My friend Bob and I worked out an agreement. He would teach me how to play golf and I would show him how to fish. I must be a much better teacher than he is. The first day of fishing Bob reeled in a shark. On my initial time on the links, I lost three new balls in the water hazard from the first tee.
Before that first shot off of the tee, I opened a new pack of balls and the first one went into the water. The second one also went into the water. I picked up the third ball and just threw it in. Bob asked, “What are you doing?” I said that I was avoiding making another divot.
Bob instructed me how to adjust my grip and how to stand: shoulders straight, head down, feet at shoulders’ width, knees slightly bent, arm straight. He added, “Now, just relax!” Right!
I teed off and yelled, “Fore!” Bob said I didn’t need to do that because fish can’t hear.
I realized that I had an advantage over other golfers. I had taken college biology. Therefore, I could describe exactly where my ball had landed. (“I found it! Here it is next to the Tsuga Canadensis, lying in a patch of Toxicodendron radicans.”)
Each of my shots went off to the right or left, rather than in the middle of the fairway. I asked how I could get the ball to go straight. Bob suggested that I shift my stance. Perhaps it looked unusual to see someone standing at the tee turned 180º totally away from the direction of the hole.
When I did manage to get the ball to go down the fairway, I often ended up in the bunker. Bob did tell me that golf etiquette meant that I could not use the golf cart as a dune buggy nor should I make sand castles. There went a lot of potential fun.
I saw the club pro on the course and I told him I would appreciate some advice. The first thing he did was ask me what my handicap was. I said that was politically incorrect and I would definitely speak to his boss about that.
When I finally did make it to the green, I realized I needed help. Based upon prior experience, I commented that I would appreciate it if Bob could pretend to be a windmill between me and the hole.
I have to admit that I was very proud of myself on my first day playing golf. As we added up our scores, I gloated that I managed to shoot my age. Bob reminded me that wasn’t supposed to be for the first two holes but for the entire course. He also said that in golf, one must keep his own score card. That seems like a good incentive for persons poor at math to get better at the game.
It helps to have someone critique your game. I asked my friend what would improve my playing. Bob said that I was standing too close to the ball—after I hit it. He also gave me some other hints. He suggested that I buy the most expensive clubs, fancy head covers, a very nice leather golf bag, monogrammed tees, top quality balls, the best of golf clothes and really nice golf shoes. I asked if that would help my game. Bob said, “No, but it just might intimidate the others in your foursome and hopefully they will think you are just having an off day.”
So, if you ever dredge golf balls out of a water hazard, those brand new Titleists are mine.