Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Good use for an old 2-iron

I gave up trying to hit my 2-iron years ago. And last year, my 3 and 4 irons were also relegated to the mud room closet when I bought my awesome Cobra 3 and 4 hybrids.

But tonight, I finally found a use for those old long irons - self defense. You see, we live in the country; not the deep woods, but in a pretty woodsy part of town. The other day around 6:15 am, as is my custom, I walked out to the curb-some 150 feet-in my bathrobe to fetch the paper. This time of year, it's always a pleasant little stroll, and pretty private as we live on a cul-de-sac. I got back to the house, tossed the paper on the couch for my wife to read later, and glanced back out the front windows. To my amazement, there in the driveway was a coyote, sniffing the ground where I had just walked.

That gave me a bit of pause, needless to say. One coyote is not much of a threat, but I've heard packs of them howling near here, and saw a litter of 8 pups right off the #5 fairway at the club. I wouldn't feature getting surrounded by a pack of them, looking for breakfast.

So, tonight when I remembered I'd left the trash containers out at the curb today, I took my old 2-iron with me when I went out in the dark to fetch them in. Just in case....

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Dream Fulfilled

Walking up the long hill on the 18th, past the signature tree in the middle of the fairway to where my second shot lay, I thought it had eluded me. After equaling my best score on the front nine, a 38, I had been trying not to tally my score mentally on the back, so as to avoid putting any pressure on myself. But I knew I'd been doing ok. Then one of my foursome, Joey "Diamonds", said "Joe, you could break 80. Bob has you for 35 after 17." I quickly reviewed the holes in my mind. "No," I said, "I had a six on 13, so that makes me 36". But, still with a par of 5 on 18, I could post 38/41.

Reaching my ball, I found I had a little under a full wedge to the green. I pulled my pitching wedge. No way I'm going to risk putting it in the left bunker with a weak sand wedge or skulling it over. This one has to be on the green. Somehow I managed to collect myself, find my swing thought and pull the trigger. I caught it well, and saw it fly onto the green, looking like it was somewhere past the pin. Whew!

When I got up to the green I found it had rolled about 20 feet past the front-placed pin and was near the middle right edge of the green. Two putts, my friend, this has to be two putts. I'd been putting ok, but I'm not a great lag putter and the 18th green is very fast from back to front. This was not the time to get a yip and roll it many feet by. Gut-check time. It's all kind of hazy right now, but I managed to not over-study the putt and stroked it ever so gently toward the hole. At about halfway, it seemed I'd gotten the pace right. "Good speed, Joe", I heard someone say. It drifted a little right and ended up a few inches past the hole. I tapped in. I'd done it. 79.

As I walked off the green, to the congratulations of my foursome, it seemed a bit unbelievable, almost anti-climactic. I had actually broken 80. For years, I'd dreamed of what that would be like, and now I was living it, walking off the 18th, with the intention of buying drinks for everyone in the bar. It had happened without any fanfare, pretty much a regular Thursday round, except for the score. The thing about golf is that you never know when that good golfer inside you is going to show up, the breaks will go your way, and you'll do something way outside your experience.

Now, to do it again!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Opening Day

My club opened yesterday. It's been an awfully cold April so far here in Connecticut, and yesterday was no exception. It was sunny, but blustery. I was not planning to play yesterday, but Fr. Tony called and convinced me to go out. Glad he did. We played the front nine before the wind finally got to us. In the calm areas, sheltered by trees or hills, it was quite comfortable, though. Tony had a six pack in his car, so we scrounged around the not-yet-open kitchen for an opener and had a couple of brewskis on the back porch of the clubhouse. The porch faces south and looks on the ninth green and fairway. In the lee of the clubhouse and with the sun shining, it was nice and warm. Excellent.

Opening day and really the first couple of weeks of spring is a great time. You run into friends you haven't seen since the previous fall, and savor the prospect of a whole season of spring, summer and fall before you. It's one of my favorite times of the year.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Take GolfGirl's survey

If you have a few minutes, pop over to Golf Girl's Diary and take Patricia's Golf Girl Sex Survey.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Always a welcome event

It hardly seems possible, but there's talk already about the 2007 Masters. Like the start of baseball's spring training in February, talk of the Masters is a harbinger of spring and the summer to follow. It's something to hold onto to get you through a long snow-belt winter.

It may seem a bit premature to be talking about The Masters in December. But to my mind it's never too early to close one's eyes and hear the pastoral CBS theme music, to see the luxuriant fairways and blossoming spring flowers and imagine the fresh pungent smell of loblolly pine.

The Masters is by far my favorite tournament to watch. It's like comfort food for the eyes and ears. Yes, that's the word: comfort. The Masters embraces you with its tradition, its permanence. You sink into its soft cushions of history. Come, sit under the spreading tree in back of the clubhouse and forget the troublesome news of today. The Masters transports you back to a gentler, kinder, more gracious time. There, over on the practice green are Jones, Sarazen, Nelson, Hogan, Palmer, a young Nicklaus. The soft cluck of balata as white balls curl slowly toward the holes. The murmur of polite conversation, the clink of ice cubes on cut glass. And everywhere, green. Fragrant, freshly mown green grass and pine needles.

Someday, I hope to get to Augusta, even if it's just for a practice round or the par-3 tournament. It's a pilgrimage every golfer should try to make.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Caddyshack meets Beachwalks

I have the privilege of an on-and-off email conversation with Roxanne Darling, the serene hostess of the videoblog Beachwalks with Rox. In fact, today she even gave me a little shout-out about a topic I had written her about.

Roxanne has a great P.O.V. on the world and life that revolves around the aloha spirit of Hawaii, where she lives and blogs from. One of her mantras is "Passionate and not Invested". Which is to say, care intensely about what you do, but be able to let it go and simply trust that the result will be good.

In other words.... "Stop thinking. Let things happen. And be...the ball"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"We've got the best game."

I remember once seeing Tom Kite being interviewed about how golf competes for audience with other pro sports, and he said, "We've got the best game."

True dat, Tom. True dat.