Finding Mudville

  • Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I get asked this question every time I’m around a golf course.
“Say Dan, why don’t you golf?”
My answer is a complicated and multi-tiered one, requiring much thought and introspection: “Because I stink at golf.”
But there are other reasons. I don’t golf is because I golf left handed. I should quit right there and go home.
Bu there’s more. First there are the golfing clothes. I went shopping prior to the Berkeley Hall of Fame golf tournament last week and picked up a lemon yellow shirt to wear and didn’t give it a second thought. Granted I’ve been expanding my color palate of late when it comes to my wardrobe, but a yellow shirt that glows like a highlighter pen shouldn’t be included. I picked out that shirt because it’s what you wear to a golf course.
We look ridiculous and we don’t mind.
The second reason why I avoid golf is what I call my “First and Last Rule of Golf,” which states, “Golf is a game at which you can never win. You just suffer through various degrees of losing.”
And I place great emphasis on the word “suffer.”
I looked at the array of golf bags lined up at the first tee and regarded the vast selection of golf clubs at the player’s disposal. I noted drivers with club heads the size of cabbages and sweet spots so big Stevie Wonder could drive one between the trees. Putters with GPS displays so you can read the length and break of your 30-foot putt for a triple-bogey that coordinates with a NASA satellite orbiting in space.
I see all this technology, GPS tracking, aerodynamic golf balls, clubs that cost more than I pay in rent, all this so you can shoot 95 and feel good about it.
I don’t even mind the green fees that would leave me eating cat food and rice until my next pay day.
There are two reasons why I don’t golf and they are simple reasons really. I stink for one. And two, I stink.
My supporting evidence, if you please.
I’m 23 years old, looking at a par four, 250-yard tee shot. No dog leg, just a straight shot down the fairway. To my left, running adjacent to the golf course are a set of railroad tracks. Being left handed I hit my shot and enjoyed the unique aerodynamics of watching a ball I just hit sail off into the wild blue yonder in a tightly arced slice. The ball hit the railroad tracks to the left of the green and ricocheted high into the air to land six inches from the pin, leaving me with an eagle putt.
Bobby Jones said “Golf is a game played on a surface six inches wide, the space between your ears,” which ironically was also the length of my eagle putt.
I allowed that space between my ears to fill with boastful pride, which is a sin in the eyes of the Gods of Golf.
And the Gods of Golf make you pay for such feelings – I three-putted.
It is a game that will take all my money, a game at which I will never win, and will leave me living one day out of a refrigerator box beneath the Interstate overpass, saving up my quarters until I could afford to hit the links again.
This is why I watch.

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