8 inches of rain the past 4 days. Some wayward thoughts . . .
If you get paired up on the first tee with a guy dressed to the nines and has his name emblazoned on his over-sized golf bag – and it’s a name you’ve never heard of – and has a collection of bag tags that resembles a custodian’s key chain, don’t be afraid to engage him in a friendly wager. Chances are, he’s a poser.
On the other hand – you show up at your local muni looking for a game and a scruffy-looking guy with an old set of blades shows up and want to wager, do so at your own risk. Chances are, he’ll hustle out of a few bucks.
A club pro once told me: However long you hit your 5-iron, multiply that by 36. That’s the total course yardage from which you should play.
A strategically placed tree can make or break a golf hole.
On the other hand – many a good golf course has been hampered by well-intentioned members planting too many trees. This can cut down air circulation and cause fungus issues, particularly around greens. Personally, I like open vistas with trees being the spice, rather than the main ingredient.
A blind shot off the tee is tolerable as long as there is an aiming point like a stake or building.
On the other hand – I once played a course in Williamsburg, VA where a pond was not visible off the left side of the fairway. There was no indication that it was there from the scorecard or hole signage. Note that I said that I “once” played the course.
My friend Brian Robin claims that the long par 3 is the most boring piece of course architecture. Generally I agree, although the 17th at Cyprus Point or 16 at Augusta prove that every rule has an exception.
In Denmark, one must pass a test of basic golf etiquette and rules before setting foot on a golf course. I think that would be a great idea in the US. I also think there’s a better chance of passing stricter gun control laws than ever seeing that happen.
The ideal number for a guy’s golf trip is eight. Any more than that becomes an exercise in herding cats.
Your golf group should include the following:
- A guy who reliably makes tee times
- A guy who can come up with creative bets
- A guy who can come up with creative nicknames
- A guy who can tell outrageous stories that have an element of truth (and that you wouldn’t repeat to your significant other)
- A guy who is generally quiet but once every two rounds comes up with an observation that is so fresh, you can’t wait to share it with someone
Your golf group should, by any means necessary, avoid the following:
- The chronic club-thrower (I think everyone gets one toss a year. Anything after that is subject fpr eviction)
- The high-handicapper who wants to advise everyone else in the group about their games
- The low-handicapper who doesn’t want to engage anyone else
- The needler who can’t take it when it comes back at him
- The slow player. ESPECIALLY the slow player.
At least once a year, I will hear a sport-talk blowhard argue that golf is not a “sport.” Now, I’ll admit that for most of us who play recreationally, what we do equates to beer-league softball. But to succeed at the highest level, one must be willing to hit 500 to 1,000 balls a day and be ready to walk between 5 – 9 miles each round over oftentimes uneven terrain. Professional golfers do have longevity, but the wear and tear that one puts on the back, knees, and hips while executing swing after swing is fierce. Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller have had hip replacements, and Tiger Woods has all kinds of ailments. And those are just the famous guys.
And – if you don’t make the cut, you don’t get paid.
My two favorite golf destinations are St Andrews and Pinehurst. They literally reek of golf, and yet you could bring your non-golfing spouse/significant other to either location and both of you would be happy.
And finally, two pieces of invaluable advice:
Playing golf requires a balance between ibuprofen, Gatorade, and alcohol. If any one of those elements get out of whack, all bets are off.
If you go big on a Friday night (or any night on a golf trip with the guys), the best hangover cure is Pedialyte. No joke. The electrolytes hit your body like a B-12 shot. Plus it’s a decent vodka mixer.