George Dessinger of Mount Vernon, N.Y. is a professional musician who plays the flute, piccolo, saxophone, clarinet and bassoon. In between gigs and teaching, me, among others, he plays golf all year long, like the postman, impervious to weather. Fit and tanned at 62, he is a man for whom the word duffer might have been invented. Music is his livelihood; golf is his passion. To take a flute lesson from Dessinger is to learn a lot about golf. When he opens his instrument case, golf books fall out. Most are published by the authors at their own expense. The lowliest pro on a golf tour is probably better known than some of the self-appointed instructors with surefire systems for lowering Dessinger's handicap of 20. He doesn't care. He searches for perfection on the fairway the way a Zen Buddhist yearns for Nirvana in a temple. He will read anything and try any system at whatever cost.
Fred Akel's A Different Approach to the Game of Golf (� 1975 Akel, $5.95) suggests that all Dessinger need do is find his "dominate side" by studying the direction of the hair whorl on the crown of his head. Most of Dessinger's whorl departed at about age 50; what is left is nondirectional. Allan Starr in The Easy Way to Lower Your Golf Score (� 1975 Starr) recommends that the flautist-golfer program his mind with positive pictures of golf balls sailing over water hazards, a method called "psychontrol," but Dessinger is still getting his feet wet. He occasionally invests in gadgets. The instructions that came with a weighted plastic disc suggested he put talcum powder on the carpet before using it. "Not on my carpet," said his wife.
"Most of these secrets don't work for me," says Dessinger, pulling out the Phil Cooper Golf Improvement Plan (Lincoln Press, Tulsa), which includes instructions for making a device to show visually the path of a club-head, using two three-by-five index cards and a can of Campbell's soup. It doesn't say whether a golfer should eat the soup first. On to The Magic Move of Golf (� 1974 Allan C. Sears). To find your "left chest...place your right fingertips at your throat." Dessinger almost strangled himself. Then just as we raised flutes to lips for our weekly struggle with a Kuhlau duet, out fluttered Jack Heise's How You Can Play Better Golf With Self-Hypnosis. Dessinger looked embarrassed. "This week," he admitted, "I'm playing off my belly button." All of which goes to prove that where there are golfers there will be books to make a hole-in-one(s) pocket.