October 17, 2017

A number of news and notes while I start making plans for my trip back to Massachusetts this weekend and some legitimate fall weather for golf.

Surfing in Ghana. The seeds planted by Bruce Brown’s iconic surf film are still sprouting:

Peter Ansah, owner of Ahanta Waves Surf School & Camp, says their home is a surfer’s paradise. “When I was small, I would always come to the beach and try to surf with a piece of wood.” As a child, he met a couple from the United States using surfboards at Busua beach. Intrigued by the long pointy structure, he asked to use it in place of wood – falling in love with catching waves.

“Whenever I’m surfing, I forget about everything. I have nothing to think about. The only thing is that I enjoy it!” he described. He’s been surfing for 13 years and opened his surf school for locals and tourists alike. “A lot of people think it’s not possible to surf in Ghana because they think there’s no waves or no ocean in Ghana,”Ansah said.

However, Ian Fraser from California said he’s familiar with surfing in the country from the 1960’s movie “Endless Summer.” It depicts a scene of kids surfing on wood. He’s in Busua taking his daughter and her teammates to Ahanta Waves for lessons.

Ah yes, the two greatest motivating factors about learning to surf: the waves and the chicks.

Yes. Next question.

I’ve read a lot of stupid headlines in my life, but this one takes the cake. Err…paging Captain Obvious!!

And if you believe this story I’ve got some coastline in Nevada for you to buy. If she just admitted she got drunk with Huma Abedin and fell at least she’d come across as human.

…because, as the late, great Warren Zevon once sang, “…if California falls into the ocean, like the mystics and statistics say it will….” Some great lyrics there!

…but I guess that’s just asking too much. Every time I think Hillary Clinton can’t get more repulsive she keeps coming up with yet another example. Does she not realize everyone (and I’m including most Democrats in this, I’m guessing) just wants her to go away?

If Tiger’s starting to hit driver now is it asking too much that he might start playing a little in March to tune up for the Masters?

I mean, you somehow knew this was coming, didn’t you? You know the old saying, don’t sh*t in your bed? Well, there’s a reason for it, and this clown not only did that he also hurled into the punch bowl. My question: who’s the real victim here?

A story that will make you cry. God bless her and may she rest in peace.

..and one that will make you feel good.

It’s columns like this that make you think liberalism is truly a mental disorder.

…because everything they’ve been doing since Barack Obama became president has worked out so well for progressives.

Joe Bastardi at Weatherbell.com was talking about this the other day. What a crazy storm!

Because Bruce Springsteen has always been a man of the working class. A great artist, fer shure, but one of biggest phonies you’ll ever meet.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:16 | Comments (0)
October 16, 2017

The “American Dream”: still alive for those with the willingness to work hard and achieve their dreams. A stark contrast to those who just want a friggin’ handout.

Is there anyone you can think of as politically and intellectually tone-deaf as Hillary Clinton? The very thought she could have been elected president should give everyone pause.

…not really a surprise, the Clintons (and I’m talking Bill, Hill, and Chelsea) have always been pigs. And I say that apologizing to my porcine friends. The world has always been the Clintons’ toilet as long as the money is good.

Liberals be aware there’s gonna be some serious celebrating going on in the Trump universe with folks having parties and reliving last year’s election night sharing YouTube videos of the cable news networks melting down and tweets and chats. It promises to be a lot of fun, and you an bet I’m going to be a part of it!

Just one of the reasons I prefer meat over fish.

It isn’t just Iowa, Democrats – it’s New Hampshire and Minnesota and the Rust Belt states that have turned their backs on you because you don’t stand for America anymore.

The Yankees are pretty much done. Which is too bad because, even as a Red Sox fan I have to say I enjoy watching them play.

Yep. Which is why I refuse to take Democrats and liberals seriously anymore.

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October 14, 2017

Today is “Opening Day”, Arizona golf style. Most of the courses around here, including all the ones I have in my rotation, have been closed for two weeks while they transition from Bermuda grass to winter rye. So they all open the same day, and it’s mayhem with everyone wanting to be a part of it and get a tee time. Me? As a single it’s a whole lot easier to find a slot (not to mention the fact I hate early morning golf), so I’ll be teeing off at 10:21 at Stonecreek Golf Club. Tough course, lots of water and thin fairways. But a perfect opportunity to put into practice the swing I’ve been working on. And with the predicted temp around only 90 degrees? Well, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.

The Red Sox made the right move firing “Accountability John” Farrell as manager. The team needs not only a quality in-game manager, but someone who will make sure the young up-and-coming impressionable stars-to-be learn not just to play, but go about their business the right way. Me? I’d like to see the Sox pick Alex Cora, but I’m guessing because of their history together GM Dave Dombrowski will go with Brad Ausmus. Can’t go wrong with either, in my view.

You’d think a pro with 500 balls and a pin less than 150 yards out would be able to make a hole-in-one, but Edoardo Molinari was given the chance and couldn’t do it. Like they say, golf is hard.

I’m guessing if you’ve been around the bar circuit in southwest Florida you’ve heard of Danny Morgan. I hadn’t – I only heard about him from Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford novel, “Night Moves”, but that alone was good enough for me to download his music from Amazon and add them to my “Tropical Breezes” music collection.

If I’m the Red Sox I’m thinking I need a big bat and a first baseman. Perhaps even a second baseman, although I’m sure they’ll want to see how Dustin Pedroia’s knee turns out. They’ve got plenty of chips to make a trade. But they really need a veteran and a good clubhouse guy.

Didn’t I tell y’all to watch out for the Yankees this year? And they’re only going to be better in 2018 – they’ve got a ton of old crappy contract money coming off the books and will be able to do whatever they want over the next couple of off-seasons. But the truth is, Terry Francona’s Cleveland Indians squad peaked too early.

You won’t hear it from the likes of CNN and MSNBC, but President Donald Trump just had one hell of a week – perhaps the best of his presidency. Opening up healthcare insurance purchases across state lines, indicating his willingness to back away from the Iran deal, and ending Obamacare insurance company subsidies is only going to help the middle class. You look at the stock market and consumer confidence, and you tell me what Democrats have to offer for the 2018 midterms.

Oh Megyn, Megyn – how the mighty have fallen!

There’s a lot of great Pink Floyd music out there, but the quirkiness and outright weirdness of “Atom Heart Mother” will always be a favorite of mine. As will “Sheep”. Two very different sounds from a band that did it all.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:57 | Comments (0)
October 10, 2017

A few thoughts and comments about the Liberal Left finally being exposed for exactly what it has always been: a cesspool of hypocrisy, corruption, and intolerance powered by identity politics under the guide of “diversity”, “fairness”, and “social justice”.

It took the election of Donald Trump to expose these vile bastards for who they are. It didn’t start with the likes Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the NFL players, Ashley Judd, Madonna, MSNBC, CNN, ESPN, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the L.A. Times, Antifa, George Clooney, Jimmy Kimmel, the Democratic Party, Black Lives Matter, the mainstream media, the GOP elites, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and all those behind the “Cheap Labor Express”, immigration activists, college and university administrators and professors across the country and the snowflake “social justice warriors” being brainwashed by their socialist/communist agenda, and (unfortunately) it’s not going to end any time soon, but by golly, it’s about time the game was being taken to them on a daily basis.

They say sunlight is the best disinfectant, and just watching the whole Harvey Weinstein thing play out is going to be fascinating. Everyone – and I do mean – everyone – in the “entertainment industrial complex” (Hollywood, the mainstream media, and the Democratic Party, etc.) is going to be looking to cover their pathetic and sanctimonious asses having to explain the utter hypocrisy in enthusiastically supporting the likes of Hillary Clinton while all the while knowing and covering up for the actions of a sexual predator. Like John Lennon once sang, “all I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth.”

…oh wait a second: I guess I do understand why these folks supported Hillary Clinton. Right, Bubba?

…and oh BTW, wasn’t Harvey one of “Shrill Hill”‘s most enthusiastic supporters and contributors? So where is “Madame President”‘s condemnation? I won’t hold my breath.

Some of this is just breathless to behold. You have Black Lives Matter protesters disrupting a ACLU speech, of all things! And DACA activists disrupting a Nancy Pelosi presser? And libs calling for a boycott of ESPN after they suspended their house racist Jamele Hill. Honestly, folks, you can’t make this stuff up.

…and speaking of that gift that just keeps on giving: “San Fran Nan” is now threatening to shut down the government over DACA. I have only three words: Do. It. Please.

Finally, back to the poster child for everything that’s gone wrong with the liberal left. If you’re the NFL where do you from here? Your reputation and brand is being shredded week in / week out by a bunch of ignorant employees who don’t seem to understand the need to restrict their provocative thoughts and actions to places off the playing field. Talk about self-inflicted wounds! Slave owners and slaves, indeed. Keep it up, I say, and see where that gets you. At that point, I’m guessing there will be plenty of blame to go around but have a feeling no one will be looking in the mirror!

…and while all this happens, Donald Trump just eggs them on into higher stratospheres of frustration and fury. Honest to God, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that the election of Trump could cause the kind of biblical proportion-esque level of liberal mayhem and hysteria we are witnessing on a daily basis. This has more than just a protracted tantrum, this is the equivalent of a Fukishima meltdown.

It sure is a joy to behold. Pass the popcorn.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 10:49 | Comments (0)
October 7, 2017

It’s a beautiful weekend here in the Valley of the Sun. While the nights have cooled down nicely into the 70s, the days still feel pretty damned warm and the sun’s angle, while noticeably different than it was even just a month ago, is still hot on the skin.

This week I’ll be turning 62, and, as I was saying to Tracey while we had morning coffee at the Tiki bar, it’s time to start actually playing more golf instead of just hitting balls. Playing weekends on uber-crowded courses isn’t a lot of fun (at least to me), so I’m thinking of taking advantage of my ability to work from home and start getting out on a weekday mid-morning after working a few hours, play a round, and return back to the office.

…which means, I feel I’m at a point now where I like the changes I’ve made to my swing and know what I want to do going forward, so I feel comfortable working on those aspects of my game in earnest that I’ve never been able to do before: situational awareness, course management, etc. etc. For some people that kind of thing comes naturally and easy, but for me it’s something I need to work on. Fortunately, it’s a skill that can be learned. As Ben Hogan once said, the longest difference in golf is the one between one’s ears.

The Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley has been pretty spot-on when it comes to the Red Sox and manager “Accountability John” Farrell all year, and today’s column is devastating. I was saying to my dad after yesterday’s second-in-a-row trouncing by the Astros that the team looked tired, unmotivated, unprepared, and overmatched. Farrell’s choices in the lineup were (as usual) questionable, and he can’t strategically manage a short series if his life depended on it.

…but beyond that, I just don’t like the way this club seems to go about it’s business. There are a bunch of veteran prima donnas in the clubhouse, and when an up-and-coming star like left-fielder Andrew Benintendi blows off reporters after the game instead of doing the professional thing and answer questions, well, that tells me that the players aren’t going about things and learning to do things the right way, both on and off the field. And while “Accountability John” may not be the one who hits and throws, he is responsible for how this team ultimately performs day in and day out. And what’s going on right now is, to be honest, an embarrassment.

…which is why I think the whole Dennis Eckersely / David Price incident this past summer seems now like a defining moment, as when a patient finds out that the cancer growing inside his body is no longer treatable. This was an opportunity for “Accountability John” to take control of the clubhouse and show both stars and rookies how things should be done as professionals and how you treat people with respect. Instead, Farrell blew the whole thing off as a clubhouse matter and refused to even apologize to Eck on behalf of the team, thus revealing to everyone the kind of “bunker mentality” that’s in place at Fenway Park by the manager.

…and maybe that’s why the Sox have looked so poor in the post-season: they don’t know what it means to step and perform when the pressure is on. Instead, they come across as prickly, self-centered, and unprepared for the spotlight. Watching the way the Astros, Indians, and Yankees not just play baseball, but play the game vs. the way the Sox do, you can see that, as Buckley writes, they truly are nothing bunch a bunch of frauds.

October is when it always feels right to start listening to the music of Pink Floyd again. It is universally believed that in terms of a pure concert experience – sights, sounds, effects, set list – the 1994 “Division Bell” tour was the best the band ever did. I’m so fortunate to have had a chance to see it. If you haven’t got a couple of hours to have a cocktail, crank the computer up loud, two examples that give you an idea of just how cool the experience was: “Astronomy Domine” and “One Of These Days”.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 12:04 | Comments (0)
October 6, 2017

Time for playoff baseball!

If you’re a major league baseball manager, that means your whole season is now condensed into a series where: 1) you actually have to know what you have for a playoff roster and how you’re going to use it and when, and 2) you have to manage to game conditions and make decisions fast. In both cases, the Red Sox loss to the Astros in Game 1 of their Divisional Series showed a manager seemingly incapable of both.

Anyone who has been watching Chris Sale pitch down the stretch knows it’s fairly easy to tell when he’s struggling, yet ol’ Manager John kept trotting him out one inning after another to take the punishment. Sure, it wasn’t easy to gauge the extent to which Sale was struggling since it wasn’t like he was being dinged one hitter after another, but it was clear he didn’t have his best stuff, either. Surely, Manager John has seen enough of him this year to know when his #1 dude has it and when he doesn’t.

Hint to Manager John: it’s OK in a playoff series to go to your bullpen early – after all, you really don’t want to get your inconsistent offense down too badly, too early. Oh, and it’s OK to bring in someone else other than Joe Kelly (of all people!) to replace Sale – not only is he as inconsistent as hell, but jeepers, you’ve got to pick his spots better than that. But of course that would require a manager who goes into a game with a plan and is ready to execute it if things start going awry. I’m guessing that’s too much to ask here.

And, while it was true that Eduardo Nunez was a solid hitter since his acquisition, the dude has had a bad knee (which, by the way, he blew out on his first at-bat of the game). Is Hanley Ramirez struggling? Yes. But he’s still a home run threat when you have him in your lineup. Still, Manager John chooses to play a dinged up, if not bona fide injured, player ahead of one of his only true home run threats. For gawdsakes, everyone (except Manager John, apparently) knows the Sox are going to struggle offensively against the Astros, yet Ramirez is sitting on the bench?

I guess what pisses me off the most about Manager John isn’t his incompetence (which he exhibits in spades) or his seeming aloofness (or is it arrogance?). What pisses me off the most is his lack of preparedness once the first pitch is thrown and the appearance that everyone else in the ballpark is at least three hitters (if not more) ahead of him. He seems to manage by the seat of his pants without rhyme nor reason. There seems to be little communication between Manager John and his coaches, and between his coaches and players. I honestly don’t know what Manager John is thinking when he’s there in the dugout, leaning forward seeming deep in concentration as he shifts one leg to another on the next step, and from all appearances, I don’t think he does either.

One final note: I’ve got a sneaky feeling the Sox are finding out under the not-so-best of circumstances that this winter they’re going to have some big decisions to make. Jackie Bradley, Jr., while one of my favorite players and a defensive whiz, can’t be counted upon for any real offense. Dustin Pedroia (another fave) is playing old. And they’re going to have to think about what they want to do at catcher, first base, and DH, because every time they take the field they’re playing teams who can actually generate offense – real offense – out of those positions.

The Sox are playing like a tired team, but even worse, they’re playing with a manager who has no clue what it means to manage a baseball team in the playoffs.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 02:24 | Comments (0)
October 5, 2017

So this is what life is like this time of year in the Valley of the Sun. Don’t even think about trying to play golf, or even hitting balls. The golf courses are pretty much all closed until ~ the 20th because everyone has reseeded their summer Bermuda and planted winter rye. And it’s happening across thousands upon thousands of front lawns where everything once glorious green is now the color of wheat waiting for the landscapers to do their thing.

R.I.P. Tom Petty. Truly one of the greats. He had a quirky, kind of goofy, laid-back persona but a knack for writing songs with great hooks and equally-cool music videos. Had a great, no-nonsense band that just churned out no-frills rock. He’s now in heaven with his Traveling Wilbury mates Roy Orbison and George Harrison (the latter with whom he co-penned the incredible “Cheer Down”, which marries Petty’s sense of melody and lyric with a truly virtuoso performance by Harrison). He went too soon, but I have a feeling he got every ounce out of the life he lived and enjoyed it all.

In the days ahead you’ll read dozens of stories like this one, but this one in particular is tough. Very tough. Prayers go out for not only the dead, but for those who survived. They’ll need all they can get.

…along those same lines, now that’s a smart phone!

Talk about your dangerous jobs! Maybe KFC isn’t such a bad gig?

The President’s Cup was a snoozer, for sure, but it definitely underscores just how much young talent the U.S. has out there. Methinks Europe is going to have their work cut out for them in next year’s Ryder Cup.

You probably won’t hear a lot of this from the usual media suspects – they’re far too interested in bashing President Trump – but I think this is a big deal. European nations ignore at your own risk.

I think this is exactly right. The media keeps looking for ways to see President Trump stumble, but all he does is show them how petty and ignorant they are. The President doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and the media just can’t fathom it.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Kelly’s problem is that she forgot who she was. Her show was amped up by the killer ratings she would get when sandwiched between powerhouses like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, but her ego took over. Talk about someone screwing up their career, and royally!

…speaking of ruining one’s career: that moronic Democrat mayor of San Juan. Surely she realizes what a jerk she looks like. You diss the President of the US in public and then when he criticizes you for your incompetence you double down on stupid? Good luck with that, honey…

And a final thought for y’all’s consideration: here is where the NFL protests and the Vegas massacre intersect politically, and you tell me where I’m wrong: The same people supporting the protesting of the flag and our national anthem because they believe that police shootings of innocent civilians is an epidemic are now the same people telling us that we need gun control and that only the police should have guns. …And you tell me that liberalism isn’t a mental disorder?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:47 | Comments (0)
October 3, 2017

A few thoughts about the mass shooting that took place in Vegas Sunday night:

1. It makes me heartsick to even have to blog about this. I love Vegas, and for the same reason most other folks do – it’s a place to go to get away from the troubles of the world, not find yourself a victim of it.

2. The sad truth is, if someone wants to commit mass murder there’s not a whole lot to stop them unless their family, friends, and neighbors somehow pick up the scent. Just like what happened in San Bernadino and elsewhere, it’s gonna come out that folks knew about this guy and what he was capable of, and whether out of fear or just blindly going on about their daily lives said nothing or did nothing.

3. Want my take on it? No? Well, I’ll give it to you anyway: the guy was a loon and a gambling addict who got tired of losing at the casinos and decided to teach Vegas a lesson it would never forget. You read this and perhaps the motive becomes fairly obvious. Think about it: can you imagine the impact on Mandalay Bay alone? Would you want to book a room there now? I sure wouldn’t. Not only will it be forever stained by being the scene of this tragedy, but they’re going to get ass sued up the yang-yang for damages by any and all affected. I’m not sure that’s right, but if in fact they allowed the guy to check in under his girlfriend’s ID that’s a major problem and neglect on their registration desk’s part. I know every time I’ve checked in to any hotel – never mind in Vegas – they always ask for an ID to go with the credit card on file. Not that it might have prevented the massacre if he was forced to show his ID and not allowed to register if he didn’t, but that in itself opens the door very wide for lawsuits.

4. It’s so predictable what happens whenever there’s a mass shooting. Generally speaking, you get (most) politicians and civic leaders offering up sympathies, prayers, and concerns for the victims and their loved ones, then liberals and Democrats who don’t even wait for the bodies to cool before they traipse in front of the cameras and call for gun control. It’s sickening, but then again you’re talking about sick people who see everything through a political lens and are sick in their very souls. Michael Savage has called liberalism a mental disorder, and it’s people like this and this and this that only confirm Savage’s diagnosis.

5. You can look at the vast majority of mass casualties by gun violence in a single setting and see two common threads: the guns were illegally purchased, and they occurred in a gun-free zone. I’m OK with tightening up regulations wherever it makes sense, but gun control ain’t the answer. It’s the mature response in times like this to recognize that guns don’t kill people, people do.

6. It makes me wonder about stadium settings and how many baseball parks and football stadiums are within shooting range of a hotel or high-rise buldings. I guarantee you Toronto Blue Jays players and the folks at Skydome see the world a bit differently today. Same thing with the Cubs and Wrigley Field, and any number of other locales.

7. It also makes me wonder why no one has attempted this kind of thing before. I mean, you have a virtual killing field anytime you have high-rise buildings and a concert or a sporting event within range. At least the poor folks at the Highway 91 event could at least start running. Can you imagine a full stadium with people seated in tiny rows and aisles as a means of escape? Not to mention the players on the field. It’s a sad state of affairs for someone to contemplate, but that’s the world we live in.

8. And it makes me recall that visit to Vegas a couple of years ago when me and fellow Goodboys “Killer” Kowalski and “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin were staying at the Palazzo, and Killer and I witnessing those Iranians starting to bust up the bar in the middle of The Venetian casino. It all happens so fast around you, but who knows what would have happened if those guys decided to shoot up the place instead of smashing a bunch of $50K chandeliers. I guarantee you if they had I wouldn’t be blogging right now.

9. Kudos to the Wynn for taking additional security measures. I’ll be going there in December – can’t wait – but you have to be realistic about things in this day and age. And it’s going to be everywhere. It’s sad, but that’s the way it is: you can bet this kind of thing will be springing up all over the casinos, clubs, and hotels.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 20:49 | Comments (0)
October 2, 2017

It’s going to be a great post-season in Major League Baseball, I think. There is a lot of excitement here in the Valley of the Sun for the Arizona Diamondbacks because of the way they man-handled the L.A. Dodgers during the regular season, but first they have to get past the Colorado Rockies in that one-game playoff. I can tell you who the Dodgers will be rooting for!

The Red Sox will be playing the Astros in the first round of the playoffs. Not too many people are giving the Sox a chance, and I have to agree with the so-called “experts”. The Sox are a mess right now. Of course, they do have the most dominant closer in the major leagues in Craig Kimbrel, but in my view it all comes down to the offense, and there’s no question the Astros hit the ball a helluva lot better than the Sox do. Right now there are a lot of holes in the Sox lineup, forcing them to work too hard to manufacture runs.

I love the enthusiasm the Minnesota Twins bring to each game and I’m hoping they’ll beat the Yankees. Whoever wins that series won’t matter, because I see the Cleveland Indians going all the way this year in a repeat of last year’s World Series matchup.

So, my predictions work out like this:

Astros beat Red Sox in the ALDS
Indians beat Twins in the ALDS

Dodgers beat Rockies in the NLDS
Cubs beat Nationals in the NLDS

Indians beat Astros in the ALCS
Cubs beat Dodgers in the NLCS

Cleveland beats Cubs in the World Series

Play ball!

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:50 | Comments (0)
September 30, 2017

Days until the 2018 Goodboys Invitational: 292
Target Handicap: 16.0 / Handicap: 25.4
Location: Superstition Springs Golf Club
Score: 55 / 59 = 114
Trending Handicap: 26.0 (+0.6)

Oh boy. Two rounds and I’ve already lost two strokes off my handicap since Goodboys Invitational Sunday. (Actually, if you count Goodboys Invitational weekend I’ve lost four strokes off my handicap since the middle of July.) It’s hard to fathom, and I won’t argue with you – it’s a little damaging to the psyche. But what else can The Great White Shank do but keep on plugging away? I figure, at some point it’s gonna turn around. But looking at my MyScorecard.com record since the 98 I put up at Superstition Springs back on July 14 shows nothing short of wreckage:

7/18 – Green Meadow Golf Club – 114
7/22 – Segregansett Golf Club – 108
7/23 – Triggs Memorial – 115
9/28 – Lone Tree Golf Club – 108
9/30 – Superstition Springs Golf Club – 114

It’s hard to believe that just yesterday I’d had absolutely the best range session I’d ever had, then followed it up this morning prior to teeing off at Superstition Springs with the absolute best warm-up session I’d ever had. You’ve heard folks talk about being “in the zone” during a round of golf and playing out of their shoes? Well that’s where I was, for the first time I can remember in my golf life. Oh, I’ve had decent range sessions before, good warm-ups, and even very good rounds (87 being my best ever), but at no time I can remember the game feeling so easy, my tempo and rhythm so in sync, the results exactly what I expected with every swing. And maybe I’ll never experience that feeling again, but while I had it, it was worth it, and memorable.

Today’s round started out as a continuation of my warm-up: after a blistering drive on the 380-yard par 4 opening hole, I had only 93 yards to the pin. I missed the green long on my approach shot but still two-putted for bogey. I flushed my second drive of the day and thought I’d hit a decent enough 6-iron into the second green but neglected to take into account a bunker on the left-hand side. I made a mess of that and ended up with a double-bogey six. I yanked my drive on the par 3 third into a bunker right (another pin I had no business going after) then made a mess of that as well for a triple-bogey six. On the fourth hole, a short par 4 with a pond in front, I hit the best 3-hybrid in my life to 80 yards, but pushed my pitching wedge off the green left (another opportunity for a green in regulation missed), but still ended up making par.

And that was it.

On the fifth hole I lost my tempo and rhythm, started over-swinging, and the day was a mess from that point forward. I lost my distance control. I lost my touch on anything requiring even the slightest bit of finesse. I once again lost the ability to hit my 5-wood (for the day I was 0-6 in 5-wood attempts, not even hitting one halfway decently, resulting in two 9s and an 8 on the par 5s). Most importantly, I started losing my driver off the tee, hitting one worm-burner after another. I then lost my irons, yanking even the shortest pitch shot. And that’s the way the rest of the day went. Every swing became an adventure, every shot leading to another lost stroke.

By the time we hit the final hole I was fried, both mentally and physically. My 3-hybrid off the tee was pushed left, requiring me to lay up with a 5-yard pitch before a stream that crossed the fairway. I yanked a pitching wedge dead right into the stream. Dropping my ball 190 yards from the pin, I crushed a 4-hybrid that drifted right into a grass bunker right of the pin that left me with an awkward side-bunker stance. I had only twenty yards to the pin but hit it fifty yards into a bunker that I couldn’t get out of. A perfect way to end the day.

The only thing I can say that worked for me all day long was my putting. I had a total of thirty putts and made everything inside of four feet, the result of some diligent work on the Superstition Springs putting green prior to the round. I’m proud of that because my putting has been so bad for so long. But that was the only good stat of the day: otherwise, I hit only four fairways off the tee and was 0-6 in opportunities for greens in regulation made. Most dishearteningly, my course management was as bad as I can remember – for all the times I’ve played this friggin’ track one would think I’d have learned how to play it by now. My playing partner Randy, a 6-handicap, real nice guy, was moved to tell me in the cart that he’d never seen anyone throw away strokes like I was doing, saying, “You know, sometimes you’ve got to play to your abilities.” That made my day!

After a day like this I might seriously consider folding my tent golf-wise were it not for the truly magical feeling yesterday’s range session and today’s warm-up gave me. Maybe, in the end, that’s the extent of my golf abilities – hitting balls off mats or grass when there’s nothing on the line. You’re just hitting balls to targets with numbers on them and nothing else matters: there’s no score, no handicap, no awkward stances, no implications if you make the wrong choice as far as distance is concerned, no balls to lose in creeks, ponds, subdivisions, woods, and canals. No course to manage. I don’t understand how I can lose that feeling and sense of touch on a golf course, but I’ll tell you this: not even Paula Creamer can help you if your set-up is poor, your aiming point is wrong, you’re playing the ball too far forward in your stance, and you’re over-swinging and yanking everything in front of you.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 18:15 | Comments (0)

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