I am on a golf theme for a while, because we are starting to plan our annual golf trip. My friends have for over the past 40 years have taken a week-long golf tourney and I am a relative newcomer to the trip as I only joined in 2002. The trip is a fun way to bond with friends and I am sure that many of you reading this have similar activities that you did or do with your friends, so as we plan the trip I get to thinking about golf and the friendships I have as a result of the game. This is not a post on golf tips, far from it, I am a duffer and every time I go golfing with my friends, who think they are good golfers they help by giving me lessons. The lessons have gone on for over 20 years and I am improving but ever so slowly. So, giving me lessons is one of the rituals that my friends have developed over the years and they seem to love to give me lessons so I let them give me lessons and enjoy the ritual. I listen to what they say, try some and ignore some of their advice. One of my friends has recently started taking lessons and is always full of good ideas when he finishes his lessons for the week.
In 2002, when I started playing golf my friends were golfing in the low 100’s to the high 90’s. I was golfing in the high 120’s to the low 130’s. Over time I have listened and learned (sometimes well, most times not ) but now I am golfing in the low 100’s to the high 90‘s. They are golfing in the low 100’s to the low 90’s now. Last season I decided not to keep score or at least not write down by my score. I thought by not writing down my score I would have more fun and take the time to enjoy the outing without worry and stress. So far it has worked for me.
I have learned that golf is not something that you can really learn while playing a video game. We have a Wii golf game and when I play it, I do really well, shooting (with the computers help par or better) But the reality is learning how to play golf in real life is sometimes complicated and requires that paying close attention to the exact rules and form. As I said many of my friends take lessons; I did one year and it set my game back for three years. So while learning from a golf instructor is a wise idea, there are a few mistakes that I still have a tendency to make when I play Every time I go out, I try to overcome these mistakes to improve my chances of playing a good game of golf. One day this may happen, but I am not holding my breath.
One of the biggest problems that I have is from time to time I look up when I try to strike the ball. My friends tell me that it is important to always look down until after you have hit the ball. I have one friend who has eye problems so even if he did look up, which he does from time to time, he can’t see more than 50 yards. So, he never knows where his ball is going to land. Lucky for him I am his eyes and keep track of his ball. My problem is that I get used to watching the flight of the ball for him and so when I go to hit my ball I look up but I do so before I hit the ball. Big mistake.
My friends say that to ensure that I stay down until after the hit ensure that I should keep my hips properly rotated. Easier said than done, since my hip replacement I have not yet relearned how to rotate my hips, maybe if I took up line dancing or salsa dancing it might help.
Additionally, I have been told to ensure that I keep my arms extended fully while swinging. A hint given to me by one of my friends is to count to five after I strike the ball before I look up. Great idea, but I get focused on the counting to five and forget to keep my arms extended. I know the counting is to help me pace myself and help me to not look up too quickly.
For over 17 years I have been playing my game by striking the ball to each side of the green, rather than straight ahead. This is a problem caused by many things but I am told this error can be corrected with time and patience. While I hope that after 17 years enough time has passed, maybe I should learn more patience. Any tips on that would be welcome.
I was reminded by another of my friends that I should always focus on my stance. I find that if I don’t stand appropriately before I even swing the club, I am not going to have a successful stroke. I was told to analyze my stance before I swing. When I actually get focused and see my club hit the ball, I notice that from time to time my club is not squarely touching the ball. So to correct this I back up a bit to ensure that I am not hitting the ball from the side of the club. My friends tell me that ensuring a solid, square swing will help your ball go to the desired location with a bit of practice, and consistency. I just have to have some patience.
Another problem I have is hooking the ball but I am told this error can be correct as well. My problem my friends tell me has to do with my stance. My friends have taken a close look at my stance, to help me correct this error. So far no luck. I am lucky I have friends who want to share their new found skills from the lessons they take so that I can slowly become better and maybe one day I will move from playing in the low 100’s to high 90’s to playing in the low 100’s to the low 90’s. I and my friend's golf once a week, and I know to improve I have to golf more frequently. That will not happen soon as my friends and I are very busy with other things, (We are all busier now then we are retired than we were when we were working, where does the time go?) but we do take the time from early April to Mid October to get together once a week to enjoy a walk, hit some balls and each others company. So here is to another summer of fun.
What did one snowman say to the other snowman? “Ca ...