Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I have to say, speaking as someone who spent most of my life flipping past golf on TV - almost as fast as I flipped passed televangelists, I am now a full fledged fan of the game. I read the above book, by the way, and recommend it. But don't expect anyone I know to actually read it. You might be surprised, but golf, like a lot of things, either gets to you or it doesn't. It got me. It began as a poor man's therapy (see post below), and that, only because I could not find a batting cage, which is were the pore man's therapy really began. Golf surprised me. Who would of thunk it? Golf did not even register on the top ten thousands list of things I never figured I would ever do. Now.... now I can watch golf on TV. How sick is that. (I still can't watch televangelists, if you are wondering --that would surprise me even more) I played golf today. You have to know I play a poor mans golf. I have pawn shop clubs, a really cheep driver, and some stuff I picked up from bargain spots. Nice equipment, at this point, would be waisted on me. I play cheep golf courses. Tonight I played a twilight round with my brother in law Tim. Twelve dollars to walk it after 6pm. As many holes as you can get in before dark, and we push it till dark - because that is what poor man's golf is. I know the cheapest golf courses, and, more importantly, I know where I can putt and chip for free. It is not that I am impoverished. Just that golf seems like the kind of game better played on the cheep than someting taken too seriously. One of the first things you learn about golf is that the best way to really jack up a golf shot is to try too hard to get it right. Golf courses are actually designed to entice you to try harder shots that you will botch. It's wonderfully psychological. So the idea of taking the game seriously is like insisting your kids have fun at the park or everyone is going home. Golf is very sensual as well. It is beautiful. Golf courses are simply very attractive places. You can find peace and visual serenity in the midst of the ugliest urban neighborhoods. They are curvy and hilly and inviting and at the end of every lovely lane of grass and trees is a pleasant little hole in the ground. Golf is all about that little hole. You start any where from a hundred yards to 6oo yards away, and your sole purpose is to put a little white ball, no more that two inches in diameter, into a little four inch wide plastic white cup in the ground. The harder you try to do it well, the worse you do. And the worse you do, the less likely you are to ever want to play again. It is a game that seems intent on scaring everyone off. But actually it is a game with a wicked sense of enticement. Inevitably, just as you are thoroughly disgusted and beaten, and telling yourself you will never waist another minute at this ludicrous game, suddenly you pop off with a shot as pretty as any shot on TV. Oh, the golf gods are good at this game. They play us like fiddles. Get too cocky, boom, your ball goes in the lake. Get to the brink of exasperation, boom, you land a pretty nine iron on the green inches from the hole. Hit a couple of really nice shots on a par four and start thinking about getting a birdie, boom, next thing you know you blade a ball into a sand trap and end up with a quadruple Boigie. It's awesome really. I highly recommend it. But only if you can get out of yourself enough to watch these dynamics play out. If you take it too personally, you are in for a long walk and a bad memory of chunking, blading, and whiffs. But if you can appreciate the Zen of the game. The absolute genius of the game for confounding the ego, and rewarding the intuition, then you can enjoy a heightened rate of bliss.