This kid thing is hard. I mean, it’s a joy and all that, but it leaves little time for the other important things in life like golfing or blogging about golf. So once again I start a post with an apology for not posting. I was this close (thumb and finger held forward) to letting this blog die but when I logged on to my email and saw so many wonderful comments I decided (with my wife’s blessing), to put concerted effort into the blog. So here goes (and thanks)…
The old man, the artist, and the househusband.
DeLaveaga Golf course – which is right up the street from my house -- is still under construction and still allowing unlimited golf for 10 bucks. So during the last couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to sneak out of the house and play 9 holes three times. The first time I played I started off alone, which was fine, because it allowed me to really test the limits of SortaGolf. I took 2 mulligans on the first tee (there was no one behind me), improved my lie on the fairway, practiced chipping for about 15 minutes when I got close to the green, then three putted.
As I was teeing up on the second tee, in the distance I saw the figure of an elderly gentleman tugging his clubs down the first fairway and waving his hand. I looked around but I didn’t see anyone around. He continued to wave and walked faster when he noticed that I noticed him. When he was within earshot he yelled out, “Hey, I hate playing alone, mind if I join you.”
I was torn, but what are you gunna say? “Of course not,” I yelled back.
When the guy ambles up next to me I figure he must be pushing 70 and he just trudged the entire fairway of a short par five at a pretty good clip, and I’m more out of breath from bending over to tee my ball then he is. He was a nice guy though. For the first few holes I was playing pretty even with him. He was straighter and shorter than I, but I was hanging in there and making some good recovery shots. But somewhere around hold six it all started to go bad. I was spraying my shots like a blind machine-gunned. But I had a good time with the old guy. Turns out he’s actually 72, retired, plays 3 times a week, and is very proud of the fact that he doesn’t take one pill. And he credits golf to his good health. He also taught me about drool. Well, not drool, actually, DRUL -- Downhill Right, Uphill Left. And you know, I think it really works that way.
After we finished the ninth hole he asked me if I was going to join him for another nine (during the construction, only the back 9 is open for play). I told him I had to leave and that I need to take another lesson before I played again. “Forget the lesson,” he told me. “Save your money. You know how to hit the damn ball. You have a pretty good swing. It’s obvious that you’ve already had lessons.”
“Yeah,” I said, “but look bad I am.”
“You just have to get used to making good shots,” he said. “Go to the range, take your 9 iron, and hit a whole bucket with it. You can hit the 9 ok. Just keep hitting that 9 all day long and groove a swing. Then, when the 9 is grooved, try the eight. Hit ‘nuthin’ but the 8 until it’s grooved. And keep going. Spend your money at the range or on a course.”
Good advice, I thought. I tried it. It worked pretty well. I got that 9 grooved, and the 8 and 7 too. Then I got to my archenemy, the 5 iron, and before I knew it I was talking to my pro.
I had a lesson on Saturday.
Well, that’s it for the old man story. Check back this week and I’ll finish up with the artist and the househusband, two fellows I played with at “De La” recently.