From time to time, most guys will say, “Oh man I suck at golf.” Normally, this comes after an errant shot in the woods, or writing in something less than favorable on your scorecard. But if you play, and have been playing, you’re probably pretty average. A decent adult golfer should be able to hold his own on the course, enough to command some respect from friends or coworkers. Many a business deal has been made on the back nine, and no wedding weekend or reunion trip is complete without a visit to the links. I’ve always admired the game; not just the fact that you get to kick back and drink while doing it, but the challenge of the game itself.
About 11 or 12 years ago, early-teens me chose to stop golfing because it would “interfere with the baseball swing.” And because I was a lazy dumb piece of shit. If I could fire up the DeLorean, the first thing I would do is go back to that guy and tell him, “Keep golfing, it’s god damn fun, you don’t wanna suck when you’re older, and you can’t hit for shit anyways, so you’re going to be a pitcher-only in college.” As I got older, I chose to skip out on golf tournaments and friendly scrambles, with the exception of coming along on a golf cart strictly just to drink. Not being able to play golf was my silent shame.
Since picking up golf a little less than a year ago, I’ve been hooked. But don’t confuse that with being good. I still dread being invited out by clients because they’re going see that even at my age, I’m playing dad golf, and not in a good way. I’m short off the tee, and the closer I get to the hole, the more my game goes to shit. You ever seen Mickelson chip? Imagine the polar opposite of that when I get near the green. Have I putted from rough from 40 yards out? It hurts to say, but you’re damn right I have.
What I think keeps every man going to the range and teeing off on #1 is that there’s always a chance for the next shot to be beautiful. I still suck, but I’m light years ahead of where I was a year ago. The only positive thing I can say about myself is that I’m no longer a constant example of the most miserable golf shots, just an occasional example. I’ve come a long way, but what makes it great/makes you want to snap your clubs is that no matter the progress you make, there is always so far to go.
I can’t believe I’ve been depriving myself for years of the fun struggle of wacking a ball around with little chance of success, all while getting to hang with your friends who are getting tired of your shit.
I’ve put in work on the putting green by dropping a few balls and honing my Spieth-gripped stroke. I’m still a good bet to miss a 5-footer with any pressure on me. The chipping area has become a second home to me over the past few months, and I’m constantly trying different wedges and techniques. My last round I sailed a chip over the green, walked around, and sailed it back over to my original spot. I wasn’t even drunk yet.
I try to practice every club I own at the range as much as possible, and I know that the first step is getting yourself a ball in play off the tee. Well, I couldn’t do it with the driver, so I went to a down a club. And down. And down. Holla at ya boy shamefully hitting a hybrid 3 off the tee a majority of the time because it’s all I can consistently keep in play.
So where am I at? My shameful golf game has left my grateful to break 100 and watching far too many Phil Mickelson YouTube instruction videos when I should be working. Although in some ways, I consider it work, because a quality golf game is working on me and my mental health. I mean, what is a man if he can’t hold his own in a scramble?
Often one of the highlights of my week is when I can go get some work in at the range or go play 18 to wind down the work week. Even though I know I’ll likely spend the entire round balls deep in the sand, hacking furiously at the rough, and mastering my “ahhhhhh didn’t hit that putt enough” grimace and back-lean, I’ll still keep working and golfing as much as I can.
But through it all, it’s worth it when you finally hit that perfect shot that lands where you want on the green and allows you to do the simultaneous club holster/glove pull-off that you’ve been waiting to do. I’m Crash Davis, and if you value enthusiasm and tolerate extremely subpar play, I can be your 4th. .
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