The Back Page

Personally, I hated returning to school in the fall. I considered it an obstacle in
the way of playing golf. The annual ritual of buying school supplies, which
now apparently include I-pads and other I-thingy’s, well underway. But here’s
my point, recession or not, however outrageous and criminal they are in D.C.,
however much the globe warms, gas prices up and down, Kate’s topless scandal,
the Mayan predictions, life, ordinary, normal life, goes on. In America, it’s
only been seriously disrupted a very few times – the Depression, World War II
– and for about a month after the 9-11 attacks. By and large, life goes on.

Somewhere on every golf course, one of the richest club members with the latest
technology and a working stiff with 20 year old persimmon sticks arrive
and leave with the same problem – someone put that big oak tree on the left
side of the fairway that always catches their ball.

It’s so easy and dangerous to get pulled into a small, confining box by the
newest club you own. Easy to forget how little the Golf Gods care about that,
even when you thought it was finally the solution. As a golf professional, I got
over it years ago. The belief that I had a favorite or “lucky” club or that one
brand of club was inherently better than another (in full disclosure I play Titleist
because they have always treated me better than the other brands). Sure
it’s easy to contrive up fake enthusiasm over a new club for a day or two, but
then you go out to use it on the course and you realize it is just a golf club and
it puts you in the exact same space as the working stiff and his persimmon
driver. And that is this month’s big lesson of harsh reality for back to school
month. Get over your equipment. Get into your swing.

If you are one of the several hundred or so new golfers who joined this summer,
you probably found that horribly harsh. Not at all what you wanted to
hear. You might be tempted to run to Mommy and tell her I’m being mean to
you. Look, this is the MANDATE FOR GOOD GOLF. Somebody’s gotta tell
you the truth: Just having the latest wizbang plutonium driver entitles you to
nothing, not even a good bounce out of the tree.

Hang around here and you’ll get really, really sharp at connecting with the
Golf Gods on their level so they’ll line up to give you all their birdies. But you
gotta start with reality, not dream, hope, illusion, delusion or worst of all, some
sense of entitlement attached to how “good” your clubs are. Being an innovator
or early adopter with the latest golf technology is admirable, but still, any
nitwit with a few thousand dollars can buy the best clubs. The birdies are
in learning how to use ‘em. And surprise, surprise,
they won’t make birdies themselves.
The bell has rung. Stop stalling and get to class


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