Posted: Monday March 28, 2005 11:38AM; Updated: Monday March 28, 2005 11:38AM
My wife, of course, doesn't understand any of this, and doesn't get why golf motivates me unlike anything else in my life. Either way, she has accepted it and realizes that the complete set of Nike Slingshot irons she gave me for our anniversary is the greatest present ever given to me in my life.
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Why is golf so addictive? Before I played I derided it, saying it wasn't even a sport. After playing 36 holes in the last 36 hours (and shot a 109 and 110), I'm sore enough to know that it really is a sport. But what has me hooked more than anything is the game, between my mind and my body. Can I make my arms and legs move in the same way on every swing? Can I strike the ball cleanly and evenly and put it exactly where I'm aiming? Can I regroup after I whiff and hot the ball two yards instead of 200? Can I stop three-putting on every hole?
I think of golf often. If I get a 6 on a par-4 hole, it doesn't seem that bad. A professional should do it in 4, but I'm happy with taking just two more swings. This seems minor, but if I average a 6 on every hole, that's 108, which is 9 over the total I'm aiming for. Where can I shave a few strokes?
Because I play so infrequently, I've never bothered to take a lesson. I watch the Golf Channel obsessively and read all the golf mags, but those tips don't seem to resonate while I'm playing. I don't care how Tiger hits while embedded in a bunker. I need to know how regular people hit from the sand. I mentioned this to my brother-in-law's dad yesterday, and he suggested I grip the club softly -- "like holding a baby bird" -- to increase my distance. I explained that I don't have a problem with distance; I have a problem with consistency, largely relating to my aim. I drive long and hit a killer 4-iron, but I tend to fall apart the closer I get to the hole.
And this is where you come in: I want your help. Just above is a little box where you can send me an email message. I want your tips. How did you improve your golf game? What should I be thinking while I'm out there? What should I read? I think I've made myself about as good as I can be. Now how good can a golfer can Scorecard Daily readers make this man?
Lang Whitaker is the online editor at SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.