Left, Right, Left, Right, repeat...

I went golfing with the fellas today. It was as gruesome as could be expected. While I hit every drive decently, the rest of my game resembled a spastic pirate on crack. Arrghh! Let's just say that I didn't break 60, and yes, that was for 9 holes, not 18. I figure if you take away those 3 nines I shot, I did really average. Throw those in though and...well I'm sore.

It is absolutely the hardest game on the planet. Any man that says it's for sissies (as I once did) has never played the game. It's one of those games that's 95% mental, 5% physical. Here's what goes through my head in 9 holes.

Hole #:

1. Not a bad start. It's going to be a good day. Look at the weather!
2. Whoa, that drive was a bit of a slice. Better luck next hole.
3. A seven on a par 4? C'mon Jim, get your head in the game.
4. There we go a bogey, only one over. You're a star.
5. What was that? You did everything wrong that hole.
6. I'm not very good, but I'm better than that guy!
7. Oh my gosh, is it over yet? Geez it's hot.
8. Oh the humanity! What a stupid game. I'm done for life.
9. Look at that drive. I can't wait to do this again.

The innate ability to laugh at yourself and set the bar very low are two ESSENTIAL elements to this game. Without those, you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.

I sold my shotgun at age 40 and used the money to help me buy custom golf clubs. Now it just looks like I'm hitting the ball with my shotgun. Might as well be. There was one turtle shell green today that I chipped over and back 3 different times. You just never see that with the pros. If you did, the announcers would say "Oh, he should just stop now."

The only saving grace of this outing, and the game in general from what I can tell, is that you get to be outdoors on a nice day with your friends. Now none of them exactly lit it up today either. That makes it more bearable when your friends shoot a shot that looks like it was taken by a heavily sedated blind man. Like the song by Morrissey goes, "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful", this holds especially true on the golf course.

Golf is shared suffering, is what it is. Moments of utter joy surrounded by hours of self condemnation and loathing. And we pay good money for this.

I always say I don't mind a bad day of golf, but losing balls is a drag. Well, I lost 3 today. It's funny how you hunt for 10 minutes for your first lost ball, but by the 9th hole, you're taking 3 practice drives off into the woods and not giving them a second thought. "There's more where that came from." When you consider what you've paid/lost on the course to that point, a few dollar golf balls shouldn't stop you from enjoying yourself, right? I'll never be able to afford that second home in Malibu, but I can slice a few into the woods all day long and still pay the mortgage.

I discovered I have a new disease on the course today. It's called drivenesia. What happens is that immediately after each drive, the second I put my club in the bag, I lose all perspective of where my ball went. It's like I never hit it. Was it 220 yards, or 130? Near the pine tree, or in the middle of the fairway? Did I slice, hook, or hit it straight away? Wait, did I even hit it yet? Am I in the water or did I clear it by 50 yards? For that matter, what kind of ball was I hitting? Do I have a brain parasite? Did I eat a lot of paint chips as a kid?

Seriously though I'll be looking for a ball and my buddies will say "Jim, you're way up here", like I'm some sort of blind, spastic pirate or something. Judging from where I eventually find my ball in relation to where I was looking for it, you'd have thought I was wearing an eye patch and when I hit the thing. Arrrghh!

This pirate's had enough and is blogging off...


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