Cover people

Attached is a link to a Youtube video showing Arnel Pineda. He is a Filipino singer who can channel Steve Perry of the band Journey. The video is of Arnel, NOT Steve Perry. The story is that Journey, in need of a lead singer, happened upon Arnel on Youtube and has now hired him as the lead vocalist. Which leads to the strange situation of Journey now being the best Journey cover band. But this is no isolated incident.

All bands eventually end up covering their own songs, carrying themselves on their earlier success. This happens to people as well, as I see people whose greatest moments had happened in high school, college, or ten years ago, but not now. They are cover people, basically doing an adequate job mimicking themselves when they were at their best. Golfism rejects this in that it is very important to stay in the NOW, and to create and play golf for the shot at hand and not for future or past glory.

Making a Tiger

Pictured here is my son, G, who just had his cast removed last week -he fell off the monkey bars and broke his right radius and ulna (both forearm bones). He has finally loosened up to where he wants to play golf again. It makes me wonder if it is possible to create a Tiger or if Tiger was just born that way. G likes to hit the ball, but mostly, he likes to be with me, and that’s great. I don’t interfere with his swing right now because he’s recovering from an injury, but it is fantastic to see him whack a ball straight and long every once in a while. I hope he ultimately decides to take up golf for himself, and not just to see his old man smile.

Grass is growing

The new grass is establishing itself on Wakonda’s fairways and greens. Parts of it look like it would be ready for golf. The plan is to get the roots winter-proof and it looks good. Awaiting progress report from J. Temme. The soil patch on the left bottom of this picture is the practice green which is getting redone -it will be larger and have more interesting topography. I’ve decided to reel in the play and practice my putting more as I am striking the ball pretty well. 

Pictured left is Wakonda Club#8. The grass is growing in on the fairways and on the green. My hope is for that perfect greeny golf sanctuary come May. Can’t wait.

HAC back

The HAC returns September 26th. It is the big 27 hole event featuring a Ryder cup style competition between the North and South squad. Pictured left is the last event covered here several weeks ago. Unfortunately, I’ll be out of town for it, which is devastating as I had hoped to help defend the North’s championship. Overall, I think North will be better off -I have managed to straighten out my irons but at the cost of some consistency off the tee. As for putting, fuhgeddaboutit. Good luck to all.

Hype from the tips again -the waiting game.

Took today off and went to Hyperion. The course was packed with golfers taking an early weekend. Pictured above, I had hooked into the trees, and am waiting for the group ahead to meander to the green. Which brings me to my least favorite topic: waiting.

Courtesy is central to golfism, and first and foremost, it requires an awareness of other people and their needs. If you happen to be in a chatty foursome and you notice you’ve fallen behind a hole and a half, and you have a chap playing by himself behind you, you put yourself in his shoes. You stop flapping your jaw and think about the times that you had to wait, and how it affected one’s ability to execute shots, to drop putts, to BREATHE. So you wave the fellow up and let him play through. 

It is an act of generosity that is remembered and appreciated, and it acts to spread the love through the recipient’s day. By giving good karma, you receive it again ten-fold. 

But nope, no soup for me today. I played until I could play no more because grandmothers were hitting into me. I picked up on 14 to play another day.

Things that the golfist should not inquire into

“Every human being has an inquiring mind, but I believe there are things that human beings should not inquire into,” Mr. Senge said. 

Mr Senge is the future head priest of the Izumo Taisha, one of the main Shinto shrines of Japan. In a NYT article about the shrine being opened for the first time to the public in 60 years, Mr. Senge is quoted above in reference to how they treat the shrine’s god which was transferred for the duration of the renovations to the shrine. While I think understand the spirit of his assertation, I don’t like the tone of voice which has the stentorian ring of some octopus-headed alien zookeeper to a human menagerie. It is the tone of voice taken by many who take on the mantle of religiosity.  He is described as the future head priest and son of the current head priest. At first read, he sounds like Spaulding, Judge Smail’s nephew from Caddyshack

But are there things that human beings should not inquire into? Isn’t the inquiring spirit that brought us out of the African Savannah and onto every habitable surface on this planet? Isn’t this thing that all of us are doing right now on the internet all about revealing and opening, lifting the skirt and dropping the pants and declaring “Here world -this is what I am and this is what I do.” I am curious, therefore I am. 

I think the spirit of Mr. Senge’s comment is that curiosity by itself is a fairly easy state of mind to achieve -monkeys and toddlers have curiosity. Mystery, its active preservation and acknowledgement, is an elevated function. Whether denying yourself a peek is elevating or not can be debated, but a critical aspect of any religious activity is acknowledging and preserving mystery.

So what are things that the golfist should not inquire into? What are golfism’s holies?



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Lining it up -the Denver Convention

So it begins. We are facing a very serious trimester. A season of bifurcation. Crunch time for USA. 18th hole of the Open, down a shot, facing a monster par 5 that has become reachable because of swirling winds that move predominantly forward -the gusts threaten to knock you down on your face as you size up your drive. Water on the right, waste on the left, bunkers guarding the periphery and any approaches -bunkers to make grown men cry. The whole fairway drains into the water on the right, and green is elevated, a lofty goal. Black hole rough and ashen waste protect you from out of bounds on the left. A single tree sits in front of the tee box requiring the player to go right or left, but the shot has to be cut or drawn back to the center. Whatever happens, like any golf shot, we’ll get the lie that we deserve.

M.W.'s $0.02 on "the Beast and the 5 Towers"

How true is the adage “Golf is a metaphor for life?” The reference to Doral here reminds me it’s true. In fact, golf IS life, no? Whenever I’ve had a chance to play one of the world’s great championship courses, I’ve always been the type who prefers to play from the championship tees rather than from the so-called members’ tees. After all, I don’t feed my family on scoring low on a golf course. What in hell’s in a score? In 1993, the year after the Ryder Cup was played on the Ocean Course at Kiawa Island, South Carolina, I played the course from the championship tees, lost probably a dozen balls, came in with a 112 (I was a 7-handicap at the time) and had the time of my life. Truly mystical. The same year, I played Baltusrol in New Jersey two weeks after the U.S. Open was contested there. I played from the back tees, of course, came home with a 103, and was still mesmerized by the place a week later. A few years later, I went to a business offsite at Doral with my closest work colleagues, and we took an afternoon off to play the championship course, the famed “Blue Monster.” My three playing companions refused to play the back tees and, having forced me into a two-on-two match, I succumbed and played the members’ tees with the rest of them. Except for #18. Although fifty bucks was at stake as walked off the 17 green, I refused to tee off anyplace but the championship tee, despite my partner’s protestations. He was actually pissed. The others teed off safely from the members’ tee, and I—well I was drove into the water left. Long story short: My partner and I lost the match by losing the hole, and my partner—always the gentleman off the course—actually asked me to pay his share of the damages. Come to think of it now, he was always a sort of Chicken Little at work, never much willing to take a good risk. To him, a par is a par and a birdie is a birdie and a bogey is a bogey—in golf as in life—no matter what the challenge. Haven’t talked to him since I moved out of the area in 2003. I don’t know what he’s doing now, except I know it can’t be too thrilling, and certainly not fulfilling.

M. Witt


I took my son and my father to Wakonda for fishing today, and invited my good friend MW and his daughter N. We all got into some fish, but mostly it was about companionship, greenery, and perfect weather. G caught his first fish on a lure today after casting it completely by himself. Fishing has much of the same qualities of mystery for me, particularly fly fishing. The rhythmic movement of the fore and back cast and whipping the line out at will have the same hypnotic effect -it leaves me hyper aware and in the moment, very much alive. All the fish were tossed back, memories kept.