"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Good Walk Spoiled?

It has been one week since my last run. I have no excuses. It simply is what it is.

But as I traversed 5 ½ miles this morning, I thought of the all the times over the past few years my running partner, Bill and I, have experienced a vacillation in our regimen; often in sync and sometimes independently.

The causes for falling off the wagon so to speak are many and as I ran this morning, the spring like atmosphere led me to contemplate Bill’s other passion (and potential cause for increased vacillation); golf.

If you’ve perused Bill’s blog - Tow Da Line – you know he is an avid golfer. But I know he is not only an avid golfer, but also an exceptional one. And by exceptional, I mean both in terms of his skill at the game as well as his willingness to golf with those with little or no skill, like myself and in doing so, lend his expertise in helping one improve their game.

Golf for me is a very enjoyable exercise even though I consider breaking 100 to be cause for celebrations involving Dom Perignon and a fine Cohiba.

No, the PGA Tour is definitely not in my future but like many, I do have the occasional exceptional shot which keeps the dream alive. And in doing so, keeps me coming back in the hopes that perhaps someday the exception might become the rule.

It is with this in mind I offer the following dissertation penned after a particularly challenging day on the links several years ago.



It goes without saying to step up to a tee box and address a golf ball in the presence of others is to, in a sense, expose and lay bare one’s self for all to see and more importantly, critique. However, the undeniable truth known to all who play or have ever played is that, it is the ball itself, which is the genuine intimidator. This small, seemingly unassuming dimpled orb sits smugly atop the erect tee, silently taunting and jeering as one struggles to dispel the voices of despair that incessantly echo within one’s ears.

As the golfer attempts to complete his or her pre-drive checklist; feet at shoulder width, head down, elbow locked, measured back swing, coiled release and follow through, the object of their obsession continually interjects painful reminders of; the ball swallowing pond to the right, the Black Forest where balls have been known to vanish forever on the left, the sand trap created by a meteor strike and the $896.22 that has obviously been wasted on clubs, lessons, videos, green fees and apparel.

Adding insult to injury, this demonic device will periodically fly in the proper direction, attaining sufficient loft so as to allow it to travel an acceptable distance, thereby perpetuating the illusion that one may actually possess some degree of knowledge about that which one is doing. Of course, it is very likely that whatever smattering of confidence such a shot may have produced, will be immediately and totally obliterated as the second shot will either dribble a pathetic ten feet along with a just excavated boulder sized clump of earth or will instead leap from the sod and fly in a direction that is exactly 90 degrees away from that which was intended. Either result inevitably produces a rejuvenated effort by the ball to further its goal of dominating its opponent to such a degree that what remains is no more than a wretched and dismal mass of poorly dressed goo.

Striving to survive this battle of wits and therefore their sanity, golfers often employ various tactics which are designed to improve their odds of overcoming the ball’s antagonistic attacks. These include wearing a favorite hat or sweater, carrying a lucky ball marker in their left pocket, sacrificially slaughtering a goat prior to beginning the round or drinking volumes of adult beverages before the hour of 10 am.

So why do we play?

Why do we subject ourselves to this abusive, sadistic ritual of self-degradation?

Two reasons, I believe.

The first is the thrill of the occasional good shot produces a sensation which is both euphoric and addictive, not unlike heroin. In fact, if the truth were known, I would speculate that many a 7-Eleven has fallen victim to the unstoppable cravings of a gaudily dressed golfer in need of money for green fees.

And second, in an obscure way, golf provides us an opportunity to restore some degree of balance into our lives by not so subtly reminding us we are about as far from perfect as anything can be.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a goat to slaughter.

“Golf is a game in which you yell "Fore!", shoot six, and write down five” - Paul Harvey

1 comment:

Bill Lawfield said...

We need to get back on the wagon. I will start tonight. Wiley Three Miler. See you when I see you.