I am one of the miserable millions who try to play golf. I would claim to actually play, but anyone who has seen me in action knows trying is all I can claim.
I don’t know why I continue to subject myself to selfhumiliation, but invariably I find myself back on the course, convinced this time the results will be better than, say, the last 800 times I played. I could probably use a few lessons or actually try practicing occasionally, but then where would the challenge lie?
So, I continue to shank, slice, duck hook, chilly dip, blade, and plain ol’ fashioned choke at every possible available moment.
I’m not the worst golfer ever, just the worst that still has all four limbs and two eyes. Despite this fact, the golf world still believes they can salvage my game … or do they just see a sucker coming and figure they can sell me something? Problem is, they want to sell me things that have no chance of improving my game.
Take, for instance, all the new drivers. We have Big Berthas and Cobras and clubs that you can dial up different degrees on, all to improve the drive. They all yell to the rooftops that they can increase my drive by 20, 30, even 40 yards.
Why in the name of Abraham Lincoln would I want to increase my drive by 40 yards? I already hit the drive 5 yards into the woods. Why would I want it to go 40 more yards into the woods? Right now occasionally I can still find my ball after a tee shot. If it goes 40 more yards, I may as well hook up a lawn mower yard trailer to the back of the golf cart and fill it with balls.
If it is not a new driver, they want me to watch instructional videos. Just ask my wife. I do not take well to instructional anything.
They always have some guy who can hit 18 drives in a row down the middle and then chip in from 80 yards off the green. What in the world does this guy know about how it is to play golf like T. Gamble?
They’ll start something like this: “I’m 80 yards off the green, middle of the fairway and need to put this one close. Play this shot a little to the back of your stance and put your weight to the left foot, knees slightly bent, swing a full swing, but not too quick … blah blah blah.”
I don’t need instructions on how to hit a wedge from 80 yards out in the middle of the fairway. I need instructions on how to hit a wedge from 80 yards out between two pine trees, an overhanging limb, and tree root protruding four inches high two inches behind my ball.
I need instructions on how to maintain one’s dignity while getting ready to hit my second shot directly beside the ladies’ tee as every person I have ever known decides to ride up and talk with my playing partner just as I prepare to launch the second shot into the woods.
I need a putter that will warn me — loudly, like the “Lost in Space” robot — “Danger, Danger” every time I prepare to pull the putter too far back and slam a putt 20 feet past the hole.
I need anything, something, any device known to man that can extricate me from the sand trap. I already know a sand wedge will not work. Neither will a 56-degree wedge, 62-degree wedge or size 11-and-a-half golf shoe.
I also need a shredder built into my golf cart so I can shred the score card before anyone else sees it even though I shaved 5 strokes off the score already by forgetting to count two penalty strokes, a missed four-foot putt, and two foot wedges out of the trees.
But what I really need is someone to play with worse than me, although I’m not sure I could stomach watching such a thing.
Email columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.