~Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”
~Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013
This Thanksgiving, I wanted to create a list of things I’m thankful for. Many of us give thanks for family and friends, a roof over our heads and food on our tables on Thanksgiving day. I’m thankful for those things everyday and wanted to list things I don't regularly appreciate. So I dug deep and came up with this list of 12 Things That I Don’t Regularly Give Thanks For But Appreciate:
1. Modern medicine
2. Hybrid golf clubs
4. James Brown music
5. Real Husbands of Hollywood
7. DIY YouTube Videos
8. Fluorescent colored golf balls
10. Converse sneakers
11. 9 hole golf courses
12. Good Samaritans
Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Local driving range, summer, 8:23a
I woke up with the intention of exercising before work. The snag in my plan was that I woke up late, which significantly cut down the amount of time I had available for exercise. I decided to go to the local driving range and get in a quick practice instead. Rather than put on my golf shoes, I wore a pair of open toe flats that I planned to wear to work.
The parking lot was packed, but I got a great parking space near the driving range. I found an open mat on the far side of the range near the parking lot where I could have my back to the other golfers. No distractions. Quick exit once I finished practicing. Perfect! I started my mental checklist for practice: Don’t forget to straighten your wrist on the downswing, settle the “hula hips”, sit down into the shot and don’t lean too far over, turn your shoulders, follow through. I pulled out my 5 iron and took my first shot. It was beautiful! Super straight, good distance. I have an awful slice, so this was a major improvement. Several shots in and I was 50/50 on hitting my target, but I felt great.
"If you’re not first, your last." ~Reese Bobby
I'm a fan of Will Ferrell and for a while had a passing interest in car racing (How did driving fast cars around in ovals become a sport?! Answer: Moonshining.), so when the movie "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" came out a few years back I had to see it. In a nutshell: Ricky Bobby and his best friend Cal Naughton, Jr. are NASCAR drivers and they love to drive fast and win. At least Ricky does. Cal becomes content with coming in second place and helping his best friend win all of the time.
Which is the more expensive form of exercise: playing golf or joining a gym?
As a kid I spent summer days with my grandmother. She had a huge sewing room in her house where she ran her own drapery making business. My parents would drop me off in the morning on their way to work and I would spend the day with her and her assistant, mainly watching their TV programs. Everyone’s favorite was “The Price is Right”. I liked the crazy outfits and people’s excitement when they were told to come on down. My grandmother and I would try to guess the prices of everything. I think that show is the reason I like shopping to this day.
I love the sound my driver makes when it hits a golf ball just right. Pinggg. If I’m at the driving range and hear that joyful noise, I will stop what I’m doing and just watch the person hit another shot. That sound is sort of like a golf pheromone.
I wish I could record it and use as my morning alarm. Pinggg. I want it on my GPS to notify me that I've arrived at my destination. Pinggg. It would make a nice doorbell chime at my house. Ping, ping, ping, ping, pinggg (the FedEx guy has no patience, maybe not). And when you swing the driver well and follow all the way through, that pose at the end says “I’m serious about this game!”
This past summer I developed my first golf blister. A blister from playing golf? Yes!
When I started taking lessons, my golf instructor said I should get a golf glove. I didn't really think it was that important. Everyone I saw wore gloves while playing, but I thought it was another pretentious aspect of this game that was only for the rich. Why just one glove? And why only a white glove? Clearly, golf didn't require a lot of work and people never got dirty. I bought the cheapest glove I could find because it didn't seem that important.
One of greatest ideas in golf is the charity tournament. Charity golf tournaments let you enjoy the game while also supporting great causes. They are the guilt free golf indulgences. I finally played in my first golf tournament this summer.
It was nine billion and sixty two degrees the day of the tournament. I am exaggerating, but only slightly. I normally go through a couple of bottles of water when playing 18 holes, but this was easily a 5 water bottle day. My foursome was comprised of myself and three older gentlemen, all retired, who had been golfing forever. They were all very good and extremely patient as I struggled with errant tee shot after errant tee shot, but I kept up the pace as best as I could. My first tee shot of the day was short and far right. Thank goodness we were playing best ball. It was a 501 yard par 5 hole and I drove the fairway in three (thanks to that best ball situation), then got stuck in a bunker. After 3 angry chips, I finally escaped the sand and 2 putted in for a triple bogie.
Most people that decide to take up golf are casual golfers who simply want to get on the course and enjoy playing for a couple of hours every now and then. But there are also experienced golfers, male and female, who would rather not suffer through newbie intruders ruining their afternoon on the greens. There is room for both on the golf course, but respect is key. Respect for your fellow golfers, respect for the course and respect for the game. It’s important to keep up with the group in front of you, be courteous to other players and have fun.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) rule book almost 300 pages long! Unless you are preparing for a career as a golf professional, you probably have more important things going on in your life than learning all of these rules. As a casual golfer, I can’t think of a good reason why you should. (If you are playing for money, then you might, but I don’t advocate gambling on the course. That may change as my game improves.) However, it is important to understand golf etiquette and a few rules before you step onto the course. The more you play, the more you will want to learn about the rules. You don’t want to cheat yourself strokes or frustrate other golfers in your group by trying to figure out what to do.
For information on golf rules and etiquette, visit www.usga.org. For a fun and useful on-course rules guide, check out http://golfsurvivalguide.com/rules-pocket-guide.html
Now get out there and play!
I don’t play with white golf balls. I have trouble seeing them. Even if they land nicely in the fairway. Especially when they wander off into the bushes or tall grass. This game is tough enough without wasting extra time and energy looking for the ball in a bush that may or may not have rattlesnakes. Besides, I don’t want to slow the pace of play by hunting around too long (you only get so many minutes to look before you have to stop anyway), then I rush my shots to make up for lost time. I’m a fan of bright colors in general, and golf is no different. Yellow and orange are my favorite golf ball colors. They are bright and I can easily find them no matter how far right they land.
Once I played with a group of ladies and when we got to the first green, it looked like an Easter egg hunt was underway. There were fuchsia, yellow, light blue and lavender balls all sitting on green around the flag stick. There was also one lone white ball (we added a fifth person to our group, a guy).
Some people find colored balls amateurish or childish. So what? I’m not going to Q School or playing in the LPGA. I want to have fun and enjoy myself on the golf course. So when I can easily find my ball, I spend more time thinking about my club selection and how to approach the shot, which is where my mental energy is best spent while playing. Which translates into more fun. So ladies, stock your golf bag with balls in every color of the rainbow! No one will find it amateurish or childish when you sink that that bright pink ball for par.
Now get out there and play!