…a nod not as much to John Lennon’s song, but more so to the fact that he and George Harrison, as Phil Spector music fans, seemed to enjoy putting words in parenthesis as part of a song’s title – something Phil did quite a bit.
A lot has happened since the last time I picked up a golf club, which was late October of last year. There was, of course, the election of Donald Trump. The holidays (mercifully) came and went as a much ado about nothing. You had the much-ballyhooed comeback of Tiger Woods that lasted only three rounds; now it’s an open question whether we ever see him pick up a club in competition again. On the personal front, we finally completed the work on our living trust, all the work involving my sister-in-law’s divorce is complete (just waiting for the formal judgment to be released), we refinanced our house, and for the first time ever not only have our financial affairs completely in order, but, working with the folks at Edelman Financial, a strategy to keep our retirement plans on track. Taxes are ahead of schedule for the first time in years, and work is finally starting to quiet down from the frenzied pace of the last few months.
All of this taking place since the last time I touched a golf club.
And not that there isn’t still more to do – heck, there’s always more stuff in the queue: taxes to complete, living trust documents to update, and stuff involving the house that has patiently been waiting its turn while all this other “must be done” activity is put in the rear-view mirror. But the brightly-colored and highly-organized file folders that sit on our dining room table once numbering eight has been reduced to four, and even that is about ready to drop to only two as soon as I get around to filing them.
In short, it’s time to start thinking about golf again.
Typically, the end of February is when Exec-Comm (those chaps at the top right) starts thinking about what they want to do about Goodboys Invitational weekend (third weekend of July). I know a few of the boys are already have travel plans in place for spring golf in some very nice places, and I’m actually planning on a few days in Vegas next week without the laptop as a gift for the nose-to-grindstone work I’ve driven these past five months. Tracey would like to go to San Diego in May, and if we do there will have to be a return trip to The Crossings, the nicest course I’ve ever played. So now sounds like a good time to start thinking about picking up the clubs again.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about golf during this time away, mostly in an abstract way. I know at one time I had actually planned on committing myself to lopping a whopping six strokes off my MyScorecard.com 24-handicap (actually 23.9 right now), or at the very least get it down below 20, but looking back I think that was more about giving myself something to focus on in the wake of my Mom’s passing three months earlier. My good Goodboys pal “The Funny Guy” has always stated that hackers like us are what we are, and no amount of effort short of completely giving everything else up and playing and working on golf 24/7 with a bona fide instructor is going to change that. Could a goal of, say, lopping one stroke off my handicap this year be more reasonable and lead to enjoying the game much more? I think that’s where my head is more or less at right now – anything beyond that just seems too difficult and too time-consuming to pursue.
There are other challenges I’m going to be facing as I pick the game back up. For one thing, as I mentioned in an earlier post, someone stole my Callaway RAZR/X woods and hybrids from my garage the other day. I still can’t believe they’re gone. Not that they were valuable in any way (they were five years old and used at that), but more than anything else they were my golf companions even if I never truly figured out how to hit any of them with any consistency (especially the hybrids!). In the mail are Callaway Big Bertha hybrids (3 and 4), a Callaway XR 16 driver, and XR 16 3- and 5-woods. All pre-owned, of course – no need for spending big dough-re-mi on clubs that won’t make a huge difference in my scores one way or the other.
The biggest change – and challenge – I’m going to face is having to use my right eye as my dominant eye instead of my left as I’ve done ever since picking up the game. My eye doc says I’m at the age where they can only put so much prescription in my left eye to accommodate distance (since my LASIK surgery in 1999 I’ve had monovision, meaning that without glasses I use my left eye for reading and up close and my right eye for distance). But I’ve always been more comfortable using my (as a lefty) trailing left eye as my main eye for golf. I could really feel the change in my prescription last year and was having such a hard time seeing the ball clearly with my left eye that I know my friends got tired of me asking, “did you see where that one went?”. It was really impacting my game, and I was hoping new glasses would help get my left eye distance vision back to where it needed to be. It now seems like that’s no longer going to be the case. So, starting this year I’ll be attempting to use my dominant (lead) eye for golf. Will it matter? I’ve consulted all sorts of golf sites and there seems no right or wrong answer. Frankly, I’m a little nervous about how it’s all going to work out, but maybe it won’t be so bad or as much as an adjustment as I think. We’ll see.
And finally, recognizing that I’m a hacker and will always be so means I’m going back to what I liked best about playing golf – wearing my Hawaiian shirts and hitting those orange Wilson 50s. I’ve got four dozen in the garage ready to go, and I won’t be afraid of losing them nearly so much as I would those really nice Callaway Supersofts I’d been using the last couple of years. The way I look at it, it just gives me less to worry about out there: have I marked my ball or marked it correctly? Did I just hit someone else’s ball by mistake? I’ve played literally hundreds of rounds and have yet to come across someone else playing another orange ball, let alone a Wilson 50. I figure I’m going to have enough to worry about just keeping my own shit together out there without having to worry about how to look and act like a golfer. So keeping it simple and familiar and focusing on the basics (see the ball, hit the ball, keep moving) seems like the way to go.
The Great White Shank is back.