Golf Out of Bounds Rule: A Defining Moment

Amidst the thunder of my heart, a defining moment awaited on the golf course—an encounter with the infamous “golf out of bounds rule.” As my lanky, athletic frame trembled with both fear and expectation, I found myself exposed to the intense chemical reaction within me. Like a small defenseless mammal under the watchful eye of an eagle in flight, I hesitated, questioning if this was the worst idea ever. The voice inside raged, tempting me to pack-up my bag and leave everything behind. In that critical moment, the golf out of bounds rule loomed large, presenting a challenge that would test my resilience and determination.

The clubhouse was a buzz.  The clamor of metal golf spikes excited the air.  The competition was the best the 1987 field of amateur female golfers had to offer.   Division one college athletes, Public Links winner, U.S. Open qualifiers.  Each represented everything I dreamed to be. 

Eight weeks earlier playing in my first tournament seemed like a good idea. The innocence that accompanied my adolescence made it seem like no big deal really.  Jake, the local golf pro told my parents It was something I needed to do, “Being tested will show her what she’s capable of …even better, what she’s made of.”  

Now I found myself standing on the first hole of one of San Francisco’s finest golf courses.   Three focused and stoned faced female golfers stood over my right shoulder.  Their caddies whispering to them as if solidifying their platoon’s battle plan.  My caddy, my father, smiled half convincingly at me.  His words piped in through a foggy haze.  There was still time to leave I thought but neither the cutting edge of telling my father we must go or going through with this great test offered me hope.  I was numb. 

The steel shaft Callaway driver miraculously made its way into my shaking hands.  I gasped for air, encouraged by the notion passing out might be my only way out now.  Time seemed to stop and the frenetic energy within me whirled and ravaged as I took the twelve steps to the imaginary line between the tee blocks.   With each step came a barrage of thoughts powerful enough to fill every page of a well attempted amateur novel …theme, plot, drama, main character dies from fear and so on.  There was no hero …or was there?

As I took my backswing, darkness fell over me only to be shaken semi-conscious by the witness inside watching a white dimpled ball scream past the boxed hedges that lined the left side of the fairway.  The ball lunged viciously to the asphalt road that flanked my hole.  Out of bounds.  Two stroke penalty.   I re-teed and took another hack.  Out of bounds. Two stroke penalty.  I lied six and I hadn’t even left the first tee block. 

My third shot whistled down the middle of the fairway but regardless my face showed my devastation as tears began to well.  Then came the moment.  A moment that would change me forever.  My father, half broken by heartbreak and a father’s love said, “So are you just going to give up?”  I glared at him and in that moment, I knew what I was made of. 

So that’s the moral of this short story, life has a way of testing us and I’ve learned being tested isn’t a bad thing. A muscle doesn’t grow if we don’t put pressure on it.  Being tested shows us what we’re made of …a strength, a resolve so strong it bears no defeat.  

P.S. I made a 10 on that first hole but I never gave up.  



Embark on a profound journey of resilience and spiritual growth with Dena M. Derenale-Betti, a mother who bravely navigated the depths of grief after the tragic accident that took the life of her 14-year-old daughter. Her incredible story unfolds as she transcends the pain and devastation of loss, transforming her understanding of life’s purpose. Through the intimate and powerful blogs on, you will discover the unyielding power that resides within us all. Dena’s roles as a mother of three daughters, wife, friend, community leader, and business owner reflect her dedication to building loving connections and contributing to the world around her. A graduate of the University of San Francisco, where she played on the school’s inaugural golf team, Dena is passionate about personal growth and believes that love can conquer all. As you immerse yourself in her captivating journey, remember to find your own strength and cherish the power that love holds in shaping our lives. Experience the transformative wisdom of her book, “You Are Stronger Than You Know, My Daughter Told Me So,” available on Amazon today!


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