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.