GOLF IS GOOD:
AH, to squirrel inside the head of the golf tragic, to see the dreams and fantasies we all have from time to time. Do you imagine a world where not only you play golf, but your children love the game as well. It’s probably because you read to them from Golf Australia magazine as they toddled off to sleep. You kept your back copies in the toilet so they’d have something good to read when caught short.
And of course, they’ve grown up, seeing that halo-like glow around you when you come home from golf. They’ve heard the stories, imagined the shots and spent hours wondering how good it must be to be the golfing you. So imagine my joy when not one, but two of my children agreed to come to the driving range. Even better, my wife wanted to come. That’s four out of five Daddos on one range at the same time. I pinched myself! When everyone asked for their own bucket of 100 balls, I knew this was actually happening.
As the lady tallied the bill for the drinks and chocolate bars, the gloves and tees they’d never use, the plan came into focus. I’d hold a short but fascinating clinic for them. “Go find four bays together, orright?” I said to my daughters. “Better get some sports drinks, too,” I added. “This’ll be intense.”
The clinic’d be just the basics: grip, stance, backswing, follow-through.
That’d be stacks. I’d have to be disciplined, not wander off into swing plane territory which could be a bridge too far. Still, if they’ve got half a golfing brain, they’d ask about it, anyway.
I certainly would have if I’d been given a golden opportunity like this when I was right in the guts of the formative golfing years. I would’ve lapped it up like a labrador into a dinner plate.
After the basics, I’d give them a quick demonstration to give them something to aspire to. Truth be told, I also wanted them to watch me and go “wow!” It’s a Dad thing, it’s why we always tell everyone when we’ve mown the lawn. Tonight, tomorrow, and 20 years from now they’d be able to retell the story. “Remember, Dad? Remember? You hit it out of the driving range!” “Did I, really?” I’ll chuckle. We started with the grip, talked about creating the V, why you want to see which knuckles where and a bit about the interlock. I even told them about hanging on tight enough to hold a little bird without strangling it. Who was I kidding? They couldn’t give a shit about any of it. The girls just wanted to beat the hell out of golf balls as fast and as far as possible. My wife was amazing. For the record, she has a swing, as does my ballet daughter, Bibi. They are natural ball-beaters, lots of style but lacking power. Our youngest, on the other hand, the supremely gifted 13-year-old Jasper, looked as if she was trying to split logs of wood. Where the other two swung, she hit. When Jac and Bibs connected, balls took flight. Jasper sent those grubby range balls off as if wounded. She was a monster! If there was a way to connect her follow-through with the backswing of the others, I could truly be onto something. But of course, it’s hard enough to get kids to share couch space, let alone a golf swing. I begged them to watch me, which they dutifully did, but only when they were out of balls. Instead of going “wow,” they went “wah!” As in, “Wah can’t we get more balls, “Daaahd? Wah?”
I must have had 50 balls left to their combined three hundred that had been battered varying distances onto the range. “Give us a few, would you, honey?” my wife said. “I need some help with my driver.”
“Ah,” I said, like a freshly squeezed sucker. “Can I help you?” I already knew she needed to get more weight forward. To follow-through, you know? I was all ready to show her, when she said, “No, I’ll be right. I just have to remember my secret.”
“What’s that?” I said. “You have a secret? You’ve played about five times and you already have a secret.”
“Yep.” she replied. “Breathe out on the backswing. It relaxes me. You should try it, you might relax, too.”
That was it for me, after they drilled the rest of my balls, I’m guessing it was it for them, as well. Next time, I’ll have a proper plan, not just some silly made up clinic. I’m going to write it down and laminate it so they know it’s serious. Like golf.