This putt’s for you

I will spend many hours this summer playing golf. Or, as one of my golf partners is fond of reminding me: misspend. He has suggested more than once I might want to consider some other form of recreation to fill my leisure hours. As much as I love to play I sometimes have to agree.

It never ceases to amaze me how my ball can miss a half-mile wide fairway, yet hit a one-inch wide tree branch. However, as bad as my game is at times, there are reasons. For example, consider how many actions must come together in the same place at the same time in order to hit a golf ball properly. It’s mind boggling! There’s the grip: too tight causes tension in the shoulders. Then there’s the ball position. Good luck trying to figure out where it’s supposed to be in relation to where I’m standing and the club I’ve chosen. A PhD. in physics is required to understand what’s supposed to happen during the back swing: arc, tempo, reverse pivot, feet position, hips, distance to the green, to name only a few. And don’t even think of going through the techniques needed to correct the most dreaded of all golf shots: the slice!

Trying to think of all these things while standing on the t-box gives me mental cramps. Instead, I’ve learned to enjoy the game for other reasons: the camaraderie, the outdoors, the cart ride, and the occasional liquid refreshment, so necessary for not caring about all the things I’m supposed to remember.

Back to my number one critic. Pickle Ball, he suggested, would likely suit my limited athletic abilities. The game, of course, has nothing whatever to do with pickles, and is probably more fraught with rules and impossible techniques than golf. To ease my pain after one particularly bad round, my partner said he’d heard from a reliable source that it takes longer to learn to play golf than it does to perform brain surgery. Well, I replied, you can tell your source you don’t get to ride around in the sunshine, drink beer and eat hot dogs while performing brain surgery.

So, what’s the attraction? It’s that one game in five where everything comes together: correct stance; proper grip; appropriate club choice; head down; steady tempo and follow through. Result: ball 200 yards down the middle of the fairway! Second shot in perfect approach position! Third shot chipped firmly onto the green! And a final 12 foot putt that hits the cup like it had eyes! The round when you say to yourself, I’ve got this, no problem, the game’s not that difficult. I’ll be back tomorrow.

Somebody said it—GOLF: an endless series of tragedies with the occasional miracle.

“Fore!” or is it “Four?”