching but it all worked. It was a perfect shot onto the green.

“I did it!” I thought. “I can’t wait to try again tomorrow.”

The same thing happened the next night at the Duck Creek Golf Course driving range. I got a bucket of balls and every single shot was bad. I was ready to give up and then it happened again — 7 iron, last ball, the last person at the range as the sun went down. The shot was gorgeous.

“I did it!” I thought. “I can’t wait to try again tomorrow.”

On Thursday, I agreed to play in a foursome at the Quad-Cities Chamber golf outing. By the last of the 18 holes — hot, humid — I was a wrung-out dirty dishrag.

I know why golfers lose their tempers. This is no game for a human being. Eighteen holes is an eternity, and there is no end to the variety of humiliations.

I was sunburned, sweaty, covered in bug bites despite following someone’s advice to put Absorbine Jr. on my wrists to drive off the gnats. I smelled like my brother’s hockey bag.

I had wilted in every way a person can wilt.

“I’m never playing this stupid game again.”

Hole 18, I lined up the driver. Keep your head down, I said to myself. And there it was, a nice shot. A smile returned to my face — not a big one, but a sort of smile.

On the ride back to the clubhouse, I said to my friend, “I’m busy next week, but the week after that, let’s take a lesson.”

I’d like to keep playing. This is the worst game in the world.

Autumn Phillips is executive editor of the Quad-City Times and 563-383-2264;; on Twitter @autumnedit.