foozle vt foo-zled; foo-zling (1892): to manage or play awkwardly; a bungling golf stroke

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Game of Opposites

Golf is a game of opposites. To hit the ball in the air you must hit down on it. To draw it to the left you must swing out towards the right (and vice versa). To hit it further you must swing easier to assure solid contact. Then why did it take me almost ten years to realize that maybe, just maybe to really get better at the game when you're obsessed with it like I am, all you need to do is quit trying so hard to improve. Just let it happen, I guess.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Greatest Game of All

Golf requires a form of power or machismo off the tee, a calculating precision with the irons into the greens, a delicate touch and creativity around the putting surfaces and an almost zen-like focus and vision on the "dance floor" with the putter. All these things all rolled into one, eighteen or so times per round, played out millions of times a day all around the world. Would a non-golfer please enlighten me as to what other game requires so much of each of its competitors? I'm curious because I believe golf has no equal. What a game!

Friday, July 25, 2008

An Invitation to More Golf

We've all had that feeling where we hit the ball right smack-dab in the middle of the clubface and rejoice almost instantly in how purely the contact resonates through our hands, up through our arms and, if we're tuned in and really lucky, all the way into our hearts. We look up just in time to see the ball actually travelling towards the intended target, and more amazingly even, it appears that it won't land ten yards short like it often does but instead nuzzle itself up-close and personal-like with the flagstick. It's as if, for just a moment, we were indeed meant to play this crazy game we call golf, and it appears that maybe we could, in fact, play all-day, every day for the rest of our lives and not get tired of it. I call this Golf's invitation to golfers all around the globe to play more golf. The Game wants you to play it and it lets you know that by giving you the feeling, however fleeting it may be, that I just explained above. By all means, if granted this invitation, do everything you possibly can to heed its calling. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Anthony Kim

After hearing most of the pros complain about how hard the conditions were on day three at the British Open I got to say I'm becoming a big fan of Anthony Kim. His interview after his round today was simple--when asked what it was like out there Anthony Kim said "It was awesome. I love playing in weather like this. It's such a challenge." How refreshing...I wonder if the likes of Jerry Kelly were listening as they were dragging there whiny-asses home back across the pond with their tails between their legs. If you're expecting 80-degrees and sunny when you show up at the Open Championship you're either delusional or criminally stupid. However, if you show up prepared to enjoy whatever the course and the elements have in store for you than I think you're one step closer to winning. I sure hope Anthony Kim does win it someday--he's the kind of guy who deserves it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Swing Therapy

I find the very act of swinging a golf club to be therapeutic. Maybe that's not a revelation to most of you but it just became apparent to me this evening as I was watering the lawn (again!) that what I really needed/wanted to do to ease my tired and worried mind was just swing the club a few times. So I grabbed my trusty old sand wedge and took a few measured swipes at some dandelion shoots on the lawn and everything started to feel just right almost immediately. My muscles relaxed themselves, my brain began to exhale, and all my anxiety from another busy week of work and parenting and living all just seemed to fade away. Really, is there anything greater than this grand old game of golf? I don't know what I'd do without it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm A Nine Now

I got my latest handicap revision from the Minnesota Golf Association today and I'm a Nine now. I haven't been a Nine in almost two years. It's been well-chronicled the way my golf game has gone as of late, but it's official now that I'm a Nine. I have the same handicap as the No-Armed Golfer mentioned a few weeks (months?) ago in my blog. I'm a Nine now. I get a stroke now on the 1st hole of my home course, a seemingly benign par-4 of about 380 yards that seems to yield more bogeys than pars for guys like me. There is water in play off the tee, pinching the fairway in from the right. Smack-dab in the middle of my landing area, that's for sure. Funny thing is I've only hit into it once all year and that was the day I decided to play "smart golf" and hit a fairway wood off the tee. It all makes sense, I guess, since I'm a Nine now. At this rate I'll be a Ten by mid-August. Double-digits...jeez...At least I'll get a stroke on that diabolical 11th hole at my home course, the one that I seem to make more pars then bogeys on lately, etc., etc., etc.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Rise of the Handicap vs. The Deterioration of My Golf Game

With the tournament season just a few weeks away at my golf club I find myself walking the dangerous tightrope between my handicap index rising steadily (good) and the cause of said rise, namely the apparent dissolution of my golf game (bad). I often feel that my play and relative ability to score on the golf course are forever fluctuating and that I could feel substantially better about the state of my game if I just chose the "right" days on which to play. For instance, some days I get to the golf course and nothing feels right. My muscles seem tense, my clubs feel awkward in my hands, the tee markers and hole locations seem to be in their most uncooperative positions, the wind continues to swirl almost constantly into my face, etc. It is on these days that I really struggle and wonder if maybe I should have just stayed home, saving myself the mental anguish of having to digest yet another disappointing display on the golf course. Less than a week later, however, having done next-to no practicing and having learned next-to nothing new about the game, I'll show up at the course and warm-up like Jesus Christ on the range, bury every putt I casually stroke at on the practice green, then I'll stroll onto the course and shoot a couple-under my handicap, easily a couple-more-under had those two or three putts not lipped-out, etc. So where is this all going? Well I try and take solace in the fact that when my game appears to be falling apart, a) it probably isn't as bad as it seems, and b) as one Mr. Larry Nelson was once quoted, no matter what the current state of your game it will change soon enough--you better be ready for it to go either way. Perhaps, then, the ballooning of my handicap is actually tell me that the state of my game is about to change for the better and in fact I'm in prime position to capture some glory, if not even a trophy, in the upcoming tournaments at my club. If only I could request these tournaments be played on the "right" days (i.e. the days I'm destined to play well) then I shouldn't have any problem, should I?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Parable of The Horse

I seem to recall from my schooling days many, many years ago that there was a parable about a horse that went something like this: a young man wanted to grow up and be the strongest man in the land so he decided he would prove himself one day by being able to lift up a full-grown horse. This seemed silly looking at the boy and a full-grown horse so he figured out that to do this he would have to start with a baby horse (of course) and pick him up every day until eventually both he and the horse would be full-grown and he would have accomplished his task. It went something like that, anyway...
So I was thinking last night as I was drifting off to sleep that there is an obvious correlation between this parable and the game of golf. As we get older we get stronger and longer with our shots on the course, until a point where we peak physically and fundamentally. At that point we continue to get older (we always will!) and eventually start getting weaker and shorter with our shots until ultimately we give up the game because it just isn't fun anymore when it takes you five full shots to reach the green on your favorite par-4.
Perhaps what we need to do then is figure the absolute farthest distance at any given time that we can hit our driver, say, and then everyday stay on the driving range until we've hit one that distance or greater. That way we'll never lose distance and live happily ever after because we certainly couldn't get so old and frail in one day's time that we couldn't hit the ball as far as we did the day before, could we? Could we...?