Though I’ve only been golfing a few times in my life, it was clear that my reputation had preceded me at the course last weekend. I know this because golfers immediately traded ball caps for hardhats, then scurried down into the sand bunkers like allied forces preparing for heavy fire. As I took a practice swing, the surrounding trees emptied of all bird species — not in a smooth, organized pattern, but in a frenzied explosion of flapping and panicked birdsong that left three Canada geese lying unconscious in the rough.
Speaking of which, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize once again for the tragic death of that swan near the putting green. Had I known the difference between a putter and a pitching wedge, things might’ve turned out differently for that majestic creature.
Because of my past experiences, I was determined to make things different this time.
By becoming more comfortable with the game. I immediately went online for help and, thanks to the power of the Internet, found myself on a pornography 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, hooded club, loose impediments and (this really goes without saying) woodie.
While these are all legitimate golfing terms, try explaining that to your editor after she finds you on a web page linked to the golf 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. For a lot of people, one of the things that keep 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 go-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 blow gun 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 its all about having the proper grip. To achieve this, make sure the back of your left hand and the palm of your right hand are both facing your target. Then, in a smooth arc, bring them up to your mouth while making sure not to spill your beer.
After a couple of practice swigs, place your beer back in the cooler and you’re ready to tee-off. This may not improve your swing much, but it will provide you with a legitimate excuse as to why you shot a 167 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.