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.