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Inside the Chrome Dome (archive April 2007)

Please refer to the Inside the Chrome Dome main page for columns published in other issues.




 True Golfers Have No Clue of Their Own Limitations

An overwhelming majority of the people I hang out with love this time of year. Under normal weather conditions, this is when we make our return to the golf course and participate in what Winston Churchill likened to “Chasing a quinine pill around a cow pasture.”

The recent sub par weather has prevented many of us soft-core players from trekking to Royal Hylands or Horseshoe Bend golf courses. Instead, we are forced to sit at home and watch the professionals on television, or read about a 102-year-old lady in California who had a hole-in-one. She became the oldest golfer ever to make a hole-in-one on a regulation course, breaking the age record of 101 set by a Florida man in 2001.

I know a lot of men and women who are pretty good golfers and have been playing for a long time, and they’ve never had a hole-in-one. I know guys who have spent over $700 on one club alone and are horrible golfers.

The old saying goes, “Your natural ability as a golfer is in inverse proportion to the amount of money you spend on new equipment.”

Golf can be very frustrating, and many friends of mine say their wives don’t particularly like how much time, or money, they spend on a hobby that can be so difficult.

They just don’t understand.

Why is golf so hard? The Golfer’s Dictionary tells us:

“Put” means to place a thing where you want it. “Putt” is an unsuccessful attempt to do the same thing. I used to be a much better golfer than I am today, but that’s because I read the USGA rules on the game and realized I had to change everything I had been doing. Naturally, following the rules made me worse.

The game is literally impossible to master, and is one of the few sports in which you can play for years and never improve. But there are many reasons for playing the game of golf, and they don’t necessarily include trying to become a better golfer.

One friend told me he plays because, “The golf course is the only place I can take my wife where she can't talk constantly.” I’d tell you his name, but he’s already paid a heavy price for saying that.

Another friend said his wife was always complaining about him wasting money. After he purchased a brand new titanium driver with tailored shaft and grips for $895, he had to try out the club, otherwise that would have been a waste of a lot of money. So this guy actually plays golf to please his wife. The game can be very frustrating, but frustrating is over-rated.

Some guys are so bad at the game that they have their ball retriever re-gripped every year due to the wear and tear, and they don’t care.

Any player can tell you that one of the keys to being a better golfer is keeping your head down, giving you a close look at the large divot you just made. They can also tell you that no successive swings are ever the same, except when you hit consecutive shots out of bounds. And they still don’t care.

I have some single buddies who play golf, and they all say the same thing about their next girlfriend or spouse: She had better love golf.

What other sport has provided so many great one-liners? Every time I play I hear another one that justifies the frustration.

Some of the better quips I’ve heard on the course from the guys I play golf with:

  • “I’m sorry about that, but what the heck is a squirrel doing in a tree, anyway?” – Local electrician Ron Patrick.

  • “These fairways were wider last week.” – Darrin Norfleet.

  • “Anybody got a calculator?” – Kroger meat department manager Jim Stacey.

  • “If I lose one more ball, I’m not playing any more.” – Royal Hylands employee Rob Laboyteaux, digging in his bag and finding his last golf ball.

Other great golf quips from people a little more famous:

  • “You can make a lot of money in this game. Just ask my ex-wives. Both of them are so rich that neither of their husbands works.” -  Lee Trevino.

  • “It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.” - Babe Ruth.

  • “Columbus went around the world in 1492. That isn't a lot of strokes when you consider the course.” -  Lee Trevino.

  • “These greens are so fast I have to hold my putter over the ball and hit it with the shadow.” - Sam Snead.

  • “If you think it's hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.” - Jack Lemmon. “If you're caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron.” - Lee Trevino.

  • “I would like to deny all allegations by Bob Hope that during my last game of golf, I hit an eagle, a birdie, an elk and a moose.” - Gerald Ford.

The only people who truly appreciate the game of golf are those who have played it often enough to know that your final score doesn’t matter. We don’t have to get better at everything to enjoy doing it.

A really old golf joke makes the point possibly better than anything else does:

Two long-time golfing buddies were standing on a hill, waiting for the green to clear for their approach shot. Not too far from the green were two other men fishing.

One golfer turned to the other and said, “Look at those idiots fishing in the rain.”




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