While there is little question that I love golf to a somewhat unhealthy degree, there are things about the game that, shall we say, vex me. No, actually they infuriate me, because without them, golf would be, well, perfect.
I hate the lateral shot. You know, the shannnnnnn. The shannnnnnnnn. I can’t even say it but it rhymes with flanks, which is also the direction it goes. There is no known cure and it has sent more people mumbling to themselves than a Glenn Beck history lesson.
Thirty years ago, I developed a severe case during a qualifying round and played the last four holes with a 5-wood which was apparently the only club in my bag I couldn’t shannnnnnnnnn. Sorry. Ever try a greenside bunker shot with a 5-wood? Didn’t think so. I had a friend who once sha------nked an iron out of bounds on the first hole and immediately sprinted to his car and sped from the course leaving clubs, bag, and playing partners behind. I saw him years later on a sailboat in the Thames River. He had a big smile on his face.
Nobody likes slow play. Well, except for those folks who play slowly, I guess. Rodney Dangerfield had it right when he admonished the pitifully slow Ted Knight: “c’mon. While we’re young.
Worst offenders? Young people. Mostly because they have not had the experience of learning how to play at a brisk pace and also because they are genetically predisposed to do everything at some half speed tempo. What response do you get when you tell your 15 year old to get out of bed in time for school? Mañana. Biggest myth about slow play? Women are the culprits. Not at my club. In fact, play slowly in front of some our better women players and you may get an earful. You know what? You deserve it.
Boycott overpriced golf!! What, all of a sudden, every track with a fancy name like Rolling Dunes or Eagle Canyon thinks its Augusta National and requires collateral, three references, and three months of your Social Security checks (while they last) in order to tread on their lush fairways? No thanks. Shenny, Elmridge and Meadowbrook are just fine by me. Not to mention good old NLCC. Would I pay a premium to play Pebble, or Pine Valley , or Sawgrass? Yup. No problem. But I’m not forking over a buck seventy-five to play Lake of Smiles or The Links at Oswegatchie or whatever is the hot course du jour.
I hate foul weather golf. Despite what you saw at Royal St. George’s recently, those guys were not having fun. Trudging around the soggy fescue in mid 40’s temperatures while the 30 MPH wind blows the rain sideways … yeah … that’s my idea of how to spend my summer vacation.
I know. I know. As the Scots say, “nee wind. Nee golf.” I don’t even know what that means and frankly, the Scots seem to be a quirky bunch when it comes to golf, extolling the discomfort of a Highlands Saturday afternoon as a way to achieving total consciousness. Sorry, call me a Cretin but give me a warm July afternoon and a cold Stella.
I really hate three-putting. I mean I really hate it. Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Well, OK, there’s a list but it’s fairly short. The three jack shows up at the most inopportune times, sort of the Murphy’s Law of golf. More folks have quit golf because of bad putting than ever quit because they couldn’t hit it out of their shadow.
Practice all you want. If you are a bad putter, they could make the hole the size of a crop circle and you are going to three jack it. Just the way it is. Long putter. Cross handed. Belly putter. Combine ‘em all. Doesn’t matter. Just when you think you have it solved; when you think you have conquered the demon; that’s precisely when Mr. Three-Jack rears up and bites you on the butt. Forget the economy, presidential candidates. Outlaw the three-jack and you’ve got my vote.
Jim O’Neill is a member at NLCC.