Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Golfers' Dilemma (One of Many)

Unfortunately, golf hooked me a long time ago. I can't quite escape its grasp and I have no choice but to play the stupid game until I die. I would argue that you haven't truly loved golf until you have totally despised it, but that's a column for another time.
If you've played for more than a few weeks, you probably became accustomed to seeing the ball go in a certain direction on every shot. Your ball flight is the definition of who you are on the golf course. You slice it? You're either just starting or haven't quite figured out that your legs and arms start the downswing together, not one before the other. You hook it? You used to slice it, but now your wrists want to go the other way. You hit it straight? Yeah, right.
Either way, as much as you try, you just can't seem to shake your pesky ball flight. You wish you had the ability to turn the sphere the other direction, but you can't. So you keep trying to aim farther left/right to compensate. What happens? Stupid thing goes farther in the direction you desperately want it not to. I used to have a horribly wonderful five yard fade, and now I haven't seen the ball go right in an eternity.
After a while though, you finally get it to go the other way.
Seeing the ball go the opposite direction is such a breath of fresh air, you never want it to stop...until you want it to stop.
You already miss your old ball flight. Your horrible slice was actually a nice gentle fade, but now it's a violent duck hook, and it's as annoying as an ear pimple. You feel as though you've lost a companion - one you could rely on; you knew exactly where he was going and could control him (kind of). But now, you feel helpless as a more unpredictable foe has reared his ugly dimple.
You miss your ball flight like an old girlfriend. You just wish your (golf) life was back to the way it used to be. But another drive goes wayward and you feel like quitting.
You'd give anything to have her (it) back.
So you ask advice from a friend, or maybe you seek a professional. Either way, you need help, and quickly. He sits you down on the couch (driving range), and you begin to talk. He pries into your deepest (golf) memories, and then you begin the long road to recovery (this analogy has gone on long enough).
In your first few hours on the range, the ball is going farther in that horrid direction. The left/right turn seems more vicious than ever, and you call it a day without having seen a single shot go the way you remember.
A few days later, you take to the course. Skip the practice range, you've had bad luck there recently. Your hook/slice is worse than ever, you can't even see your own fairway half the time, and you want to Michelle Wie it and walk off. But as much as you want to, you can't. Golf has tremendous pull. You're standing on the next tee, again over-analyzing the shot, thinking of every piece of advice anyone has ever told you...all at the same time. You finally decide, "to hell with it, I'm just going to clear my head and swing, I don't care where it goes."
(Meanwhile, your buddies mutter, "yeah, right, here we go again. Should we tell the group on the green on 12 to watch out now or just wait until the ball is airborne?")
But seriously, you've had it, and you're just going to swing. So you take a few deep breaths, step up to it, and swing.
When you look up you see a beautiful fade against a wonderfully blue sky, the clouds play the perfect backdrop to the gorgeous shot, and the birds chirp their applause. It's perfect.
Hello, old friend.

1 comment:

  1. I honestly want to become a mediocre golfer because of this column. i think the dilemma everyone faces with their golf swing is a very personal and intimate relationship...somewhat like with a woman (except golf won't leave or get mad)