GOLF IS GOOD:
WOULD it be okay to accept what life and God and time have given you, and settle for it?
To say to yourself, very quietly so no one else can hear and hold you accountable, “This is my swing, it’s what I have. I’m okay with it because we’ve been through so much together and we’re more than mates, we’re like lovers. I know you’ll do the right thing by me when you can. Of course there’ll be days you let me down by being weak or insipid or downright stupid. But on others, you’ll surprise me by being so Goddamn lovable and perfect. Those are the days we’ll cherish.”
Or is that not okay? Should we all be hell bent on being better, for if we’re not better, are we actually worse?
So many questions, I know, but this is the stuff that’s been clogging up my better thinking moments and it’s time to let the demon loose and see if anyone else wants to lose some sleep. Seriously. There was a bloke in our four the other day and he’s just come back to golf after an extended break because he was rebuilding his swing.
He’s 51-years-old! He plays off two! TWO! And he’s just taken his swing into the shop for a major overhaul.
Now, I don’t know about you, but nothing shits me more than people who talk about their swing faults aloud. Okay, parking inspectors definitely grate on me, and people who park in disabled spots and morons driving on the freeway reading text messages are the worst.
But on a golf course, apart from slow players and anything more than two practice swings, it’s the out loud self-coaching golfer. “Man, I gotta stay down a fraction longer while I let that right side catch up with my hands.” I don’t actually know what that means. Or, “longer arms. Just got to remember, longer arms.” What is that?
Well, what it is in reality, is a cue for everyone else in the group to think about the length of their arms when it’s their turn to hit. Same as letting your right side catch up with your hands, or was that the other way around?
For some of us, thinking nothing is better than over thinking.
As a rule, I try not to listen. It’s not because I’m rude, but because I’m mentally and spiritually weak. Such is my love of the game, I’m not of the character to ignore tips that might help me. In fact, this is what’s brought me to the question of whether to try to keep improving, or just living with what I’ve got. I’m not unhappy: at least, I wasn’t. My new mate with the overhauled swing was even off the card after fourteen holes. He didn’t say much about his gap year, only that he was a better person for it. Obviously, I had to ask why. Then, he had to shake his head and look like he wanted to tell me before saying, “it doesn’t matter.” What a bastard. Now I had to know. “It’s fine,” I said. “If you were that good and gave it away, it must have been something heavy, right? Was it the yips? Chilli Dips? Were you shanking or sharting or what? I mean, a whole year for a re-build?”
He gave me a zen kind of look, that said, “Sorry, Oh God, I’m really really sorry.” “What?” I practically begged. This bloke, who had not looked like missing a fairway for just over three hours said, “Well, the thing is. My problem is your problem, too.” “Really?” “Yep. You’ve been doing it all day. Not every swing, but your bad ones, definitely.”
“REALLY?” What evil was this? I was like a kid on grandpa’s knee hearing the best story ever. “You hump the goat,” he stated. “I hump the goat?” “You’re a goat humper!” I looked at the other blokes and apparently there was no side joke associated with this. “You get caught up the top on your inside and then, to get the club to the right spot through impact, you have to do this weird, goat humping motion with your pelvis and it’ll kill you eventually. For me, it was rebuild or die.”
He then went to the tee and pulled two drives in a row out of bounds, ruining his flawless exhibition of golf. “Once a goat humper,” he smiled sadly. “But I’m trying not to be.”
I am lots of things, believe me. If I can’t dodge his latest swing thought, good enough will not be good enough. I’ll be a re-builder, as well.