SI Vault
Rick Reilly
July 09, 1990
(And if you believe that, we have a nice little S&L we can snow you)
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July 09, 1990

Sure Cures

(And if you believe that, we have a nice little S&L we can snow you)

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How would You like to hit the ball 30 yards farther Every time? How would You like to say Goodbye to the rough?!? Can you imagine the look on Your friends' faces when you one-putt Everything!!! How does slashing 10 to 15 shots off your score Tomorrow sound? Wouldn't you Love to drive it straighter, shoot for every pin and Never miss-hit a putt again? Well, wouldn't you?!?

We would. Which is why, a year ago, we set out in search of the one gadget that would turn the insidious game of golf into nothing much more difficult than lifting a spoonful of Frusen-Gladjé into one's porky little mouth. In short, we were bent on discovering golf's One True Secret.

We tried inflatable arm straighteners, knee benders, head holders, mind trainers, tilted shoes, mystical shirts, secret balls, sticky spray, grip-makers, grip-breakers, two-colored balls, three-colored balls, 812-dimple balls, no-dimple balls, balls that find themselves in the rough, soft putters, hard putters, vibrating, rubber-band and pinball putters, long, short, ultrashort, bent, straight, steel, glass, marble, jade, gold and cowbell putters, straps to hold your arms in, head down, hands together. We bought, borrowed or begged until we had practically every gadget, gimmick, aid, trick, "revolutionary scientific breakthrough" and miracle cure ever invented to improve your golf game. If it promises to give you 20 extra yards, it's in our basement.

Not that we wanted to set out in search of golf's One True Secret. We were drifting along quite happily, not giving a sloth's intestine about golf's One True Secret, until the leaf blower got us.

If you've ever heard a leaf blower, you know that a good one would have gotten Noriega out of the Vatican embassy a helluva lot sooner than Twisted Sister or whatever finally did the trick. Leaf blowers are loud. So it was that we had a cushy little seven-iron into 18 that day, and right in the middle of our backswing a man in green overalls started his world-class leaf blower. We chunked our shot into the large body of water in front of 18 and, visibly shaken, proceeded to deposit the rest of the sleeve there, too. We went on to make a 9, which helped propel us to a 97. For a 12 handicap, a 97 is not a desirable score. A 97 will cause a 12 to: a) walk to the bottom of a lake and eliminate himself from the gene pool altogether, or b) seek help.

Naturally, we did not seek help from our local PGA golf professional. That would have made too much sense. Instead, we sought help from the club know-it-all, Carnac. Carnac took one look at our swing—indoors, because he wouldn't leave the bar—and clearly and concisely identified the problem.

"Droopy knees."

Droopy knees? we thought to ourself. Of course. We must be letting our knees droop, which is why we hit so many shots fat. From then on, droopy knees vexed our life. Droopy knees were all our brain would process. It is very hard to fix droopy knees because, until Carnac told us about them, we never thought of knees at all during the golf swing. It's like someone waking you up in the middle of the night and saying, "You shouldn't sleep with your tongue out like that." Tongue positioning is all you can think of from then on.

Anyway, we began to search in golf magazines for some cure for droopy knees and were amazed at all the ridiculous items available to our Visa card. That's when the proverbial light bulb clicked on. Armed with story approval and an expense account, we began our search. And why not? Golf, more than any other sport, has a history rich in gadgets. Did you know that Alan Shepard's lunar six-iron was a gadget? Yes, it was a club head rigged to a collapsible tool he used to scoop up moon soil. Gene Sarazen came up with a good golf gadget one day in 1931, the sand wedge. Hey, even President Bush is a gadget-head. He putts with the Pole-Kat extralong putter.

So the search began, and, we must say, it was not without its humiliating moments. We bought a thing called the STANCE GUIDE, which we thought sounded scientific. In fact, the Stance Guide was merely arrows you stuck to the toes of your shoes so they pointed to the target. You have not known embarrassment until you've walked into the men's grill with arrows stuck to your shoes.

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