Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Monday, October 30, 2017

I Am Suddenly A Fantastic Golfer

It’s autumn in Northeast Ohio and another season of golf has come to an end.  Fortunately, I was able to play all the golf I wanted this year. Which interestingly enough was the same amount of golf I have played the previous 12 years – none.

You see, I’m a terrible golfer.  I know many people say that, but they are merely bad golfers.  I however, am truly a horrendous, gawd-awful, putrid golfer.  I should had quit the game years before I did. I will now publicly apologize to anyone I have ever golfed with or anyone who has suffered pain or property damage from one of my errant shots. I am sorry, I am oh so sorry.

Some guys will sit in the nursing home regretting that they worked too much and did not play enough golf.  I will be sitting beside them regretting that I played any golf at all.  And it’s not like I played a lot of golf, because I hate golfing. Hate it oh so badly.

I began playing in high school because my good friend John golfed and it looked like fun.  I kept playing occasionally because friends would invite me or there would be work events in which you were “expected” to participate. Where your value as a business person would somehow depend on your skill as a golfer. Needless to say, my golfing ability never advanced my career, on the contrary, it may have helped to sink it – just like my normal tee shot on the 4th hole at the Legends Golf Course where you shoot over, (whoops!) where you are supposed to shoot over the lake.

I once even joined a golf league at church since it seemed like the Christian, holy, fellowship-type thing to do.  Even when provided with an astronomical handicap, my partner and I finished in last place both years I played.  I did make my mark on the league though.  Early in the second season, my partner Steve moved to South Dakota. I’m sure he did leave to take a new job and not to avoid finishing last again due to my awful scores.  I replaced him with my friend from work, Roger.  But Roger had a quirk.  If he hit a bad shot, he swore. Even if he hit it a good shot, he swore.  Roger liked to swear on the golf course and *#%&!!*, he sure swore a lot. While it was highly amusing to me, it was somehow not appreciated in church league golf.  Between my atrocious play and Roger’s potty mouth, I decided it was best for all involved to quit while I was behind.

I played golf on and off for over 30 years.  I would golf, golf terribly, and then quit the game. Inexplicably, I would try again.  I first golfed left-handed (the way I swing a baseball bat), then right-handed, then left-handed again and finally the last 15 years or so, right-handed.  I would joke and tell people that I could golf equally well right or left handed.  They would be impressed until they witnessed my tee shot. And I say “witnessed”, because the way I swing a golf club is a crime.

It is also interesting that my last round of golf was just as terrible as my first   In 30 years of trying to improve my game, I failed and I failed miserably.  And I did make an effort to improve, but I never did.  I couldn’t even work my way up from horrible to “fair”. Of anything I have ever attempted to do in life, golf is my biggest failure.

At one point I even bought golf shoes, just like a good golfer. As if the shoes ever had the ability to improve my horrible game.  These shoes would have had to possess more magical powers than Dorothy’s ruby slippers. “There’s no place like (the) hole”.

The whole idea of striking a golf ball never made sense to me.  The poor ball is just sitting there on the tee waiting for you to wallop it.  But you can’t just wallop it.  You have to keep your knees bent, head down, elbow in, eye on the ball, blah, blah, blah.  You also must clear your mind of all distractions and focus exclusively on all the mechanics required for a smooth shot.  I’m intelligent enough to know what I am supposed to do.  But somewhere between approaching the ball and hitting it a voice inside my head will drown out everything else. “KILL IT! KILL IT NOW! KILL IT BEFORE IT RUNS AWAY! 

So evidently my primal instincts believe the ball is food and must be subdued before it flees.  And even though I know it is wrong, I swing as hard as I can at that weak, defenseless ball and it goes flying off in some random direction.  Golfing with me was dangerous, but my fellow linksters soon learned that the safest place to stand when I hit an approach shot was on the green by the pin and they would point that out to me.  Those pompous bass-turds!

But I don’t have to worry about it anymore because this summer I gave away my clubs. They had sat in the garage, neglected for the past 13 years.  They would often mock me when I walked past. “Hey doofus, why don’t you use us?  We know why! Because you suck at golf! Boy do you suck! My young friend Colin, was taking up golf and looking for a cheap set of clubs. I was so eager to get rid of these things that I gave him my clubs (except for my putter which I kept for miniature golf).  No need to pay, just remove this from my life!  Usually
All that is left of my golf stuff
I have feelings when parting with objects that have sentimental value. But oddly, maybe sadly, I felt nothing as Colin drove away with my clubs.  I later messaged him to find out how his golf game is progressing, but there was no reply.  Perhaps my atrocious golf skills somehow got ingrained into those clubs.  Poor Colin! He probably sucks at golf and it’s my fault.

I never, ever enjoyed playing golf. It was like going to the dentist. I endured it, but I was so glad when the round was over. Why was it ever important to me to become a proficient golfer? Oh the good golfers will inflate it’s importance, because they are of course, good at it.  Some will even say your manhood depends on a low golf score.  But what is golf, really?  It is hitting an object, with a stick, at a target. In a sense, it is just glorified croquet.

Attaining a great golf swing creates no really useful skill whatsoever.  Cavemen probably hit rocks with tree limbs for utter amusement and then the Scots eventually turned it into a game.  No, not a sport, a game.  And in our wacked out culture we create special sticks to strike the object which can cost up to $1,300 each.  We also pay millions of dollars to our golf-gods who have mastered striking the object with these expensive sticks.  This would even confuse a caveman. “Ugg!  Me hooked it!  Stupid branch.”

However, a while back I saw a meme which read: “The object of golf is to play the least amount of golf”.  Brilliant!  How pleasurable can an activity be if the goal is to do it less?  This would imply that it is a dreadful, useless game which should be avoided at all costs.

This revelation changed my outlook on golf entirely.  I am not a horrible golfer.  I am a masterful golfer because over the last 13 years, none of these so called skilled linksters has played less golf than I have.

With this new, profound perspective, I immediately booked a trip to Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament. My scorecard from the day is shown below:

As you can see, I had a most exemplarily round.  I mastered the dog leg to the left on Hole #5 by doggone leaving it alone.  I made a tremendous approach shot on #7 by hitting my none-iron and skillfully avoided the pond on #16 by circumventing the hole all together.  If fact, I evaded every hazard on the course and didn’t miss a putt.  This enabled me to proceed directly to the clubhouse bar and talk some jive with the barmaids. It was just a fantastic day.

The life lesson here is to not waste your time, effort and resources on things you do not really enjoy and will never have proficiency in. Instead, find those things that bring you joy and experience these to the fullest.  So I encourage those great golfers to continue to strike that object, with that stick, to hit that target.  You do it well and I’m glad you enjoy it.  But I will not be joining you on the links (which is beneficial and much safer for you), because I literally have better things, for me, to do.

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