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Monday, September 5, 2011

The New Golf Swing

I am not a great golfer. I love golf and have in the past been a better player than I am now but I have never been a great golfer. My lowest handicap of my life has been a 10 and I was not a 10 for more than a few months. I was a 12-13 for several years, but 10 or 12 years ago, I developed arthritis in my upper back causing my back bones to fuse together and as a resuklt it has become difficult to make a turn. Because of the difficulty in turning back on the backswing and turning through on the down swing, I have lost distance. In order to attempt to regain distance, I have tried 327,000 different golf swings. I might be exaggerating it might only be 325,000 golf swings. I have tried so many variations and techniques that I have forgotten my authentic golf swing. You might recall my blog essay I think we each have an authentic golf swing, the one we were born with. It can be refined, it can be developed but I think it is hard not to have swing characteristics as an adult that you had as a child, but none-the less, many of us seek the elusive better swing, longer drives,  and more accurate iron shots. It is as though we are each, in our own way, a Ponce de Leon, looking for the Fountain of Youth somewhere in Florida.

(For those of you who do not understand the Ponce de Leon reference, you should have not skipped so many history classes in high school. From Wikipedia - Juan Ponce de León y; (1474 – July 1521) was a Spanish explorer. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named. He is associated with the legend of the Fountain of Youth, reputed to be in Florida.)

Sometime in early August, I was hitting golf balls on the practice range at Hidden Valley Country Club. I was trying to see what new golf swing I could find. I tried something different (lifetime swing change number 325,001). I started hitting the ball pretty well. It seemed to be going further and straighter. I could do it over and over and the new swing seemed to worked for me. Was I was excited? No I was damn excited. When I arrived back at the house, I sprinted inside to share my discovery with the Lovely Sharon. Ok, I am a chunky 58 year old man with a bad back so maybe I did not actually a sprint. It was more like the waddle of a fast three toe sloth. I located the Lovely Sharon in the Bud Cav. She was writing cleaning advice to me in the dust on my desk. Sometimes I wonder how dumb she thinks I am. She can only write “Dust Me” so many times on my desk before I finally realized that a human wrote the words “Dust Me”. It was not my desk crying out in pain experiencing a stigmata causing words to appear. Since I finally realized the writing was done by human action, I was pretty certain it was the work of the Lovely Sharon. We are the only two who live in the house. I did not think a burglar would break in and write "Dust Me" on my desk in the Bud Cave.

Despite her pathetic attempts at secret writing, I continued to be excited to share my new golf swing with her. I took the Lovely Sharon in my arms; we were so close I could smell her wonderful natural bouquet. My mouth was smiling, my eyes were smiling I could hardly talk. She looked at me with questioning eyes and she finally broke the silence (I was still unable to talk in all of my excitement) and she asked “Did we win the lottery?” I should my head to indicate that no, that we did not win the lottery. I kept smiling.

She then asked if I had cured cancer. I again responded with a no but then added “It is something better”. She asked what could be better than winning the lottery or curing cancer. I told her that I had a new golf swing. Her eyes rolled. I mean they really rolled. They went back in her head so far that only the whites were visible. I thought she had suffered an attack of some sort before I realized that in the last 7 years of marriage, I have undoubtedly told her that I had a new golf swing more than a 1,000 times. She has actually called the cable company and had them remove the Golf Channel from our cable line up. When the pupils of her eyes were back to where they are supposed to be, I told her that this time it was different, this new swing actually worked. With a lack of conviction, she responded with a quiet “We’ll see”.

The next 8 or 9 rounds of golf, I played well, I shot my lowest scores of the year, I hit the ball straight, and for me long. I was in a state of bliss. The Lovely Sharon was happy for me.  She was happy for her as she contemplated a married life without ever again hearing the words “I have a new swing”.

My golfing life has been great the last month. I had finally found the key to success. Bad golf was behind me.

Yesterday in Sunday Couples  golf at Hidden Valley the Lovely Sharon and I were paired with Bill and Martha, two wonderful friends and great golfers. They have won many tournaments over the years. Bill played particularly well yesterday. I was excited to play with them and decided not to say anything about my swing, but rather, I would let my clubs do the talking. I shot 104. It was my worse round in five years. Let me repeat that: “I SHOT 104”. In truth it was more than 104 as the Lovely Sharon took pity on me and gave me a couple of 6x’s when I should have had a couple a more 7x’s. This was a painful round of golf. Sharon, Bill and Martha tried to be kind. They tried to be supportive and, they made the appropriate sounds of condolences each time I hit the ball. They treated me like you tip toe around a friend with an incurable disease. You know he is a gonner but you say something like. “You look nice in that hospital gown”.

I cannot tell you how glad I was to have the round come to an end. I doubled bogey the last hole and frankly, I played so poorly that the double bogey felt like a birdie.

It is Labor Day. I slept in until 6:00. Late for me. The Lovely Sharon is fast asleep upstairs in her bed, no doubt dreaming of her own wonderful golf skill. I am at my desk in the Bud Cave. Its dark outside and the only visible light is the small green shaded banker’s desk lamp on my desk. I have decided that after I shower, I am going to Hidden Valley Country Club and look for a new swing.

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