Monday, October 29, 2012

A Tale of Two Sand Shots

"If you want it you got
You just got to believe.
Believe in yourself,
-Lenny Kravitz

At the time of this writing, one of the biggest hurricanes in recent history is crashing down on our fair city.  So since I've got a little time to kill and I clearly won't be playing any golf any time soon, I thought this week's post would delve a little further into the last round I played.

More specifically, I will tell the story of two sand shots with two radically different outcomes.

The first one occurred on the very first hole.  As you may recall, I was in a bit of a rush on the first hole and ended up having to play very quickly.  (If you don't recall, then just read the last post.  Dude, it'll take 3 minutes.)  Despite the circumstances (or maybe due to them), I ended up hitting a pretty good tee shot.  However, my second shot went into the sand.

I don't know if it was the adrenaline or the crystal meth, but I walked up to that sand shot and told myself, "You know how to do this.  Just do it."  And with very little thought I stepped up and hit an excellent shot.  And boy did that feel good.  (The sand shot not the crystal meth.)

Unfortunately, this state of euphoria didn't carry over to the next opportunity.

It was at the Par 4 6th hole.  A short little hole with a small pond in front of the tee box.  I hit an okay tee shot.  Still in play with a good chance to reach the green in two shots.  My second shot however, was beautifully chunked off to the right and into the bunker.  Pure, high-grade, unadulterated shit shot.

But for some reason, I didn't approach this upcoming sand shot with the same elan and joie de vivre as I had on the previous shot.  On this particular shot, I was consumed with doubt.  Sure, I tried to tell myself the same thing that I did on the first hole, but for some reason I wasn't listening to myself.  And let's face it, nothing good happens when you ignore the voices in your head.

As a result, I was unable to get out of the sand on my third shot (Bummer).  On my fourth shot, I was able to get out of the sand but landed in the rough next to the green (Double Bummer).  For my fifth shot, I chose to skull the ball and send it rolling about 30 feet past the hole for a very long putt.  All for a grand total of 7 on the hole.

And if you read my last entry,  (You haven't?  Dude, seriously?! C'mon!) you'd know that I was oh so very close to breaking the coveted plateau of 95 and possibly even 90.  So that poor sand shot really didn't help matters much.

And that whole mess could have been avoided if I simply chose to believe the lie.  That beautiful, beautiful lie that said that I knew what I was doing.  That beautiful lie that said that I was actually good at this.  That beautiful lie that said that I was going to execute successfully.

Sometimes the lie you tell yourself might actually be the truth.  In fact, I think the bullshit that we tell ourselves most of the time are the real lies.

Yeah.  Deal with THAT.


I was just kidding.  I haven't smoked crystal meth in years.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hardcore Masochism

"I will never be satisfied
I will never be satisfied
I will never be satisfied
Until it ends in tears."
-Living Colour (The band not the TV show)

If you had told me 5 minutes before my last round of golf that I would shoot a 96, I would have been happy.  If you had told me that I would shoot 5 pars and 6 bogeys, I would have been thrilled.  So why, after shooting a round of 96 (one of my best rounds in months) do I still feel so miserable?  Well, quite frankly, I'm an asshole.

But also because, deep in my heart, I know I could have done better.

Allow me to paint you a picture:  It was a beautiful autumn day in the Bronx.  Early in the morning with very few people.  Calm and serene.  A perfect day for golf.  I pay my greens fee and casually make my way to the first tee.  I hadn't played in a while so I really wanted to take the time to loosen up before going out.  But then the starter says to me, "You're a single?  Hurry up and play in front of these guys because they're a group of 11."

Um, ok.  So much for loosening up.

Then as I'm rushing to get myself together so that I could take my first swing, another single walks up and is forced to join me under the same high stress scenario.  Now, maybe these circumstances actually helped me because I ended up hitting a pretty great first tee shot.  However, my second shot was not so good and I ended up in the sand trap.

Here's something you should know about me: I fucking hate sand traps.  Hate.  Hate.  Hate.  Hate.  Hate.  And yet, here's the thing: I hit a great shot out of the sand trap.  This boded well for the day.  It boded well indeed.

I proceeded to play some of the best golf I had played in months.  I was hitting great tee shots, great chip shots, and even catching a couple of lucky bounces here and there.  Oh my friends, it was a glorious day.  It wasn't perfect.  I definitely made mistakes.  But none of them were disasterous and some of them were actually good mistakes.  You know, the kind where after you see the result you say, "Oh yeah.  That's exactly what I meant to do."

That is, until I got to the 15th hole.  That fucking 15th hole.  (Clearly it was the hole's fault and not mine.)

I hit a poor tee shot which trickled in to the fairway.  Bad shot: yes.  Disaster: no.  I can only describe my second shot as this: It was as if the Hindenburg had crashed into the Titanic and then they both ran into a bus full of puppies.  This is not hyperbole.  It was that bad.  All of the good things that I had done up until that point were wiped out in one inglorious stroke.  One of the worst mistakes to make at one of the worst times to make it.

And to make matters worse, I made matters worse.  After I hit that bad shot out of bounds (followed by a monumental freak out), I continued to tell myself that I shouldn't let that one mistake ruin my entire day.  That I shouldn't let that one mistake compound into more mistakes.  That I should calm down, reset myself and move past it.

Unfortunately, I just wanted to be an angry, petulant child rather than the mature, level-headed golfer than you've all come to know and love.

I proceeded to nearly hit my penalty shot out of bounds.  (Which made me furious-er.)  Then, in my fury, I furiously miss-hit my now 5th shot, and left it short of the green by about 2 yards.  Then, in my even greater fury, I proceeded to furiously skull the short chip shot and send the ball flying about 35 feet past the hole.  And in a final burst of epic furious-ity, I three-putted the hole for a grand total of...wait for it...9 (Or a bogey 5 for those of you playing at home.)

Now, I've always had the goal and the expectation of breaking 100 (even though that rarely happens), but until the 15th hole I actually had a legitimate shot at breaking 90!  90 I say!

And now for the lesson.  After having a little time to digest everything that happened, I realize that I didn't miss my chance to reach my goal because of that one mistake.  I missed it because of how I responded to that one mistake.  I forgot the first rule of golf club: You do not talk about golf club.  Wait, I'm sorry, I'm mixing up my metaphors.  The point is, mistakes are going to happen and we can choose to dwell on them or we can choose to let go.  I chose the former and it didn't help much.

Although, in my defense, I usually make my disasterous mistakes much earlier in the round so that I have the entire day to recover from them emotionally.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Driver is Not My Enemy

"The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend."
-Arabian Proverb

In the past, I may have mentioned once or twice that I am not a fan of using the Driver.  It is a behemoth.  It is unruly and cannot be controlled.  I've always felt that attempting to use it was akin to rubbing my body down with gazelle-scented oil and then promptly sticking my head in a lion's mouth.  Basically, no good could possibly be achieved from such a reckless action.

I've also been very fond of using what I've referred to as, "The Old Man Swing."  Although contrary to the moniker, I have yet to meet the old man who doesn't drive the ball farther than I do.

So, in yet another epiphany, I've decided to embark on the dangerous, remarkable, and foolhardy journey of trying to master the use of the heretofore unmentionable golf club.  Now here's the funny part:  It turns out, I'm not that bad at it.

Through the magic of scorecards and emotional scarring, I am able to review my rounds in great detail in order to determine what really happened.  On my last round of golf, I used the driver on 10 of the 18 holes.  On 6 of those 10 holes, I actually hit great shots.  (Yes, GREAT shots.  That's not a typo.)  On 3 of those holes, I hit bad shots BUT they were salvagable.  (Or, to put it in layman's terms, I got lucky.)  There was only one hole where I used the Driver where things didn't turn out so well.  That would be the 10th hole.

One of the things that's especially heartbreaking about playing the 10th hole poorly is that it's the first hole on the "Back Nine."  As you get ready to tee off, there's this sense that you are gettting to start over.  That you get to hit the reset button and maybe, just maybe, you can still reach your original goal.  Then it all comes crashing down.  And crashing down quickly I might add.

Suffice it to say, the 10th hole didn't go well.

But let's not get hung up on that one minor disaster.  If we do the math, we'll see that 9 out of the 10 holes actually were successful.  On 9 out of the 10 holes, I actually gave myself a chance to be even more successful.  And on 6 out of the 10 holes, I accomplished feats of glory that would not have been possible if I had continued to let myself believe that it couldn't be done.

So Mr. Driver, I don't like you and you don't like me.  But the golf course seems to lose a lot of its power and influence when I use you properly.  This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Who Was That Masked Man?

"He's a 44 handicap.  Sometimes he plays like a 40 handicap.  Sometimes he plays like a 4."
-Hank Haney referring to Adam Levine's golf game on The Haney Project

Okay, I get it.  Golf is hard.  And everybody has to go through the same crap.  From the lowly beginner to the seasoned professional, we all share a common bond in our universal frustrations with the golf game.  However, my last round was just so radically different from one shot to the next that it literally drove me insane.  (I have the medication to prove it.)

My last round out it was like I had some incredibly bizarre multiple personality disorder.  I was playing like 10 different golfers each with 10 different swing problems.  And they all seemed to show up sporadically.  (Which is what makes the game so exciting/hellish.)

At first, I had an issue of pulling the ball to the left.  Not quite sure why that was happening but at least it wasn't completely devastating to my score.  I couldn't correct it no matter what I tried, but it wasn't so bad that I walked of the course in disgust and tears.  Which, by the way, has never happened (knock wood).

But then, newer more interesting problems started to creep in.  For some reason, once in a while, I wasn't able to hit short chips shots.  Just another little something out of nowhere.  I'm still not sure how this is even possible, but I managed to slide the club head between the ball and the ground without seeming to actually touch the golf ball.  It's almost like that trick where you have a bunch of glasses sitting on a table and there's a tablecloth between the glasses and the table then someone rips the tablecloth out from between them without moving the glasses.  It's kind of like that.  Magic.

And then there were the times when a wicked slice would pop up.  I was just going along about my day (Tra La La) and then BAM! I hit a crazy shot off to the right.

And finally, as there always is, there were the beautifully struck shots that make me think that I have a chance to be good at this thing.  On the Par 4 18th hole, I took the driver (You heard me) and crushed my tee shot leaving the ball about 25 yards short of the hole.  What followed was a series of ugly shots that I don't want to talk about THE POINT IS the tee shot was incredible.

Final score: 106

Einstein was wrong.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results but getting wildly radical and contradictory results.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

If It Ain't Totalled, Don't Fix It

"The fun you get from golf is in direct ratio to the effort you don't put into it."
-Bob Allen

I dusted off the old clubs and headed back out to the course.  It was also the first time that I had returned to the course after spending time on the driving range to "Work out some swing issues."  The reason that I put that in quotes is because I technically, have no idea how to do that.  But it's one of those things that pro golfers say so I just figured I could say it too.

Now one of the basic, fundamental principles of practicing is that if you do it, then you will improve.  That's just how it works with just about everything.  It's even true in golf.  However, if you practice doing the wrong things over and over again, the results may be a little disastrous.  But what's even worse is when you practice, you practice the wrong things, AND you have absolutely no idea that you're practicing the wrong things.

I know what you're thinking.  "If you're practicing the wrong things, wouldn't you realize it?"  To which I would say, "You're using logic.  There's absolutely no logic in golf."  For some reason, what happens on the driving range tends to stay on the driving range.  Either that or I only tend to remember the 5 good shots I hit out of the 200.

Regardless, I ventured to Van Cortlandt, my old nemesis, armed with a newer, more powerful golf swing.  I was prepared to show that golf course who was boss.  Not surprisingly, I am still that golf course's bitch.

Now before I made my "swing changes" I was able to somewhat predict what the ball was going to do.  Obviously, I would hit bad shots and I couldn't hit the ball very far, but I was almost always sure that the ball would go forward.  Well, that simply wasn't the case with this new swing.

Oh it was a mess.  It was a mess of a mess.  It was a travesty of a mess of a disaster.  It just didn't go well.  At one point, I was teeing off from the 3rd hole and nearly hit the ball into the water hazard...ON THE 6TH HOLE.  For those of you who don't follow golf, that's just really bad.  I mean REALLY bad.  Even for me.

This was also another one of those rounds when I decided (after seeing how miserable it was going) that I no longer needed to keep score.

Oh well.  Back to the drawing board.  I should have it figured out in another 10 years or so.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Power of not giving a $%*!

"Mr. McGee don't make me angry.  You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
-David Banner, The Incredible Hulk TV Series
(And before any of you nerds try to correct me, yes I am aware that his name his Bruce Banner in the comic book but it's David in the TV series.)


The last time I went out, I wasn't able to play at my usual time.  I typically like to go on the early side.  Have a nice breakfast. Some coffee.  And then I'm fully relaxed knowing that I have the whole day to just stink it up on the golf course.  But this time, I wasn't able to go out until the late afternoon, a.k.a. Twilight.

The great thing about Twilight is that it is much cheaper.  But of course that discount comes at a price.  There's a very good chance that you won't get to play the entire course before it gets dark.  As a result, the pressure is mounting and it's a...RACE AGAINST TIME!!

Normally, I'm a fair-minded man.  I observe the etiquette of golf.  For instance, I would never tread on my playing partner's putting line.  That's just gauche.  But in a...RACE AGAINST TIME...all bets are off.

I was playing by myself and I had a golf cart.  (Seriously, what is anybody trying to prove by walking the course.)  After the 1st hole, I noticed a threesome of teenagers who, not only sucked, but were WALKING!  (How dare they!)  So I jumped them to go to the 3rd hole.  No luck there.  Turned out everybody showed up exactly 20 minutes before I did.  So I jumped to the 8th hole.  Played that one but then got stuck behind ANOTHER threesome of walking teenagers.  (I think there was a convention.)  Decided to tough it out until the 11th hole.  Then jumped back to play 3 through 7 and finally jumped to the 12th hole and played the rest of the way from there.

Sound confusing?  It should.  In fact, I'm not even sure how relevant any of that was.  The only point to get from it was that I was getting angrier and angrier as I encountered each obstacle.  And as everyone knows, the angrier you get, the better golf you play.  (Oh wait, no.  The complete opposite is true.)

So in the midst of all that jumping around, I managed to make Par on the 7th hole and make a complete and total mess of all the others while losing golf ball after golf ball.  (Did I mention that I was getting angry?)

Finally, I just said, "Fuck it.  I'm not keeping score anymore."  Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I magically started playing better.  I mean, this isn't one of those "Feel good movies from the '80s."  But I DID learn something from my little experiment.

Because I was so incredibly furious AND no longer concerned about the score, I just started to crank it up and try to hit the ball as hard as I possibly could.  And that felt REALLY good.  And when I hit a good shot, the ball would fly way farther than when I was using my "Old Man Swing."  And that also felt REALLY, REALLY good.

But the real lesson was this: Since I clearly didn't care about anything else, I kept my focus on one simple target.  I kept my eye on one spot of the ball and let go of everything else.  And regardless of what the result was, I felt good about what I was doing because my intentions were so clear.

The resulting shots were often...sporadic.  But the intentions...they were vivid.  And as long as you have clear intentions, then sometimes things work out even better than you expected.

Ain't nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Major props to The Big Easy

The British Open, golf's oldest major championship was held on Sunday.  Now to be honest, I actually don't know if it is golf's oldest major championship but I know that it sounds really cool to say so I'm just going to go with it.  Chances are, you didn't see it because A) The time difference between here and there made it difficult to catch all of the action or B) You just didn't give a shit.  Either way, you missed a pretty exciting golf tournament. (Okay, exciting may be a bit strong.  But it certainly held my attention.)

One of the big story lines in this tournament was that Australia's Adam Scott (not that his nationality matters) held a huge lead going into the final four holes.  Then things went a tad bit awry and he ended up losing the tournament.  (Bummer, right?)

Now normally, in true masochistic golfer fashion, I would have expressed how much I empathized with this guy.  I would have said that I know how it feels to have a good thing going on the golf course and then just have it all fall apart on you.  I would have offered words of encouragement and all that type of crap.

But this time is different.  This time, I choose to celebrate the victory of Ernie Els a.k.a "The Big Easy."  This time I would like praise the 42 year-old South African for his amazing accomplishment. Not only did he overcome the obstacles of being 42 years old and South African, but he also had to overcome a 6 shot deficit.  The result: his second British Open Championship.

Just to give you a little background, Ernie Els has been notorious for his superhuman calmness and cool demeanor when he's on the course.  I mean, he's a freak of nature.  He doesn't show emotion.  Ever.  And if he does it's extremely rare.  At the same time, he is also known for having a smooth, easy-flowing swing. Plus, he's about 6'3" tall.  Add it all together and you get the nickname The Big Easy. (Or Le Facile Grande for you Francophiles.)

He has always been a fierce competitor but he has always kept his cool.  If you just saw a brief clip of him playing in a tournament, you wouldn't know if he was winning by 5 strokes or down by 10.  He's just that cool.  I guess what I'm really saying is, "Sasquatch takes picture of him."

In the end, I guess the life lesson here is never count yourself out, keep fighting the good fight, don't stop believing, and most importantly, never let 'em see you sweat.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Autopsy

"I specifically asked for him to be put on suicide watch.  Apparently here at Riker's that means they watch you commit suicide."
-Det. Lennie Brisco - Law & Order

So one of the beauties of this golf app that I have on my phone is that it allows me to relive the horrors of the terrible round I played.  Over and over and over and over and over and over again.  Every misstep.  Every bad swing.  Every stupid idea.  I get the pleasure of replaying them in my mind because I have the saved scorecards right at my fingertips.

Isn't technology wonderful?

But believe it or not, the benefit to keeping track of all this information is that you get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when you revisit that disappointing round you played.  For you see, the masochist in me will only dwell on the bad stuff when I just replay it in my mind.  The good stuff seems to be conveniently forgotten.  (And that's not cool.)

So when I broke down my last round of golf I learned a few things.  On my miracle, happy, fun-time round from the week before, I made 6 pars and 6 bogeys.  On my disastrous, lame, poo-poo round last week, I made 3 pars and 5 bogeys.  So by comparison, it wasn't that much different.

The next logical question becomes, if there wasn't that much of a difference, why did the last round feel so God-awful?

The answer is 6, 10, 12, 13, and 16.

No, it's not the Da Vinci code.  Those were the holes where I hit my ball to the wrong place at the wrong time.  For you see, sometimes in golf, it's not the mistakes that cost you but when you make them that really screws you over.  On each of those holes, I managed to very skillfully put the ball into a hazard or out of bounds.  And when you put a ball into a hazard or out of bounds, you basically lose 2 strokes: The penalty stroke and the stroke that you have to hit again to make up for the crappy shot you just hit.

So really, had it not been for those penalties, and you subtract 2 strokes from each of the 5 holes, I would have shot an 89.  Which is actually a wonderful improvement on the previous week.

But, "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a merry Christmas."  (Unless you're Jewish...Or Muslim...Or a Scientologist)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Perhaps I spoke a bit prematurely

"They told me they fixed it...It's not my fault!"
-Lando Calvrisian


Remember that last post where I was thumbing my nose at the golf gods in a blatant  show of disrespect?

Remember how I proclaimed victory and how I was absolutely SURE that I had figured this game out?

Well...It turns out I was horribly wrong.  (You look shocked.)

I was just itching to get back out on the course.  I wanted to build on my progress from the last round.  Surely, if I could shoot a 93 the last time then I was definitely going to score lower this time.  I mean, it makes perfect sense.  I had a breakthrough.  The only direction I could go was up.  I was even pondering a career change.  Maybe not the PGA (that would be ridiculous).  But certainly the developmental Nationwide tour was within reach.

When I got out there, I actually started out fairly well.  And I will take the time to mention that my short game remained strong throughout the day.  (So there were some positives to take away from my round).  But somewhere along the line, things got a little whackadoodle.

On the 6th hole, there's a forced carry of about 75 yards.  A pretty simple shot that I've made dozens of times.  I promptly dumped my ball into the tiny lake that shouldn't even have been in play.  I made a similar mistakes on the 12th & 13th holes.

But the main issue was that, for some reason, the ball just kept going left.  (Maybe by golf swing is a socialist.  It's definitely a progressive.)  No matter how hard I tried to adjust, I could not make the correction.  Oh, except for the times when I over-corrected and blocked the ball to the right.

Final score: 99.

Now you may think, "Damon, you still broke 100.  You should be happy."

But you should know by now that no one is actually happy when they play golf.

And if they seem happy, there probably just drunk.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


"Look at what's happened to me.
I can't believe it myself
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world
Should've been somebody else.
Believe it or not, I'm walking on air
I never thought I could feel so free
Flying away on a wing and a prayer
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it's just me."
-Theme song from Greatest American Hero

So, I'll just cut to the chase on this one.  My last round of golf I shot a freaking 93!

A 93!


Why aren't you excited?!

I'll explain further.

For those of you who don't know, for the past 10 years or so, I haven't been able to shoot lower than 100.  And in golf, lower = good.

Yes my friends, the planets aligned and I was finally able to put together a round of golf that even the golf gods couldn't deny was praiseworthy.  A round of golf that allowed me to walk with my head held high.  Only this time, it was with actual pride in my performance as opposed to the, "Holding my head up high despite the fact that I'm incredibly ashamed of yet another failure."

Yeah...I like the first one better.

So how did I do it?  How did I conquer this beast that is the triple digit score?

Well, I can tell you the most recent adjustment I made:  The night before, I logged on to ye olde You Tube to look at some videos of golf swings.  I realized that I was standing a little too close to the ball and that I was holding my hands a little too high.  As a result, my swing plane was way too steep which caused inconsistencies in my...(HEY!! WAKE UP!!)

But here's the reality of it.  At the end of the day, it wasn't just one adjustment that made the difference.  It was hundreds of tiny little adjustments over the years.  It's the hundreds more than I will continue to make to get better.  It's the result of the hard work and dedication that I put into it.  It's about the fact that I never gave up on it.

Yay me!

The good news for you dear readers is that after I took my victory lap, I promptly examined my scorecard in order to deconstruct the round I played and found the spots where I could have scored even lower.  So yes, there will still be plenty of things for me to be comically frustrated about.

It never ends.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's A Small World After All

"People who need people are the luckiest people in the world."
-lyrics by Bob Merrill, composer Jule Styne

Since I'm planning on my next blog entry to be highly technical (with the golf, and the clubs, and the posture...oy!), I've decided to make this week's entry a purely anecdotal, feel good story that with have you leaping to your feet and crying with joy.

Now that the bar has been set outrageously high, prepare to be disappointed.

So about a couple of months ago, I went out to Van Cortlandt to tame that mighty beast as per usual.  (And as per usual, the mighty beast won.)  As you all know, I typically fly solo on these missions and this particular day was no different.  And as usual, I was paired with some random strangers.

But on this particular day, I was paired with someone who I actually got along with.  (Crazy right?)

I shall call him Mr. T (no relation).  It turned out that Mr. T and I had a lot in common.  We were both about the same age, we were both married, we were both new, first-time fathers of infant sons, and on and on.  At the end of the round, in a totally non-gay way, we exchanged contact information.

About three days later, I'm walking home from my local laundromat when 'lo and behold I see Mr. T (no relation).  It turns out that not only does he live in my neighborhood...wait for it...we live on the SAME BLOCK. (Cue Twilight Zone theme music.)

And to make matters super-awesome, he has a car.  And to make matters even super-awsomer, he works nights so he's free to play any time on any day. (Score!)

As a black man, I am extremely hesitant to use this term, and it's still too early to tell, but this might be an actual Bro-mance.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Power of G-rated Golf

"Language, please."
-My Mother-in-Law who thinks we are living in the 1950's and that everyone is 12 years old

Don't get me wrong.  I love my Mother-in-Law.  She's a very kind, warm, and considerate person.  But there are certain sensibilities that we simply do not share.  The main one being about the appropriate use of foul language.  My Mother-in-Law feels that no one should ever use foul language in any context ever.  (Even the word crap sends a chill down her spine.)  I, on the other hand, feel that a well placed swear word can be a very effective communication tool.

So you can imagine how she would feel if she were to ever ride along with me on one of my golf outings.  Mainly, because she'd be bored to death.  But also, because of the flurry of f-bombs, s-bombs, mf-bombs, cs-bombs, etc. that would fly unabashedly from my foul mouth.

But then, a few weeks ago, I had a sudden realization.  (An epiphany if you will.)  Sure, cursing the heavens as you make an errant golf shot feels somewhat cathartic at the moment, but was it really serving me?  I really do believe that words have enormous power and that we have to choose them carefully.  And maybe letting out all of my fury and agitation through swear words was simply fueling even more fury and agitation.

So I've decided to dial it back on the harsh, filthy, vile, disgusting, naughty words.  And you know what? It's made a difference.  Again, not so much in the score, (It's about the bigger picture people) but in my state of mind as I'm playing.  As I continue to make mistakes, releasing my frustrations with a non-offensive and non-emotional, "Shoot," or "Nuts," actually increases my chances of recovering from those mistakes successfully.

Plus, I just don't feel so fucking miserable when I'm out there. (Hey, I'm not playing NOW.)

So now, not only do I have the swing of a old man, but I have the etiquette of a 100 year-old woman.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Driver is Nobody's Friend

"To thine own self be true."
-William Shakespeare

The following little tidbit is a story from a little while back. I meant to share this sooner but a little thing called "The Birth of My Child" got in the way. (Which actually isn't the real reason. Mostly, I was playing a lot of Bejeweled Blitz). But I think it's a tender little morsel to share as it clearly shows how I'm not the only one dealing with certain, shall we say, "obstacles," in this sport.

As you may recall, I have firmly committed to the idea of never using my driver off the tee. It is a big, mighty and awesome power that I am neither responsible nor skilled enough to wield. I've accepted this fact and I'm and cool with it. Even if it means that I am the subject of ridicule from all of my playing partners.

And yet, one cannot deny the results.

Yes my friends. It turns out that this little strategy of mine is actually starting to pay off. Now bear in mind that there are many facets to the game of golf that I can screw up so the improvements are not necessarily reflected in the "score." However, over the past few months, I've felt confident that I can put the ball in play 90% of the time using this philosophy.

And that's pretty damn good.

So good, in fact, that my idea actually started to gain a little bit of popularity. (You can't see it, but I'm giving you all a very smug expression right now.)

So a few months ago, I was playing a round with a friend of mine, a friend of said friend, and a miscellaneous fourth person that we were randomly paired with. As I proceeded to keep my driver in the bag on tee shot after tee shot, I could feel everyone's scorn and derision. I proudly announced that I had no intention of using my driver and they could silently chastise me all they wanted. (Or words to that effect).

But pretty soon, friend of said friend could actually see the method to my madness. He tacitly acknowledged that maybe, just maybe, this game would go a little bit smoother if you kept the ball, oh I don't bounds. Next thing you know, he's adopted my style and has put the driver away.

But then...we arrived at the 9th hole. And this is were friend of said friend could no longer stand up to the mockery of original friend and miscellaneous fourth person. I could see the shame in his eyes as he reluctantly grabbed his driver to tee off. (By the way, the 9th tee is one of the most unforgiving tee shots on the course).

Goodbye golf ball. 'Twas nice knowing ya'.

I wanted to give him that very specific, "I told you so" look. So I did. But at the same time, I understood his plight. Sure, hitting playable tee shots that don't fly 300 yards isn't very manly. Sure, it may seem a bit girlie. Sure, you're playing partners will point and laugh at you. But isn't it so much better to confidently do what you know you are capable of doing rather than awkwardly try something you know you can't do. You have to play to your strengths while working on improving your weaknesses.

As I like to say, "If it ain't horrifically damaged beyond complete and total recognition, don't fix it."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Have Returned

"Every time I try to get out, they keep pulling me back in."
-Michael Corleone

So the world may be ending due to global warning but the good news is that it gives me more opportunities to suffer (I mean play golf). However, in this week's posting, I plan to catch you all up on a couple of changes that have occurred during my brief hiatus.

First and foremost, my wife and I had our first child on February 21. (Hold your applause) His name is Colin and he's only the most gorgeous baby I've ever seen in my life. (No, I am NOT biased).

And while I'm a very proud and dedicated new father, I am still a very ashamed and dedicated golf fanatic. Don't get me wrong. If I'm faced with the choice of feeding my child or playing a round of golf, I'm confident that my child would win. But at the same time, I can't just abandon all the hard work and lost golf balls that I've been putting into this sport over the past 10 plus years or so.

So with some expert planning and clever budgeting (bye bye new...well, anything), I will continue to make my way out to the links and conquer that bastion of evil I like to call Van Cortlandt.

Secondly, and I don't want to jinx this (which I just did), but before the last season ended, I was actually (lean in a little closer please. I don't want to say this too loudly) feeling pretty good about my swing. (You didn't hear that from me)

I'm just saying I may have to change the name of this blog to The Wildly Successful Golfer in the near future.

Mark my words.