Thought Block

This picture above shows #1 at Wakonda during the time when the fairways were being reseeded with a new hybrid bent grass. The hole is a dogleg left with a hump of about 10 foot tall and forty yards long, transecting the fairway of the dogleg’s bend. This small hill acts as a shield, and most average drives of 230 yards drawn or hit into this mound will roll right, and leave an approach with an uphill lie and greater than 150 yards (the marker is on the upslope of this inclined impediment). When I first played this hole ever five years ago, I looked out and saw the dogleg and the trees marking the bend, and I thought -“jack it over those trees with a draw” and I did, leaving me with a 100 yard pitch. When I later explained to an established member, he looked at me with some concern, and said, “you can’t do that!

To this day, I have not been able to recreate that shot because I hear that thought in my head, “you can’t do that!

High Expectations

IMG_0205There is a golfer who has written a book about breaking par (link) in the span of a year from a state of hack. I am a fan of windmill tilting, and I have preordered the book. The author is on Twitter probably by order of his publicist, but his genuine reticence to go full tilt shill convinced me of his genuine qualities.

I think for someone with a reasonable swing, going from bogey to par golf is an achievable goal if it is dissected as a process, much like making a good pot of coffee, a perfect pancake, or repairing a ruptured aneurysm. I fancy that I can make my swing work on occasion.

Of course, unlike the previously mentioned procedures, golf involves a great deal of emotional baggage. A round of golf can reveal emotional subtext like nothing else except for maybe Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

You see the flashes of perfection like the fluttering of angel wings at the periphery of your vision. The ball sometimes flies as if guided by Providence. These shots out of our dreams are glimpses of our better selves.

As much as I try to put bad shots out of my mind, I think the key to the next level is getting the good shots out of my mind -or at least the most recent good shot. I will concentrate on blocking out the past and on facing the present situation -it’s natural as breathing in my profession, so I must strive to apply it in my avocation.

If you double after a birdie, you’re still one over for two holes where typically you’d be two over, so what’s the problem? I think the birdie is as much the problem as the double bogey, and my goal for this year is to focus on the present -the address, the stance, the takeaway, the rhythm, the swing, the follow through, and keeping my head still. The cosmic injustice of double bogeys following birdies will have to be stowed away for discussion after the match.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Master Yoda.

Competition is an integral part of golf. Keeping an accurate handicap is the only honorable way to level the playing field. I proudly carry my most recent handicap card and keep a USGA Rules of Golf in my bag. It also means competing with my neighbors in our annual HAC series of tournaments, and entering in the tournaments in my club. Will keep you posted.

Live Forever

The hyperbaric chamber reached mythical status when it was found that Michael Jackson slept in one at the height of his fame. Once the patient is sealed in the tank, the pressure in the tank is sent up to several atmospheres with increased levels of oxygen. This is useful in treating decompression sickness (the bends), carbon monoxide poisoning, and maybe some nonhealing wounds.

It sits in an unused part of the hospital, but I can understand its charms. It has a sci-fi movie feel to it, and the only way to talk to the person inside is via a telephone -COOL! It makes you think of pharoahs, pyramids, and immortality. It’s just a plexiglass pressure tank. 

Why do people want to live forever? It’s a supreme form of egotism. I rather like the view that being subjected to life is much like playing a round of golf on a municipal course on a sunny Saturday in the spring. It takes patience, a bit of smiling when you don’t want to, and the reflexes to duck when you hear “fore.” If this is life, then heaven is an championship caliber course in prime condition empty behind and ahead of you, with your favorite chosen companions, your stalwarts, playing by your side.