Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Baaacck

"Yeah, we tease him a lot 'cause we got him on the spot
Welcome Back."

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - DECEMBER 04:  Tiger Woods celebrates after his birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 4, 2011 in Thousand Oaks, California. Woods finished at 10 under par to beat Zach Johnson by one stroke.

This past Sunday, Tiger Woods showed more than a glimpse of his former glory. And regardless of what you think of him on a personal level, it was beautiful to behold. I, for one, couldn't be happier and I will proceed to tell you why in my characterstically irreverent and pithy style.

I don't know if you've noticed, but golf is a really boring sport to watch. Seriously, it's REALLY boring. It's slow, the announcer mumble in very soothing tones, and it takes about six hours between each golf shot where usually...nothing happens. Even the most avid golfer is loathe to actually watch golf.

Unless Tiger Woods is playing. Then it's on! He makes the game interesting. He even makes the game, dare I say, exciting?...Oh, I dare!

Here's the thing, everyone knows that Tiger Woods is an excellent golfer. But to the non-golfers out there, what you don't know is that the way he wins is always somewhat...how shall I say?...unconventional.

What I mean is, he gets himself into a lot of trouble and then uses a series of miracle shots to get himself out of trouble. When Tiger Woods has his "A game" going, he's one part surgeon, one part magician, one part scientist, eight parts golfer, one-quarter part mathmatician...you get the idea. One time, he hit a ball out of a sand trap, about 175 yards, over water, and landed the ball about 7 feet from the hole. Then he healed a man's broken arm by simply touching him**

**Just seeing if you're paying attention.

What you also may not know is that he is highly volatile on the golf course. When he makes a bad shot, it's gets really R-rated really fast. When he sinks a big putt for the lead, he gives the most demonstrative fist pump that always causes the country club crowd to tremble with fear.

Lastly, I will freely admit that it was this exuberance that truly piqued my interest in the game. I always had a odd fascination with golf. Very similar to a scab on your elbow that you just keep picking at it even though you weren't supposed to. But once Tiger Woods hit the scene, it took my interest to a whole new level.

Suddenly, golf could be fun. It was a game where you could flex your muscles and strut your stuff and pump your fist. At the same time, it would push you to your limits and show you what you were really made of. It was the ultimate stage and jam-packed with high drama. (And you know we actors love drama.)

So congratulations Tiger Woods to your first victory in over 2 years. May there be many more to come.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Importance of Having Swagger

"I'm the pinnacle, that means I reign supreme
And I'm notorious, I'll crush you like a jellybean
I'm bad."
-LL Cool J

Not surprisingly, I am a huge basketball fan. And when I was a wee little lad, I was always excited to watch the Los Angeles Lakers play. I especially idolized Magic Johnson.

Magic Johnson was not only an incredibly versatile and highly skilled basketball player, but he also managed to add a tremendous amount of excitment and flair to the game. He had a dazzling array of spin moves, behind-the-back passes, and fake-outs that often left a hapless defender completely bewildered.

But one of his patented moves that always stuck out in my mind was the infamous "No Look Pass." I don't know if he invented it, but he certainly claimed it as his own. I also remember doing my best to emulate this move at various opportunities on the basketball court. (Many times, without success and much to the chagrin of my teammates.)

While it does take a tremendous amount of skill to throw a basketball at a moving target without actually looking at the target, it also takes enormous "Cajones" to even think that you can pull it off.

Interestingly enough, I've found that a "No Look Pass," while potentially hazardous on a basketball court, is absolutely essential for a golf swing. Hear me out: It's fairly common knowledge that you are supposed to keep your head down during a golf swing. But many times, a golfer with lift his/her head in order to see where the ball is going. And that's bad.

However, it you step up to that golf ball with a little bit of attitude and swagger, you'll say to yourself, "I'm so good, I don't NEED to see where the ball is going. I KNOW where the ball is going."**

**Please note: Flashing gang signs while making the aformentioned statement is completely optional.

The moral is, you have to know where you're going and you have to trust that you can get there. You have to step up without fear. Otherwise, you lose your balls.

(See what I did there?)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Misery Loves Company (Revisited)

Princess Leia: Are you crazy? You're not actually going IN to an asteroid field.
Han Solo: They'd be crazy to follow us.
C-3PO: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field in approximately 3,720 to 1
Han Solo: Never tell me the odds.

Although the season has essentially wrapped up (I still hold out hope for the occasional Indian Summer or two before December) I promise you loyal fan(s) that I will keep the blogs coming fastly and furiously. You see, it turns out that there's a whole bunch of stuff that I left out over the past few months. Stuff that I just couldn't get to in the time that I've allotted myself. So rest assured that despite the off-season, I have PLENTY to say about this wonderful game that we all know and love.***

***Please note: Sarcasm may not translate in written form.

You know, Facebook is an interesting thing. Because of it, I've connected with people who I could not have possibly connected with. One of whom is a guy I went to high school with. Let's call him David...Rosenberger. (Anonymity is for wusses.) A little while ago, our schedules lined up and we were able to play a round of golf together.

I also need to mention that David had a shiny new Iphone. (Jealous and not eligible for an upgrade until February...But I'm not bitter.) And on this shiny new Iphone was a lovely app that allows you to track your golf score very easily.

Well it just so happened that around this time, I was going through yet another epiphany. (I think it was my 87th of the year.) This one was, "I don't have to worry about the score. I just need to focus on one shot at a time. I won't even look at my scorecard until the end of the round." And it was working out for me. Until...

After the 13th hole, David looks at his shiny new Iphone app and says, "If we stopped now, you'd be shooting par."

Translation: I had shot a 70 after 13 holes.

Uh-oh. Here comes the thought spiral. It went a little something like this, "So I'm at 70, that means that I have 5 holes to play and 25 shots to reach my goal. If I just score and average of 5 shots on each hole then I'll reach my goal easily."

Well, needless to say that didn't happen. And it was totally his fault. I'm mean clearly that was the day that I would just suddenly be awesome at golf. But because I was told the score, I was immediately condemned to eternal mediocrity.

But let's not dwell on David's betrayal. Let's focus on some positives. For instance, I actually had a nice time playing with him. Typically, I go by myself and am usually paired with a random playing partner. Sometimes it works out, most of the time it's someone who annoys me in some way.

But this time was nice. We were having a nice chat the entire time. We talked about golf...we talked about life. And I have to say that it made a difference. Not in my score of course, but in the general vibe and experience of being out there. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be less of a lone wolf and run with the pack once in a while.


Not that we were competing but I shot a 103 and he shot a 102. However, he may have taken a Mulligan or 2 or 7 sooooo....I'm just saying.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Winding Down

"Although we've come to the end of the road
Still I can't let go
It's so natural
You belong to me, I belong to you."
-Boyz II Men

It is autumn here in lovely New York City. And the despite the valiant efforts of global warming, it will soon turn colder. There are a couple of options: 1) Move to Florida and keep the saga going 2) Venture out into the sub-artic temperatures and keep the saga going or 3) Wrap it up. I don't think my wife would approve of the first option since she grew up in Florida and has made it quite clear that she doesn't want to return. The second option...well, that's not off the table. It's highly unlikely, but then again when you're a junkie a lot of things seemed unlikely before you ended up doing them. Option 3 is probably the safest, cheapest, and best bet.

It's been about 8 months since I started this blog and now that the season is wrapping up, I think this is a great time to reflect.

Many, many years ago I played a round of golf with a friend who I will refer to as Douglas Herman. (Nobody reads this blog, and if they do they damn sure don't know who he is.) Anyway, I was first starting out and just had absolutely no clue about what I was doing. But of course, I was still competitive and was trying to score a low round. But rather than use skill, I decided to use a highly effective strategy known as cheating. Doug finally said to me, "If you cheat, how will you know if you're getting any better?"

I never forgave him for that.

It has occurred to me that during this whole masochistic journey, part of the pain and been caused by the idea of a number. That if I reached a certain number that I would somehow be deemed worthy to grace the hallowed grounds of the golf course.

But I have gotten better over the years and over these past few months. I've learned a lot and my confidence level is much higher. I mean, when I really think about how bad I was 10 years ago it kinda makes me cringe. In fact, I was just playing yesterday and I hit some really excellent shots that I wouldn't have even considered years ago. And that is something to be proud of.

So why hasn't my score improved over the past few months? Well, it's because a jerk-faced, weasel-boy told me many years ago that it wasn't "right" to cheat. That by cheating I would be robbing myself of a true victory and the feeling of real accomplishment. So what's really happening is that because I'm not cheating, my recent scores are a more accurate reflection of where I really am.

So, when I inevitably and truly break 95 and 90 and 85, I will be able to confidently, proudly and sincerely tell the Golf Gods to go suck it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Burn in Hell You Rotten Trees

"This parrot is no more. He has ceased to be. He's expired and gone to meet his maker. He's a stiff. Bereft of life. He rests in peace....His metabolic processes are now history. He's off the twig. He's kicked the bucket. He's shuffled off his mortal coil...This is an ex-parrot."
-Monty Python

I'd like to think that I have respect for the environment. I certainly enjoy all of the beauty that nature has to offer. The green grass, a babbling brook, and the fall foliage are all wonderful phenomenons that should be honored and cherished by everyone.

But when a damned tree is getting in the way of my golf game, I say cut the sucker down!

A little while ago, New York experienced a hurricane. (More of an windy rain storm but still very scary.) And as a result of this tempest, a couple of trees fell victim to its awesome might. Most specifically, trees on the 3rd, 7th, and 14th holes.

I honestly don't remember the tree on the 3rd hole. I don't recall it ever being in my way. But hey, one less tree for me to worry about. Buh-Bye.

The tree on the 7th didn't actually fall down but rather one of the limbs did. It was a massive tree limb that I always seemed to find a way to hit my ball into. I will not mourn for it.

But the tree on the 14th hole was the doozy. This is the tree whose grave I will be dancing on. This was the tree that has caused nothing but problems since the golf course was created. It was ugly and mean. It was cruel and harsh. It was stingy and unforgiving. And now it's gone.

First off, it was gigantic. I mean GIGANTIC. Second, and more importantly, it was practically planted in the middle of the fairway. (Which, for you non-golfers, is a really fucked up place to put a tree.) You could literally hit an amazing shot that could end up out of bounds because of that tree. And even if you hit a good tee shot that didn't hit the tree, your second shot had to magically go around the tree. (Seriously, you had to actually invoke the power of magic. They sold eye of newt in the Pro Shop specifically for that purpose.)

To conclude, I do not miss that tree and I am not sad to see it go. Its death has made the 14th hole much, much, much, much, much easier to play.

The only downside is that I now have to come up with a new excuse for why I play that hole so poorly.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

R.I.P. Lucky Golf Ball

"He was my friend. Faithful and just to me. But Brutus says he was ambitious. And Brutus is an honorable man."
-Mark Antony, Julius Caeser

My apologies for slacking on the blog posts. Two weeks ago was my first wedding anniversary. I'm sure you can all understand taking that week off from blogging.

Last week, I was simply too busy playing Fruit Ninja. That game is sick.

OK, moving on.

So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make a MASSIVE attitude change to my golf game. As you may recall, I have given up on the idea of using the driver (Re: The Driver is Not My Friend.) In brief, a big club plus a hard swing = ball go "Bye Bye." I decided to take this approach to the next level by slowing my swing down even further. Down to a 90 year old man pace. And when you're 6'7" tall, about 225 pounds, and swinging the club that slowly, your manhood will be questioned.

But I found my inner peace and stuck to the game plan for the entire round. The bad news was, my score didn't really improve. The good news was, I didn't lose a single golf ball.

Hooray accomplishments!

But as you can tell by the title of the blog post, it was a short-lived celebration.

The following week, I lost that lucky golf ball on the 13th hole. But here's the kicker: My thought right before I lost that ball was, "I can't believe I haven't lost this golf ball. If I keep this up, I will do really well today."

The real question is, WHY DO I SAY OR THINK ANYTHING, EVER?

Of course, I immediately dumped that tee shot into the pond. I then went on to the 14th hole and dumped THAT tee shot somewhere in the Merry Old Land of Oz.

But rather than beat myself up any further, let's take a moment to reflect on the good times that we had together. It was a Pinnacle Gold. I actually found it on the golf course a couple of weeks before. Lost and alone. Abandoned by another golfer who was probably as bad as I am. He was a good friend and he will be missed.

Now I know why Tom Hanks was so upset about that volleyball in Castaway.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Meltdown Hole

They say golf is like life, but don't believe them. Golf is more complicated than that.
~Gardner Dickinson

Although it has never been reflected in my score, I have a very specific strategy for approaching the golf course and even being successful on it. However, I've always been thwarted time and time again. Now, the obvious reason is poor play and I'm not really in a position to argue the contrary. However, I think it does get slightly more involved than that.

You see, the Van Cortlandt golf course is a Par 70 course, i.e, if you're a really good golfer, you will complete the course in 70 shots. My goal has always been to finish in under 95 shots. (Which I did once, miraculously, a long long time ago.)

Now, my plan has always been that if I shot a bogey (1 over par) on each hole, I would score an 88. (18 holes, 1 over at each hole, 70 + 18 = 88...Still with me?) Well, that's not going to happen any time soon. However, it does give me a 7 shot "cushion" to allow me to reach my goal even if I make a few additional mistakes.

Believe it or not, when I typically play a round of golf, I'm able to maintain this scoring average for a majority of the holes. Naturally, I make a couple of mistakes here and there but I also actually make some very impressive shots. Things tend to go on fairly nicely. Not great, but nicely.

But then...there is the dreaded "MELTDOWN HOLE!!!!" It is inevitable. Sometimes it happens early. Sometimes it happens late. Many times, it happens more that once. But it's going to happen. Oh, believe me, it's going to happen.

If you haven't guessed by now, the Meltdown Hole is the hole on the golf course where everything turns to...how shall I say?...shit. For some reason, whatever I was doing up to that point is just IMPOSSIBLE to recreate. I'll keep hitting the ball left, or right, or can't get the ball in the air. No matter what the issue of the day is, it will creep up for 1 (or 2) hole(s) and ruin any hopes I had of reaching my goal.

Sucks right?

But then again, there's always that lesson that I need to take away from those moments. Golf is a game of adjustments. If something's not working, you have to address it and fix it immediately. One bad shot can't mean the end of the world. Otherwise, I get all upset, start cursing and threatening people, and (worst of all) continue to hit even worse shots.

Let go of past mistakes and deal with the moment. Even if that past mistake was 5 minutes ago.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blessing in Disguise?


The weather has been a little iffy in New York the past few days. If it hasn't rained, there was the threat of rain. So this week I decided to use this time to head back to the old driving range to try and work out some of the issues that have crept up.

If you have not done so already, please click on the link above as it will succinctly explain my feelings on the subject.

I'll wait.

It occurred to me that once the season started, I had not been to the driving range once. Not once. And I, like my friend Mr. Iverson, had developed somewhat of a particular disgust for the idea of "Practice." I mean it's supposed to be about the game, right? What you do on the course. What you do on the field of battle. That's the only place it matters. That's the way it's supposed to be.

Well, that's a load of crap. You can't just turn it on and off. You have to prepare. You can't simply correct your problems by thinking it through. You have to take the action of getting out there and working it out. It's just that simple.

Upon my return to the driving range, I was reminded of the best part of being on there. It is a place to fail without any negative consequences whatsoever. And that is beautiful. I hit a bad shot, so what. Tee up another ball, make an adjustment and hit another one. No big deal. There are no trees, no water hazards, no sand traps, no annoying playing partners, and most importantly, no score. It's just you, a couple hundred golf balls, and a dream.

I won't go into the details of my day at the range. Suffice it to say that it was a very good idea to go. I hit some great shots and some not-so-great shots. But I will return to that golf course with a little more confidence in my abilities.

Which will, undoubtedly, be completely shattered by the 3rd hole.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shut the (bleep) up! (Revisited)

The first time I wrote an entry on this phenomenon, these types of violations almost immediately ceased to be an issue. I don't know what it was. Maybe word got out how much I hate receiving unsolicited golf lessons. But recently, there have been a couple of people that didn't get the memo. And it has really pissed me off. So here's yet another rant on how people need to keep their pie-holes shut when I'm trying to play golf. (Albeit terribly).

A week ago, there was this guy who kept telling me that I had a "hitch" in my swing. He wasn't necessarily trying to give a lesson or tell me how to correct it, he just kept saying that it was happening. So I let it slide (Big Mistake). On the last 2 holes, he proceeded to stand in front of me to see if I was doing it. What a fucking asshole.

I would also like to point out that this guy had the ugliest swing that I had the misfortune of witnessing in my entire life. Sadly, he still scored better than me but not by much.

In retrospect, I realized that in failing to address that issue in the moment, I was announcing to the world that it was okay to just say whatever the fuck you wanted to say to me whenever and however the fuck you wanted to say it.

Yesterday was the biggest doozy of them all. I mean this guy that I was playing with was a Grade A douchebag. He seemed like a nice enough guy at first. In fact, if he had just kept his advice to himself, I would have totally enjoyed playing with him. But that's a big motherfucking if.

It started out fine. He was an excellent golfer and for the most part he kept to himself. Then at the 3rd hole after I missed Par putt, he said, "You're going too far back on your backswing."

Uh oh.

Once again, I let it slide. In life, like in golf, I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Maybe one day I'll get it right.

Then on the 7th hole is when it got obnoxious. I went to putt and he's standing in front of me and watching to "see what I'm doing" so that he can comment on it. As I was standing next to the ball, I was making a couple of practice swings with my right hand only. This is a nice way to get a feel for the speed of the putt (Please stay awake). So then Asshole says, "Let me see you put your left hand on the club." Instead of telling him to go fuck himself, I deliberately walked away from the putt as if to read the line.

Personally, I thought that was a very clear gesture of passive-aggressive behavior. That I was saying politely, yet firmly, "I'm not listening to you." But he just stood there and waited to give me his unsolicited opinion.

I then said to him, "I take it you're a golf pro." He replied, "No, but I like to pretend to be." We all had a nice little laugh and he seemed to keep his opinions to himself after that.

Side note: I would also like to point out that on the back 9, this excellent golfer's game began to completely unravel. I wasn't happy about it, I'm just pointing it out...Okay, I was a little happy about it.

But then came the 18th hole. I hit a bad shot off the tee. Guess what? It's golf. That tends to happen. Douchebag says to me, "You quit on it."

Okay, it's the 18th hole. The last hole of the day. He had been okay up to this point so I'm going to let this slide and just ignore it.

This fucking asshole then says, "Do you know what I mean when I say you quit on it?"

Who THE FUCK did this FUCKING guy THINK he was to FUCKING talk to me in that FUCKING condescending and FUCKING obnoxious tone?! All of a sudden I'm supposed to be his 5 year-old grandson who doesn't know what words mean?! I would also like to point out that he had just hit HIS tee shot on the 15th fairway. And since we were on the 18th hole, you can guess that that's not where he was aiming. I truly wanted to strangle this man at this point.

However, instead of an Assault and Battery charge, I responded with a very loud and abrupt outburst, "I GAVE UP ON THIS GAME A LONG TIME AGO!" I was trying to be funny but I was just clearly outraged...at him...and he knew it. His response, "I was just trying to...I'm sorry."

At the end of the round, we parted company with a civil handshake.

So now I've decided that I will no longer rant on how other people need to shut the fuck up about my game. I cannot control what other people do. I can only control myself and my actions. However, if this situation happens again, I will not be cordial about it. I will not be passive-aggressive about it. In fact, I will be downright rude, make the other person incredibly uncomfortable, and possible threaten him with physical violence. The fact of the matter is that people like that simply don't get it. They have no interest in making sure that anyone else is comfortable. They are inconsiderate. And you have to be clear right up front. Otherwise, you will be upset for the rest of the day and ultimately have an outburst anyway. And then YOU end up looking like the asshole.

And seriously, isn't this game hard enough? Doesn't the game itself cause enough stress?

If I don't protect my own peace of mind, no one will.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Driver is Not My Friend

"That's a long way, the wrong way."
-Random playing partner

The Driver. The Big Dog. Let the Big Dog Bite. It is the most powerful club in the bag. Professional golfers can use the driver to hit the ball well over 300 yards. Even your average golfer, when used properly, can hit the ball pretty gosh darn far.

I have, on many occasions, been lured by this vile temptress and have attempted to wield her mighty power only to have her shun my affections. In fact, I have had so little success with this club that I have pretty much given up on it entirely. I've come to the conclusion that I am not worthy to taste the sweet fruits that she is capable of bearing.

Instead, I choose to use the long irons (4-iron, 5-iron) off the tee. I've found (with the exception of today's round for some god-awful reason) that I'm capable of the controlling the tee shots much better with the irons than with the driver. The trade off (there's always a tradeoff) is that it doesn't allow you to hit the ball nearly as far.

And I'm cool with that. As long as the ball stays in bounds and I can find it, I'm happy.

However, there is another, somewhat disturbing, tradeoff that you may not have considered. It turns out that my playing partners are a bit judgmental about my refusal to use the driver. The reactions range from complete shock, mild snickering, and on some occasions, a flat out challenge of my manhood.

I, on the other hand, am shocked that more people don't swallow their pride and use the driver significantly less. Sure, if you're confident with that club I say go for it. More power to you. But to the majority of the hackers out there, I put this challenge to you: Isn't it much better to actually find the golf ball after you've hit it? Isn't it better to see the ball go in the general direction of where you were aiming?

Personally, I have no interest in using my big giant club to hit the ball 250 yards...OUT OF BOUNDS. In other words, A long way, the wrong way.

The moral of today's post is that we have to do what we are comfortable with. We have to play within ourselves and we can't let others dictate what we're "supposed" to do. We do what works for us and what we are comfortable with. It's the best way to survive and even, dare I say, succeed.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Optimistic Golfer?!

"I always like to see a person stand up to a golf ball as though he were perfectly at home in its presence."
- Bobby Jones

I've come to the conclusion that perhaps the tone of this blog has become a bit too cynical. (Maybe the fact that the word "Masochistic" is in title was my first clue.) Either way, I've decided to take a different approach for this week's entry. Rather than dwell on my numerous mistakes and frustrations with the game of golf, I will instead share a nice little victory I had on the course last week.

The day started out horribly. (Okay, that's an ominous beginning but it will turn positive I swear.) After a series of very poor golf shots, I proceeded to unleash a deluge of F-bombs. And I mean deluge. I had made the decision then and there that I would no longer play golf. I had given up. I was going to finish my round and hang it up for good.

Then a miracle happened. In my euphoric haze of indifference, I managed to play much better. Most notably was on the Par 4 6th hole. A short hole that's about 300 yards or so with a tiny little lake in front of the tee. I hit a 5-iron off the tee and it landed smack dab in the middle of the fairway. However, I was unfazed because I wasn't planning to play golf anymore.

I then went on to hit my second shot. A lob wedge from about 75 yards out. Again, since I no longer cared, I ended up hitting an incredible shot that landed about 12 feet from the hole. I'll admit that at this point, I was more than a little enthusiastic. (I mean, even though I didn't really care anymore.) I did scream the word, "Finally,"as a result of reaching the green in 2 shots on that hole for the first time all season.

When I saw how close my shot was, I conceded that a birdie would be nice but I didn't need a birdie to feel good. I'd be very happy with a par. (Yeah, right)

I took my time, studied the green from every conceivable angle, and calmly sank my 12-foot birdie putt. (There may have been a fist-pumping motion at this point on my part.)

Needless to say, that was not my last round of golf. Perhaps the golf gods threw me a bone for fear of losing one of their loyal and devoted worshippers. Or maybe I'm just getting better. Whatever the case may be, perhaps I will see better results from now on if I allow myself to celebrate the victories just as much as I flagellate myself for all of the mistakes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Glutton For Punishment

Golf is assuredly a mystifying game. It would seem that if a person has hit a golf ball correctly a thousand times, he should be able to duplicate the performance at will. But such is certainly not the case.
- Bobby Jones

Now that things have settled down a bit on the acting front, I've been able to dedicate more time to my futile efforts on the golf course. This week's posting will reaffirm the age-old adage, "There's more than one way to skin a cat."

Last Monday, I headed out to the course with fairly low expectations. I hadn't played in a while and I was bound to be rusty. At the same time, screw that. I've dedicated a lot of time, energy, and money, to getting this thing right so I should have seen some improvement, right?

Well, as a matter of fact I did. There was quite a bit of improvement on the long and middle game. However, the short game left a little something to be desired. (i.e. It sucked donkey anus). I just couldn't get it together and I couldn't figure out why. I spent so much time (and money, don't forget money) on working on my chipping and had nothing to show for it. And then the putting was just out of whack. But that was probably attributed to the fact that I had very difficult putts after those horrible chip shots.

But then a miracle! Right at the final hole I realized the error of my ways. I was gripping the club a little off. Not by much, but enough to throw everything else out of whack. It took 18 holes but I finally nailed it.

Final Score: 100

It then occurred to me that if I had solved the riddle of the chip shot sooner, I would have reached my goal of breaking 90 very easily. Very, very easily. I had no choice but to venture out again the next day.

Tuesday was a beautiful day for golf. The sun was shining and I was feeling very confident. Again, I got off to a pretty good start. I made mistakes. But I accepted that mistakes were going to happen and I didn't allow those mistakes to create more mistakes. Long game was good. Middle game was okay. Had I hit the ball just a little bit better, mediocre shots would have been great shots. But I couldn't complain.

Short game was solid. In fact, I even chipped in from the rough to save par on 9.

Oh, this was going to be my day. This was DEFINITELY going to be my day. There was absolutely NOTHING that could have possibly gone wrong at this point. Honestly, that last few holes were really just a formality. Victory was in my grasp.

Except for the dreaded 14th hole. God, I hate that hole. And it hates me too, I just know it. Suffice it to say, I made a mess of that hole. Then went on to make a mess out of the 15th hole. Then the 17th hole. And finally, a hot flaming ball of mess on the 18th hole. The best way to sum up what went wrong was that the mistakes I made on those holes were not major mistakes, they were just the worst possible mistakes to make on those particular holes. It was as if someone had secretly stuck an "out of bounds magnet" on to all of my golf balls. (Investigation pending)

Final score: 100. Like I said, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Oh well, I guess we are who we are and it's not very easy to change that. But I continue to hold out hope. I know that I have the knowledge and the skill to perform each individual shot at a decent level of competency. One day (hopefully soon) I will be able to put them all together for one good round of golf.

Okay maybe a decent round of golf.

Average round?

Non-Soul Smothering.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back in the Saddle

"It is nevertheless a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul. "
- Bobby Jones

As my shows enter their final performances, I was finally able to make time to head out to the golf course again. And for a while, it actually felt pretty good to be out there again. But things hit a slight snag (More on that later). However, when it was all said and done, I felt that I was in decent place to build from.

The main thing to keep in mind is that when you take so much time off, and you don't have the opportunity to warm up (which is a flaw about Van Cortlandt that I've mentioned in the past) you are allowed (or should be allowed anyway) to take certain liberties in order to compensate for the rather unfair disadvantages that the situation presents to you. To put it bluntly, you cheat.

The first shot I hit, dribbled pathetically about 75 yards in front of the tee. The starter and my playing partner encouraged me to hit another one. It was a pretty slow day and that was a pretty bad shot. At first I decided against it, but since my partner hit a second one, I decided to as well. The second one was significantly better.

I referred to the first shot as a "Breakfast Ball." This is basically an officially unofficial rule that allows you to ignore your first shot and have a "Do-Over." Because we're all 10-year-old kids for some reason when we play golf.

The rest of the day actually went pretty well and I was on pace to reach my goal. However, I realized that when you take that much time off, physical and mental fatigue becomes a very big factor and I pretty much hit the wall at the 16th hole (Oh, so close).

I won't bore you with the details but suffice it so say, it is not customary, nor are you "allowed" at any point to pick up the golf ball with your hand and throw it into play. No matter how deep in the woods your golf ball lands. At the very least you should be assessed a penalty stroke.

So, that's where I am now. Hopefully the weather will clear up and I'll be able to head out again this week.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Misery Loves Company

My apologies to my faithful reader(s) for not posting last week. I have been so incredibly busy with my upcoming plays that I did not have time to post.

Click here for details by the way.

I really don't have time this week either but I didn't want you to think that I had given up. Rest assured, as soon as my schedule frees up I will be right back at it. Flogging myself as usual.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to play a round of Pitch and Putt golf with my nephew. A strapping young lad of sixteen years. Now I know what you're thinking. "He has his whole life ahead of him. Why are you dragging this poor young man into this nightmarish game?"

The answer is, I am an incredibly selfish human being. For one thing, as you may recall, Pitch and Putt golf is significantly easier and therefore I was able to just kick his ass all over the course. Which is a huge respite from getting my ass kicked by the golf course. For, while I still sucked, I was way better than he was.

Second, it gave me the opportunity to be one of those know-it-alls that I despise. Although in my defense, he would ask me for tips which I was more than happy to provide him with. For you see, even though I don't know much, I definitely know more than he does. (Ego boost.)

Finally, I just enjoyed spending time with him. Yeah, that's right. I said it. He's a cool kid and I actually enjoy his company. I mean it's always a little tricky having one on one conversations with any teenager (no matter how mature and cool they are) but it was really nice to able to bond over a round of mutual suffering.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

"Lay off for three weeks, and then quit for good."

This week I actually did nothing as far as golf was concerned.

Absolutely nothing.

I didn't tackle the infamous Van Corlandt, I didn't go to the driving range, I didn't even have a brief tune up at the Pitch and Putt. No, this week I chose to take a little break from the obsessive-compulsive behavior of chasing an ecstasy-filled high that the golf game has so stingily provided.

And while I can't say that I've kicked the habit, I can say that it has been a nice little break. It's been nice to have a week that doesn't involve being so driven to accomplish such an elusive goal. It's actually been nice focusing on a couple of other things.

For instance, I've just started rehearsals for 2 plays in rep: Othello and Much Ado About Nothing. I will be playing Othello and Benedick. Click here for details.

But other than shamelessly promoting my acting career, I've enjoyed a fairly relaxed attitude that I hope I can bring to the golf course next week. I will then conquer that golf course and make it run home crying to its mommy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Now That's More Like It?

"It's not so much the mistakes, it's when you make them."

On my last round of golf, I set out with the goal of breaking 90.

In my heart, I had the realistic and achievable goal of breaking 95.

I shot a 100.

Now I should be happy about this, right? Wrong. I'm never happy. (I am a golfer after all.) But this particular round was almost more painful than shooting a 109 a few weeks ago. At least when I shot a horrible score, I knew there was no chance whatsoever of reaching my goal. But being so close, and yet so far away, just hurts my soul.

For one thing, I literally had 7 putts that just missed by inches. INCHES. That alone would have gotten me to my goal.

But the overall theme of the day was summed up in the aforementioned quote. As I finished my round, I ran into the course's golf pro. A very nice man who I've actually played with once. He asked me how it went and I said, "It's not so much the mistakes, it's when you make them." Meaning that hitting the ball short isn't the problem, it's hitting the ball short when there's a water hazard in front of you. Hitting to the right isn't bad unless there's a cluster of trees where you hit it. And THOSE mistakes, sadly, were the ones that kept me from my precious goal.

The golf pro acknowledged the brilliance and wisdom of my insight.

But the good news is that I seem to be at the point where I finished last season scoring wise. Maybe there's a chance that I could actually be improving.


Monday, June 27, 2011

This ass-kicking brought to you courtesy of Van Cortlandt

"If I had cleared the trees and drove the green, it would’ve been a great shot."

Well, it happened again. Another atrocious round of golf suffered at the hands of my old nemesis, Van Cortlandt. Once again, it's not so much that I've played badly, it's the variety of ways in which I played badly that frustrated me.

The theme of last week seemed to be a complete and total inability to put the ball in play off of the tee. God I really hate that. I mean really. Just put the ball in play. I swear, if there was a hazard or an out of bounds area, I was guaranteed to hit it. If out of bounds was to the left, I would aim right and hit it left. If it was to the right, you bet your life that's where it went. Water hazard: Guess what...Wet ball. Sand: Get your beach towels and flip flops out because that's where we're going kids. Overall, very painful.

But in true masochistic fashion, I'm planning to go out there again today. You see, my thinking is that I'm simply not going out there enough. THAT'S why I haven't conquered it yet.

Did I mention I was demented?

Monday, June 20, 2011


Photo: U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy

Before you get excited, the title of this week's blog does not refer to my redemption. Alas, I have yet to be so fortunate. I am, however, referring to the redemption of the young, talented golfer known as Rory McIlroy.

As you may recall, Mr. McIlroy did not fair so well at The Masters earlier this year. He had a lead going into the final round then had a bit of a meltdown. Well, The U.S. Open, the second major championship of the year, has come and gone and Rory McIlroy has emerged victorious. And not only did he win, but he won in record-setting fashion.

Once again, for better or for worse, I've been inspired by this young man's resilience. Perhaps I too, can find a way to overcome my past shortfalls. That with dedication, hard-work, and a positive attitude, I can actually achieve the level of success that I have, heretofore, only dreamed of.

And if that could happen sooner rather than later, that would be great. Thanks.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tales of Mosholu

"It's easy to see golf not as a game at all but as some whey-faced, nineteenth-century Presbyterian minister's fever dream of exorcism achieved through ritual and self-mortification. "
~Bruce McCall

Gather round kiddies and I'll tell you the story of old Mosholu. You see Mosholu is a golf course in the Bronx. It has 9 holes and some of the most narrow fairways that a man ever did see. It was once a mightier and longer golf course but the city decided to build a reservoir smack dab in the middle of it. But thanks to some very clever and determined folks, the course was redesigned and the people of the town could once again enjoy Mosholu's bounteous rewards.

That said, I have quite a love/hate relationship with this course. Love: 9 holes means done faster and thus agony is not nearly as prolonged. Hate: Narrow fairways mean REALLY hard golf shots. So I made my way up there last week and had some interesting experiences.

I won't go into a shot for shot recap, I will simply say that I did a lot of different things poorly as opposed to just one thing poorly. However, I did do a couple of things well. For instance, on the final hole I managed to hit my ball out of the sand trap (on the first try, mind you) and land it about 15 ft from the hole. I then sank that subsequent putt for a bogey. (How ya like me now?)

Unfortunately, a few really good shots never seem to make up for the few really bad shots. You'd think they'd just even out but they don't.

But I will say that I have been reminded that Mosholu is a great place to practice your game. They have a small driving range as well as a practice green and a chipping green. So I will probably go there a few more times before I tackle the beast that is Van Cortlandt. (Cue scary music.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pitch and Putt (The Remix)

"If profanity had an influence on the flight of the ball, the game of golf would be played far better than it is. "
~Horace G. Hutchinson

I seriously have to consider just keeping any and all future golf excursions to the Pitch and Putt style golf courses. At the very least, it doesn't wreak havoc on my self-esteem. Don't get me wrong, it definitely has it's share of rage-inducing moments. But they are a little bit fewer and farther between than on the full course.

Here's an example of one. I was on the 10th hole. It was about 40 yards to the green. I hit a beautiful wedge shot that landed about 6 inches from the cup. Practically a gimme. Notice I said, "Practically." I blew the freaking putt!! Lipped out. I actually think the resulting par putt was longer. Golf Gods: 1,285. Me: 8

That aside, I think my favorite aspect of the whole pitch and putt course is that the chances of losing a golf ball are reduced DRAMATICALLY. When the longest hole is 80 yards, losing a ball is pretty much impossible. (Knock wood.) Not to mention that you never really have to swing that hard. And the harder you swing, the farther the ball goes...out of bounds.

With the money I'm saving on having to buy golf balls, the pitch and putt is practically paying for itself.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Really Shouldn't Tell You This

"My swing is so bad I look like a caveman killing his lunch."
-Lee Trevino

As if this sport is not difficult enough. As if trying to figure out all of the complex body functions that need to perfectly harmonize does not require enough of an effort. As if not having the privilege, opportunity, or desire to dedicate every waking moment of my life to practicing is not a big enough of an obstacle. I have a very unique set of circumstances that make it even more challenging for me to practice my swing.

It's like this. I like to go to the Chelsea Piers driving range. It's a very lovely (and very expensive) driving range located on the west side of Manhattan. What can I say? I am a sucker for automated golf balls teeing up to the perfect height as well has covered stalls that allow anyone to practice in all kinds of weather conditions.

But this is not a commercial. In fact, quite the opposite. You see, as I've mentioned once or twice, I am incredibly tall. And for some reason, the hitting stalls on the ground floor have this long strip of PVC pipe that runs along the top of each of them. For a normal person of normal height, it's not an issue. But for me, when I get a long club in my hand, I end up actually hitting the pipe at the top of my swing. And on a couple of occasions have totally busted them. I think they're for drainage or something because one time after I broke one, a bunch of water was dumped on my head. (Nasty.)

So now every time I go there I have to either make sure I use the stalls on the second floor, or only practice with short clubs. Which does not help in the development of my overall game.

Please don't tell anyone. This is between us. The last thing I need is a bill from Chelsea Piers.

Monday, May 23, 2011

In Retrospect, It's Not Really My Fault

"Golf is not a game, it's bondage. It was obviously devised by a man torn with
guilt,eager to atone for his sins."
Jim Murray

The incessant downpour that has plagued New York over the past week and a half has given me time to reflect on my first round of golf of the season. And after careful consideration, I've come to the conclusion that I'm awesome and that it's the golf course that sucks.

Allow me to explain. I almost always play at Van Cortlandt golf course located in the Bronx. This is mainly because I don't have a car and it's the closest course to my place that I can get to via public transportation. Actually, it's a lovely course in general. Here's a little snapshot of the 12th hole:

But the fatal flaw with this course is that there is no practice area. There's no driving range. There's no practice green. Actually, they recently installed a putting green right next to the 1st tee but it seems like you're never allowed to use it. It does look pretty though.

My point being, I think it's only natural that I'm going to get off to a difficult start on that course if I have absolutely no way to warm up. I'm mean it's a hard enough game as it is. Can't you cut me a break and give me a chance to work out the crappy shots before I start my round? (OK, some of my crappy shots.)

It's only fair.

Monday, May 16, 2011

So...What did we learn from that?

"Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle."

You've all read my last blog post (The Approach), and now you're all bursting with anticipation. You're dying to know how my first round of the season went. Well my friends, it was not pretty. I fell well short of my goal of breaking 90. And as much as I'd love to give you a shot for shot retelling of the traumatic events, I will instead provide you with the major moments.

I'm always nervous on the first shot of the first hole of the season. Everyone's watching and I'm terrified that I'll hit a horrendous golf shot. Not only did I hit 1 horrendous golf shot, I actually hit 2 horrendous golf shots back-to-back. Dumped the first one out of bounds into the trees then dumped the second one even further out of bounds into the trees. A far cry from what I had been doing the day before on the practice range.

Eventually, I was able to improve from God-awful to below average. There were even a couple of semi-decent shots in there. Coupled of course with the, "I can't believe I just did that," shots.

But then a very interesting thing happened at the 15th hole. At this point, it was obvious that I wasn't going to reach my goal. Not even close to it. So I mentally gave up and ceased to care about what would happen. And you know what? I started to swing the club better. I started to hit better shots more consistently. I started to play like I had practiced.

So I guess the lesson is, you can practice and practice and practice all you want, but eventually, when you get out there, you've got to let go and trust it.

Final score: 109 (that's bad even for me)

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Approach

If I hit it right, it's a slice. If I hit it left, it's a hook. If I hit it straight, it's a miracle."

If all goes well, and the weather behaves, tomorrow I will play my first round of golf of the season. I went to the driving range today to prepare for it and it felt pretty good. Using my confidence building strategy (see posting: The Mental Game) I shot a 95 on the first "round" and an 85 on the second. Both excellent scores that I would kill for on the real golf course. (Literally. I would actually kill another human being if I could score an 85 tomorrow.)

However, as the big day approaches I find that there is only one tiny little problem: I seem to be consumed with dread and terror about playing. And it really doesn't make any sense. Maybe I'll go out tomorrow and stink up the place. (Like that hasn't happened before.) As an actor, I've performed in front of hundreds of people on numerous occasions so going out and playing golf with a couple of strangers shouldn't be that difficult, right?

(Please note: the preceding sentence was not a shameless attempt at self-promotion for my acting talents. However, the next sentence definitely is.)

Check out my short film online. It's only three and a half minutes.

Click here

I digress.

The biggest issue that scares me is that after all the practicing, all the drills, and all of the positive self-talk that I've given myself, I will still be as shitty as I always have been. Please Golf Gods, let me show a modicum of improvement and I won't ask for anything else until the next round.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Where Have You Been All My Life?

"I was three over. One over a house, one over a patio, and one over a swimming pool."
~ George Brett

There more I get involved with this wretched sport, the more I learn things that I should have learned many years ago. It really is a shame that I've only recently stumbled across this wonderful concept known as the Pitch and Putt. Having finally experienced my first round of Pitch and Putt golf, I can truly say that it has opened my eyes. Perhaps even changed my life for the better.

For those of you who don't know about golf and only read this blog to laugh at my pain, allow me to explain. A Pitch and Putt golf course is an 18 hole golf course but the length of the course is significantly shorter. The longest distance from the tee box to the putting green on any hole is about 80 yards. On a normal golf course, a hole can be as long as 500 yards or more. (That's just crazy.)

I went the the Flushing Meadows Pitch and Putt course and, for the first time ever, was able to actually get the sense that I knew what I was doing. There was very little pressure. Since the holes were so short, I didn't have to swing very hard. As a result, the mistakes were drastically minimized. On the front 9, I shot 3 over par and I was seriously tempted to rename this blog "The Joy of Golf."

Then the back 9 happened. Need I continue?

Fine. Let's just say that it wasn't quite as fun. For some reason, the ball just wouldn't listen to me. It would go long, right, left, short. Everywhere except for where I wanted it to go. And it was extra frustrating because I actually felt that I knew what I was supposed to do. I just wasn't doing it.

Oddly enough, the Golf Gods threw me a bone at the very end. I hit a tee shot that I thought was horrible. I just miss hit it very badly. Guess where it ended up? About 4 inches from the flagstick. Tap in birdie. (Yeah, tell me about it.)

I guess I won't be changing the name of the blog anytime soon.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Shut the (bleep) up!

"The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music."

Dear Random Loud-Mouthed Golfer who I will have the misfortune of being paired with in the future,

I get it. I'm not that great of a golfer. I also get that when I am struggling on the course it's just very painful to watch. I get frustrated. I'm using all kinds of profane words. You can actually see my head swelling up as it's about to explode. It's not pretty. Believe me, I know.

I also get how, when you see me suffering like a wounded animal that you are moved to try to help me in any way that you can. It's only natural. You're a human being. You're not unsympathetic. In fact, you've been where I've been before and you're thinking that if you could just give me a few tips you would solve all of my golfing woes and lead me to the path of salvation.

Well sir, I appreciate your desire to help but please, pretty please, with sugar on top, shut the fuck up. Seriously, keep your pie-hole closed. You can't help me. You don't know how to. You can barely help yourself. (I saw you slice your ball into the trees. Don't think I didn't.) You are not a golf pro. Do you know how I know? Because golf pros don't give you any golf tips for free. They get paid a lot of money for their knowledge. Plus, they know how to teach.

One other thing, I realize that I am tall, but if I fail to get the ball into the air, please don't tell me that I need longer golf clubs. This is simply further evidence that you don't know what the hell you are talking about. I've been measured for golf clubs (by professionals) and have spent a pretty penny on them. They are the right size. End of story.

So please Mr. Potential Playing Partner, let's just keep a friendly distance. I'll play my way and you'll play your way. There's plenty of things we can talk about. The weather. Our wives. Our jobs. You know, bullshit. But let's avoid the awkward tensions that will inevitably occur when I shoot you my passive-aggressive death stare after you politely mention that I should keep my left arm straight.



Monday, April 18, 2011

The Mental Game

"Have you ever noticed what golf spells backwards ?"

I am a certified genius. Either that or it has taken me an incredibly long time to figure out something that people have already been doing for years. Whatever the case may be, I've come up with a little system that seems to have helped my confidence level a bit. (My skill level is another story but we won't go into at this juncture.)

I've created a game that I play on the driving range. What I do is I usually bring 3 clubs with me. A Driver, a 6-iron, and a 55-degree wedge. To me, these three clubs represent the three major areas where my game needs the most help: The long game, the middle game, and the short game. (Pretty much everything.) Then, as I step up to hit each shot, I imagine that I'm playing the Van Cortlandt golf course. A course that is very near and dear to my heart. Also, referred to as the bane of my existence.

Since I have a very vivid picture of how each hole on the golf course plays, (seeing as how I've been reliving them in my nightmares) I have a strong idea of where each shot would land on the actual course. So if I imagine I'm at the tee on the Par 5, 12th hole, and I hit the Driver AND I hit it dead straight and just crush it, I know that I'll have another 225 yards to the green. (Please stop laughing. It might happen.)

Then I'll bust out the 6-iron. Now on the actual course, I'd probably use a 4-iron or 5-iron, but I refuse to bring all of my clubs to the driving range. So if I hit a good 6-iron, I'll assume that it would have been good with the "correct" club.

Finally, I grab the wedge and pick one of the targets on the driving range. If I can hit a shot to within, say under 10 feet, I consider that a birdie. Anything around 20 feet is a par. And anything over 20 feet, well that's a par as well. (Remember, this is a confidence building exercise. Don't judge me.) Basically, I assume that I'll two-putt everything.

I admit that I am completely honest with this system. (For the most part). I mean if I imagine I'm on the tee at the 9th hole and I hit a horrible slice, I can't pretend that the ball wouldn't have sailed out of bounds and somewhere into the land of Narnia. However, on the 4th hole, a slice is not bad because it would end up on the 5th fairway. I do take penalty strokes and I assume that if I had to lay up that it would have been successful. Hey, those are the rules. I just make them up and then follow them.

So with this system, I have consistently broken 90 at Van Cortlandt. Which is nowhere near any actual facts. But I can dream can't I? And who knows. Maybe one day, the dream will become a reality.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What I Learned From The Masters

"It took me seventeen years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course."
Hank Aaron

Normally, I like to reserve my postings for my own personal atrocities that I commit while playing golf. However, this was a huge weekend for the golf fans and I would be remiss in failing to address it in any way. And what an amazing weekend it was! It truly was anybody's to win. At least 6 guys were in contention to win it all coming down the stretch.

Yet, I don't want to get into all of that. There are far more qualified sportswriters who will recount the tales of heroism among the world's finest golfers. I will instead address the unfortunate circumstances that befell Rory Mcllroy.

For those of you who don't know, Rory Mcllroy is a ridiculously young professional golfer who was leading in the Masters from the very first day all the way up to the the back nine on Sunday. Then things went horribly, horribly wrong. On the 10th hole, if I'm not mistaken, he hit a tee shot that landed somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. And then things just went from bad to worse. It really was painful to watch.

My point in mentioning this golf tragedy is not to disparage Mr. Mcllroy in any way. In fact, I'm pointing this out to reveal how much that I share in his pain. While I've never been leading in the Masters (or anything golf related for that matter), I've certainly known the feeling of being powerless to stop a catastrophic free fall.

But what I learned from this remarkable young man was that it can happen to anybody at anytime. Even the professionals. And there are many ways to deal with it. Rory Mcllroy chose to deal with it by grinding it out, keeping up the good fight, and looking forward to the next opportunity to apply what he learned from the situation.

I, on the other hand, choose to swear. A LOT.

His way might be better.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Eyes on the Prize

"Golf is played by twenty million mature American men whose wives think they are out having fun."

As the preseason continues to plow mercilessly toward the impending doom that will be my first round of golf of the year, I find myself constantly learning and re-learning the same basic lessons over and over again. I mean it makes sense. As I try to get this damned golf swing perfected, I'm constantly trying to keep about 1,000 little facts, tips and concepts organized in my head. I think about keeping the left arm straight. That's a big one. It keeps everything aligned and guarantees that you will hit the ball correctly. Unless of course, you screw up one of the other 1,000 things that you are supposed to do that guarantees that you will hit the ball correctly.

On one of not nearly enough days of practice, I'm at the driving range and thinking, "What the hell am I doing wrong THIS time?" Just then, a cavalcade of youngsters come in for their afternoon lesson. It was about 15-20 teenagers. Now I'm thinking, "Great. These kids are just going to come in and disrupt my concentration. I was hitting the ball SO well. But NOW, they're going to be the ones that jinx it." (Yes, I can be more than a bit delusional on the golf course)

But then, an interesting thing happened. I was able to eavesdrop on one of the instructors and he seemed to tell one of the kids something that I had always known but had completely forgotten to do. In the course of trying to get the 1,000 things straight in my head, I WASN'T LOOKING AT THE BALL. I mean, C'MON!!! Logic only follows that, unless you have super-powers (which I don't) you would probably have to look at something if you're going to try and hit it with a very thin stick. Just a hunch.

So I took this piece of advice and wouldn't you know it, I immediately hit the ball better! It was the miracle of miracles and such a wonderful experience...for about 5 minutes. Then things went horribly, horribly wrong...again.

Back to the drawing board.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why For the Love of God, Do I Play This Game?

"Golf is a good walk spoiled"
-Mark Twain

As I've mentioned before, I firmly believe in the existence of Golf Gods. They are very real. They are mighty, powerful, omnipresent, and sadistic bastards. They giveth, but mostly, they taketh away. And when they do giveth, it is incredibly rare.

So why do I continue to endure this self-imposed damnation? Because these precocious golf deities are also the biggest drug pushers in the history of time. And their delicious elixir? It is that feeling of euphoria that exists when I hit that one great shot.

Even when I first started playing this infernal game and I had even less of a clue than I do now, somehow I managed to be able to hit that one beautiful shot. The moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. And there really is no other feeling in the world like it. Your body, mind, and soul are all in sync as you just launch that little white ball several hundred yards down the middle of a fairway on a beautiful sunny day.

And it works with short shots too. Oh yes. There was that mythical shot that I once hit from the side of the green. I hit a chip shot about 10 yards away, between two trees, on a big sloping green. Right into the hole. I don't know what I scored that day (Probably like a million), but the only thing that I remember was that perfect shot. The memory of that shot will give me comfort when I'm old, drooling, and have lost the ability to control my bladder.

So as I continue to rant and rave (and swear), I fully understand that it is all an infuriating attempt to chase a high. A high that, hopefully, I will get to feel more and more as I improve. Then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars.