When our editor began looking for someone to captain our Boys and Girls Club golf team, it only made sense that she came to me first. That’s because, being that I was once a sports editor, I’m naturally a great golfer.
Just like I’m a great shot-put thrower, quarterback, point guard, stock-car racer, extreme skateboarder, free-style swimmer and calf roper. In fact, I sometimes wonder where I might be today had my sports career not been tragically cut short by my complete lack of athletic talent.
This discovery was made as early as first grade, when, during a dodge ball game, I was knocked unconscious and rushed to the nurse’s office after being hit by the ball.
(And I should mention that recess only lasted 10 minutes in those days.)
So, when my editor asked me to captain our golf team, I of course said “Yes!” After which I was knocked unconscious by a loose dodge ball in the newsroom.
Okay, that didn’t really happen, but I did agree to captain the team, which meant giving myself a crash course on golfing — beginning with golf terminology. I immediately got online for help and, thanks to the power of the Internet, found myself on an inappropriate website after typing in the first term on my list:
For anyone else who might be looking to the Internet for golf-term clarifications, I’d also suggest avoiding Scotch foursome, shag bag, and loose impediments. While these are all legitimate golfing terms, try explaining that to your editor when she finds you doing an Internet search for the term double-D.
(Which, by the way, means when a driver is used on the fairway after it has also been used to tee off — so THERE, Ms. Smarty Pants!)
After getting a handle on the game’s terminology, the next thing on my list was golf etiquette. I know for a lot of people, one of the things that keeps them from actually trying golf is the fear of unintentionally doing something that, as a result of not knowing the proper etiquette, gets them clubbed to death by someone with a 9-iron.
That’s because, to the outside observer, things that seem to warrant a good clubbing are actually no big deal. You want to swing your club and take a six-inch gouge out of an otherwise perfect lawn?
Want to drink a beer AND drive an electric cart through the woods?
However, walk between someone’s ball and a small hole in the ground, and there’s a good chance you’ll be found floating in a water hazard.
The thing to remember is that you will undoubtedly make some mistakes your first time on the course, and that’s to be expected. What won’t be expected is a hollowed-out golf club that can be loaded with tees and used as a blowgun should you need to defend yourself.
But you didn’t hear that from me.
This brings us to the actual fundamentals of playing golf — which begins with finding your “natural swing.” Ask any golfer the secret to doing this, and they’ll tell you it’s all about having the proper grip. To achieve this, simply make sure the back of your left hand, as well as the palm of your right hand, are both facing your target. Then, using the thumb of your right hand as a guide, wrap your fingers around one side, then do the same with your left while, very slowly, bringing them both back into a perfect arch so that your beer doesn’t spill on the way to your mouth. After a couple of practice swigs, place your beer back in the cooler and tee-off.
This may not improve your swing much, but it will provide you with a legitimate excuse as to why you shot a 187 on a par 72 course.
And if that isn’t enough, you can always claim that playing in a mixed foursome was just too darned distracting.
(You can write to Ned Hickson at email@example.com, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)