July 26, 2018

I’m sure you folks had started wondering whether this blog had turned into something sponsored by a Canadian pharmaceuticals company or something, considering the amount of junk posts that have appeared over the past several months. Actually, after looking into things a little more deeply, this had been going on since the beginning of the year (albeit in less of a scope than it had been lately). No one likes to get texts while you’re prepping for Goodboys Invitational weekend saying, “dude, your blog has been hacked again”. So, with the help of the good folks at Dreamhost we were able to nail down that some entity had hijacked a former user and occasional author on this site and used it to post their crap. Hopefully, by disabling that user’s account they won’t be able to sabotage things like they had been doing.

Since I’m here, I’ll leave the Goodboys Invitational weekend update to my next post. The good news is, is that le affaire “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” is over. Finished. Kaput. Sure, there’s some minor lingering stuff that one would expect after such a long and arduous journey, but for all intents and purposes it is ovah. How do I know? I left the laptop at my father’s apartment for the better part of four – count ’em, four! – days over GB weekend and never got called. Now that’s saying something! The psychological scars remain, of course (my relationship with my boss and my company will never, ever be the same), but that’s just the way it goes.

The big news is that I got my dad into what appears to be some real nice senior living digs. A lovely community in the next town over where the only thing he’ll have to pay for is some basic internet access and some rental insurance for his studio apartment. It gets him away from the all the obligations, isolation, and ghosts associated with the apartment he had shared with my mom for the better part of fifteen years. He can give up his car and having to worry about going to restaurants and the supermarket for his next meal, and he’ll be surrounded by a bunch of folks his age in a positive and welcoming setting.

I won’t lie to y’all – this is going to take a load of pressure and worry off of me and my brother, who have only wanted the best for him all along. After all, at 89 and in pretty good health (at least at this moment!) he deserves to have a little less worry about living alone. But with me in Arizona and Dave in Georgia, it’s been hard not to worry about him from the moment of waking to that of sleeping. Now, he’ll be a part of a community where he won’t feel so alone. And between the end of “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” and this, the ongoing nightmare that has been 2018 might actually give me a bit of a break. All you folks who have had to worry about and take care of your parents know what I’m talking about – you want only the best for them, but the stress is difficult, especially when you’re thousands of miles away.

Of course, we’re not there yet – my dad’s move is in three weeks and there is lots to take care of before that. I’m exhausted, both mentally and physically. I wasn’t at my best during Goodboys weekend, and I triggered easily over the smallest amount of stress. But that’s where my mind and body is right now. As coach Bill Belichick would say, “it is what it is.”. All I can say is, my planned Vegas weekend in early December is an oasis shimmering on the distantr horizon. I don’t know if it’s real or not, and I don’t know if I’ll even get there, but it would sure be nice to look back on this year, tip a glass of Veuve Cliquot, and say, “dude, you made it.”

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July 20, 2018

Sitting here in the business center at Foxwoods Casino and Resort. The Goodboys are starting to arrive from parts north, south, and east, and the first two days look to be great here. Sunday, unfortunately, is looking like a washout. Not much else to say at this point, will have a round-up at the end of the weekend, whatever day that might be.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 07:31 | Comments (0)
July 13, 2018

Seems like it was yesterday, stuck in the grunge of “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”, and the Goodboys all wondering about where we are going to play, how much will it cost, who is my partner, who will tuck me into bed at night, etc. etc. etc. I’ve melted down couple-two-three times, hurt my back, saw Arizona winter turn into summer, saw the monsoon season come in, then hurt my back again. The calendar doesn’t care. As Jimmy Buffett sang, “the days drift by, they don’t have names.” I’ve been trying like hell to get my last “Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” deliverable done, but things keep getting in the way and what was December is now July and not just July, but Goodboys July, and I’ll be heading to the airport in, like, two hours and there’s still so much to do.

The golf clubs are packed. The orange balls of Arizona golf have been swapped out for brand spankin’ new white Callaway Supersofts. The Hawaiian shirts are all hanging by the suitcase, the golf shorts picked out by Tracey to make the loudest statement possible. If you can’t play well, then look good doing it.

I feel really good about my golf game. I love my TaylorMade M2 irons, and as good as I thought my game was going into last year’s Goodboys Invitational weekend, I feel like my golf game is light years ahead of that. Most certainly, my “situational awareness” is better and my strategy of sticking with the “three principles” – 3/4 swing, keeping my lower body quiet, finish up on my back big toe” – is a great strategy that only The Great White Shank can torpedo if he lets what lies between his ears get in the way.

The back is a big concern, though. I’ve been taking some muscle relaxants that seem to work really good, but if it’s Goodboys week I’ve got to play. I’ve got five rounds in the next nine days scheduled, and the back has to hold up. After that, I don’t care. I’ll hit the gym when I get back and just work on my back muscles to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

There’s a sense of change in the air. My dad really wants to transition away from the apartment he and Mom shared for the past ten years and he has lived in for the 2+ years since Mom passed away. Hard to believe it’s been that long, but the calendar doesn’t lie. To me, Goodboys is really the mid-point of the year. When Goodboys weekend is over, my New England bones start thinking about fall (even though summer here in the Valley of the Sun still has more than 2 1/2 months to go. I have a weekend in Vegas planned for December where I want to repeat almost to the minute everything I did last year before I got that text while driving back to Phoenix from that dick-head that started the whole descent into madness that to a lesser extent is still going on. As if creating an alternate universe will make things better. Oh well, at least the stress and the slurring of words is gone, and I can sleep most nights without dreaming about work.

Well, I gotta take a shower and finish packing. See y’all in the Eastern Time Zone.

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July 11, 2018

Been quite the active week here in the Valley of the Sun as far as the weather goes. The weather folks said last month that it was going to be an active monsoon season this year with a lot of dust and a lot of rain – given the fact that it’s not yet the middle of July and monsoon season goes through the better part of September, I guess they weren’t just whistling Dixie.

Take Monday for example. During the day all the talk was about that really bad storm that hit the west side of the Valley on Sunday night. 50 MPH winds and a downburst with even higher winds. You look at this story about what happened in Buckeye, and it’s pretty incredible.

Look, I love a good thunderstorm just as much as the next guy, but out here I’ve learned to respect – and fear – downbursts (also known as microbursts) and their damaging winds akin to small tornadoes. Just a couple of years back we had a microburst hit just on the edge of our subdivision just five minutes away from us. Big mesquites taken down in a row from west to east. And where we were? Just some rain and wind.

On Monday I had to take Tracey to physical therapy for her shoulder, and on our way there her phone was already showing a severe thunderstorm warning for storms moving east to west. By the time I got there, you could hear everyone’s phones beeping with the warnings. I checked my phone and there not only was a severe thunderstorm warning, but a dust storm warning as well. I looked out the window of her place and it looked like the end of the world was upon us – a wall of dust moving ahead of the blue-black clouds of the thunderstorm itself:

As the storm rolled through our house didn’t get the worst of it, but it was pretty impressive, nevertheless.

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On Tuesday it was kind of cloudy and muggy, the sun peeking through a gray-brown dusty sky. I wanted to work on my game so I headed out to Superstition Springs for a small bucket and to work on my short game. By the time I got there the sun was gone and a cool-ish kind of ill wind was whipping across the driving range. The range was completely empty, the lush green grass around the putting green from just a few weeks ago now down to a weedish scrub, the quick green sheen of a rocket-fast putting green replaced by aerated srub. That’s what two weeks of 110-degree temperatures will do to you. I grabbed a small bucket and went to work. Specifically, I was looking to reinforce my three principles (3/4 swing, keep the lower body quiet, finish up on my back toe) and then reinvent my short game for something like the 4,327th time. It was ten days from the Goodboys Invitational weekend and the time for crewing around was over.

It all felt kind of foreign to me. The wind alternated between a warm, muggy wind from the south and a cool, damp wind from the east. There was no need for a hat – every time I put it on my head the wind would take it and send it rolling across the empty bays to my left. I worked my way through the bucket and felt like I did a pretty good job sticking with my principles. And with the hard wind working right to left, it would have been fun to try some knockdown shots, but instead I worked on aiming right of target and letting the wind take it in. I hit the ball good enough for what I was trying to accomplish, then turned my attention to my short game.

Towards the west I could see rain falling and the familiar monsoony-smell of creosote bushes in the air. After playing around with a few different club angles at address and ball positions, I settled for what I felt most comfortable with and playing the ball in the middle of my stance instead of off my back foot. Towards the end I was hitting twenty-yard pitches across the pitching / chipping area when one of my downswings caught a clump of grass behind my ball. I felt a sharp twinge in my lower back and knew I had better stop immediately. Rain had started to fall lightly anyways, and I could smell and taste the dust that came with it.

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As soon as I got home it was thundering to the south and west, but not close to us. But you could tell there was more dust. I peeled the clothes off me, poured myself a glass of Pinot Grigio, and dipped my cranky back into the pool. You could see the dust off to the west, and the palm trees, wine glass and coral-colored posts of the patio against the gray clouds, so I snapped this picture:

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It’s late Wednesday night and we’re getting a garden-variety thunderstorm outside. Not too much wind, some occasional thunder and lightning, and some additional rain – something no one around here will ever complain about. My back is bad – if 10 was as bad as it could get when I first hurt it a month ago, right now it’s about a seven. It’s really hard to move so I’m trying some muscle relaxants and see what I can do to get on some anti-inflammatories before I head back to Massachusetts on a Friday night red-eye. I would like to hit a small bucket and work some more on my short game on Saturday ahead of playing golf on Monday and Thursday before Goodboys Invitational weekend a week from Friday through Sunday, but right now, to quote Frank Zappa, I figure the odds be 50-50 that I’m gonna take a chance on that.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:48 | Comment (1)
July 9, 2018

Trump Derangement Syndrome, example 1,297,600. You read stories like this and this, and it’s hard to not agree with Michael Savage when he wrote that liberalism was a mental disorder. As Boston radio talk host Howie Carr is wont to say, “Your agony is my joy.”

…another thought: I’m betting that same putrid wallflower considers herself a feminist. I thought feminists considered themselves tough, strong, equal to men in every way. Frankly, this woman sounds like she needs a man to protect her from herself and tell her, “Suck it up, buttercup!”

Liberalism suicide watch. Some of them are pretty funny.

What’s really sad about today’s liberals and liberalism in general is their complete innate and inability to laugh at themselves, others, and the world around them. That’s what made comics like Bob Newhart, Rodney Dangerfield, and Don Rickles so funny back in their day. Just go out on YouTube and look some of their videos – even forty years later they are (as they say) LMAO. George Carlin was really good until the very end when much (not all) of his stuff became more angry than funny. But he still knew how to turn the screws – his routine on global warming remains a classic, and one of the funniest things you’ll ever hear.

Do you think in today’s culture Mel Brooks could have made The Producers or Blazing Saddles? Of course not. And Monty Python’s Life of Brian? When it came out, it was deemed outrageous and blasphemous at the time for its nativity beginning and crucifixion ending. You know what scene today would cause the greatest sense of outrage? This one. Because the least funny and tolerant people in the world are transgenders, who have been so spoon-fed liberalism from day one that they think they’re so damned special and that their rights trumps (excuse the expression) those of others. They’ve not only lost their sense of body, but of mind. You don’t believe me?

You know what conservatives did the day after Barack Obama was elected? They went to work and continued living their lives just as they did on the last day of George W. Bush’s presidency. Folks like the pathetic wallflower mentioned in the above are actually pretty sick folks. As are the ones who harass and terrorize folks simply because they are wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. Because that’s what they are – terrorists. We’re nearly two years into Donald Trump’s presidency and liberals still can’t get over it. But this is what happens when you’ve traded your existence for the emptiness daily politics brings.

Elections have consequences. It’s time for liberals to grow up and get over it.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 02:39 | Comments (0)
July 7, 2018

We’re down to less than two weeks before Goodboys Invitational weekend. I’m getting mentally in shape for it by catching the last couple of hours of the European Tour events on Golf Channel just as I’m starting work – this weekend it’s the Irish Open, next weekend it’s the Scottish Open, all leading up to the Open Championship which is always the same weekend as Goodboys Invitational weekend.

For me, the only professional golf event that comes close to the Open Championship is the Masters. I have fond memories of putting on the Open at my folks’ place on Thursday and Friday prior to Goodboys, since that’s where I’m usually staying. There’s just something about being back home in New England and watching morning golf in a faraway, exotic place. And then catching portions of it over Goodboys weekend prior to us playing on Saturday and Sunday has always been a lot of fun. Back in the day we’d have one of the rooms set up with a Bloody Mary bar and we’d all camp out and watch the coverage before it was time to go. Fun memories.

Nuclear test explosion videos. Kinda hard to believe we as human beings used to do this kind of stuff. Pretty frightening, actually. All I can think of is all the fish and desert critters killed as we tried to figure out how best to inflict the maximum amount of damage on human beings.

You’re Nancy Pelosi. And you’re wondering how on earth just ten years after having the presidency, the House and the Senate you’re now reduced to having to come out against a jobs report that is pretty much universally praised. Do you hate Donald Trump that much that you can’t even give him a smidge of credit for something that actually helps Americans and your constituents?

Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren is a fraud, always was. Donald Trump just has the balls to call her on it. And Mark Steyn’s column on “her fraudness” is a must-read laugh a minute.

Sorry to hear about Elvis Costello’s health issues. I mean, Elvis Costello! If he can grow old and have to battle a form of aggressive cancer, what does that mean for us mere mortals?

We had our first taste of monsoon on Wednesday with a small dust storm that hinted at bigger and better things to come. Everyone around here is hoping for a wet monsoon season because the long-term forecast for a low-grade El Nino is for another unusually warm and dry winter.

Tiger and Phil square off for a $10 million “grudge match”? Count me all in. Ought to be a blast to watch.

I guess karma is a bitch.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 03:03 | Comments (0)
July 4, 2018

Days until the 2018 Goodboys Invitational: 16
MyScorecard.com Handicap: 26.0 / Change: (+0.8)
Location: Stonecreek Golf Club
Score: 55 / 54 = 109

July 4th golf in the Valley of the Sun. Get there, get your round in, get out before the afternoon “witching hours” set in. My goal today was to adhere to the same three principles on every shot: 1) take a 3/4 swing; 2) keep my lower body quiet; 3) finish up on my back foot big toe. It’s all about trying to eliminate my tendencies to over-swing and yank the ball with an over-active shoulder turn. While the score wasn’t insignificant, I’m in Goodboys Invitational weekend preparation mode, so it was all about swing and target visualization, taking practice swings, and adhering to the three principles.

By and large, I’m pretty happy with my goal achievement today. While I only hit four fairways all day, there were only two drives I was unhappy with: an over-swing on the par 4 #6 which I pulled into a fairway bunker, and the par 4 #10 where I not only hit my drive, but my mulligan OB into the condos on the left with a big balloon push by not finishing my swing.

What killed me today was – surprisingly – my short game. Which, admittedly, I haven’t worked on at all, but it hadn’t been a problem until today. Today it was a huge problem. The 27 putts weren’t outrageously bad, but the three 3-putts on the back nine didn’t help. To be truthful, I never really gave myself much of a chance on the greens today – my chipping was awful. But it’s not something I’m going to worry about because: a) I was playing around with chipping with an 8-iron in anticipation of the grasses and greens back in New England, and b) I’ll work on my short game in earnest when in back in Massachusetts for Goodboys Week.

What really killed my round was a ghastly stretch of four eights in a span of five holes. On the par 4 #6 it took me two tries to get out of the fairway bunker, then I flared a 9-iron from 122 yards into a greenside bunker on the left, then had to take two tries to get out of that. On the par 5 #7, it took me 5 strokes to get the ball into the hole from 70 yards out. I messed up two chips before three-putting on that devilish green. After bogeying #8, I hit a decent drive on the par 4 #9 that left me 187 yards to the pin from the center of the fairway. Here I hit my first truly awful iron of the day, chunking a 5-iron, then yanking a 7-iron into a greenside bunker right. It took me two tries to get out of that bunker and then three-putting from twelve feet to earn that snowman. And then on the par 4 #10, lying three after my drive and mulligan OB, I chipped out into a good spot, then shanked a 9-iron from 120, then chunked a sand wedge into a greenside bunker.

….Ahh yes, my sand game. It killed me today. How many strokes did it take to get out of the eight – count ’em, eight! – bunkers I ended up in today? If you guessed 14, you’d be right. But seriously, I’m not going to worry about it or even lose sleep over it. And I’m not going to commit myself to standing in a sand trap for two hours on a blazing hot July afternoon to work on my sand game. The easiest way to deal with it is simply to try and avoid them at all cost.

At this point my round could have gone either way, but I regrouped on the ride to the eleventh tee and re-committed myself to what I was trying to do out there. And while my scores didn’t reflect it, I kinda sorta did pull it together the rest of the way in. Outside of the two par 3s – #12 and #15 – where I yanked two five irons into the water right (I do plan on working this out!) – I actually hit a number of quality shots until I got around the green. Threw a lot of strokes away with my short game down the stretch, but my ball-striking was pretty darned good. I hit my 5-wood consistently well all day, and I even tossed in a very aggressive 4-hybrid from 190 yards to twelve feet from the pin. I three-putted for bogey (of course), but the shot was a beauty to behold.

So that’s gonna close out my competitive golf here in the Valley of the Sun until at least November. I’ll probably hit the range to work on my “three principles” a couple of times before heading back, but overall I’m feeling pretty positive about my game. I’m getting more used to the distances on my M2s, and I’m looking forward to working on my short game on good ol’ New England grasses and greens. It’s disappointing to see that I’m back to being a 26-handicap, and I’m still committed to getting myself down to a 20 at some point, but it won’t be this year.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 20:21 | Comments (0)
July 3, 2018

You’re probably wondering (or could care less) why I haven’t been blogging. As hard to believe as it might be – or maybe it’s not hard to believe at all – we’ve had a setback at the so-called “Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”. Without going into details, what everyone assumed had been completed wasn’t completed. And there are a lot of fingers being pointed at various folks because of it, including, of course, yours truly. So now, over the holiday, I have my team having to do a whole bunch of stuff I thought we were done and gone with.

Got called on the carpet by one of the bigwigs asking when all of this will end. Told him I didn’t know. Don’t think he was too happy. Heads are starting to roll over the mistakes that have been made. My boss’s boss got his walking papers yesterday. My own boss? He’s keeping his distance. Not exactly the tact I would take, but I honestly don’t care anymore. I don’t think they’ll come after me, but if they do I really don’t give a sh*t – let life play out the way it has to. I’ll go with whatever fate decides. There are more important things to worry about – like, can I discipline myself to take 3/4 swings, keep my lower body quiet, and finish up on my back foot big toe.

Thing is, I was one of the loudest voices back in November telling all the clowns managing the project that it wasn’t ready to implement. They were asking me for answers to questions. I told them not only didn’t I have the answers to their questions, I didn’t even know all the questions yet. And after all this time my team is the equivalent to the Ebola virus while everyone and every other dick-head in upper management who allowed this fiasco to happen (well, as of today, minus one) is allowed to skate.

Keep in mind I’ve been living this fiasco day in, day out for more than eight months. Eight months! I can’t help but think there will comee a time when I’m laying in some hospital bed, old and withered, wondering when the dick-head who is supposed to change my bed pan will ever get off his iPhone (or whatever they are using at the time) and what I could have been doing during these eight months instead of being on this miserable, never-ending chain gang.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:46 | Comments (2)
June 28, 2018

Interesting article in City Journal about the goings-on in today’s European Union:

…The EU, that great construct of progressive centralism, he added, “is devoid of any character. European culture is in hiding, disappearing, without a soul.” Critical here is the precipitous decline of Christianity, the ideal that forged Europe’s premodern identity. Well over 50 percent of Europeans under 30 don’t identify with a religion; in the UK, the Muslim population could exceed Anglican Church membership within a decade.

Christianity’s decline, observed Tocqueville scholar Joshua Mitchell, represents a direct threat to European democracy. The great French writer, he reminded us, was Christian, and his descendants today remain committed to the Catholic faith. Christian values tempered the transition from aristocracy to democracy; Tocqueville saw Christianity as a constraint on the rampant individualism and materialism characteristic of democratic societies, which he had observed in the United States. Tocqueville, Mitchell suggested, “believed people have to have a culture, a place and a religion.”

Perhaps the most heated expression of demo-pessimism comes as a reaction to mass migration, notably from Islamic countries. The decision of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to open her borders to refugees from places like Syria and Afghanistan and the African continent has destabilized European sensibilities in a way not seen since the Second World War. Few speakers defended Merkel’s actions, reflecting almost three-to-one negative reaction to mass migration among Europeans. This opposition has helped nurture populist movements across the continent, including the new government in Italy. Unrestricted migration helped drive Brexit in the UK and sent many traditionally centrist voters elsewhere flocking to anti-immigrant parties, including some on the extreme, quasi-fascist right.

A couple of thoughts about this:

Of course, Christianity has only itself to blame for the “precipitous decline” mentioned above. Modern-day Protestantism is nothing more than watered-down, modern-day liberalism practiced on Sundays – by and large – by churches who have handed their legacy and used the ordination of radical feminists, gays, and lesbians, as a tool to shove modern-day progressivism down the throats of their ever-declining numbers. And the Roman Catholic Church’s horrendous mishandling of sexual abuse cases by priests has harmed the Church immeasurably. It’s no wonder, then, you see the rise of non-denominational small and “mega” churches who take the Bible seriously, teach the Gospels, and require their members to tithe. You can criticize them all you want – especially when it comes to the televangelists who are all over the cable networks – but nature abhors a vacuum, and these churches are fulfilling a need for people seeking a greater purpose and fulfillment in their lives beyond the reach of modern society and the information and media-saturated world we live in. Good for them, I say.

Finally, Mark Steyn predicted this set of affairs in his fine book, America Alone, in which he wrote the following:

On the Continent and elsewhere in the West, native populations are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic. Time for the obligatory “of courses”: of course, not all Muslims are terrorists — though enough are hot for jihad to provide an impressive support network of mosques from Vienna to Stockholm to Toronto to Seattle. Of course, not all Muslims support terrorists — though enough of them share their basic objectives (the wish to live under Islamic law in Europe and North America) to function wittingly or otherwise as the “good cop” end of an Islamic good cop/bad cop routine. But, at the very minimum, this fast-moving demographic transformation provides a huge comfort zone for the jihad to move around in. And in a more profound way it rationalizes what would otherwise be the nuttiness of the terrorists’ demands. An IRA man blows up a pub in defiance of democratic reality — because he knows that at the ballot box the Ulster Loyalists win the elections and the Irish Republicans lose. When a European jihadist blows something up, that’s not in defiance of democratic reality but merely a portent of democratic reality to come. He’s jumping the gun, but in every respect things are moving his way.

What we are seeing today is nothing more than a modern-day reenactment of the Goths and the Vandals sacking Rome. Unlike Rome in its day, however, we know exactly what’s going on out there in the so-called wilderness. We read about it, hear, text and tweet about it, and get browbeaten by the elites in our society over it, and then, basically, do nothing about it. I’ve never understood the “open borders” crowd and their hatred for Western civilization. At least here in the West we don’t force women to cover themselves up and treat them as second-class citizens. I guess it’s all borne out of ignorance: until one lives in a truly repressive society and culture you have no way of knowing how good you have it on the western side of the fence.

Oh well. My Hemingway Daiquiri needs refreshing.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 19:34 | Comments (0)
June 27, 2018

Less than a month from Goodboys Invitational weekend. I’m in regular contact with Foxwoods Hotel & Casino in Connecticut, working out the finer logistical details: checking in, checking out, where our Champions Dinner will be held, shuttles to the Lake of Isles Golf Course, etc. In between, I’m trying to clear my desk of all kinds of work ahead of heading back to Massachusetts on the 14th – there’s training I have to get done, “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” keeps on putting demands on both my team and my patience, and there’s all kinds of other work-related stuff going on.

Had a rough outing at Superstition Springs Golf Club last Friday when all kinds of old demons crept back into my game. Part of it was the abysmal setting I was playing golf in – a grandfather teaching his 12-year old granddaughter how to play golf with me trying to offer words of encouragement as best I could while we backed up two groups behind us. By the time I shook them and the foursome in front of me it was just getting way too hot to golf and my attention (and my swing) began to wander. Ended up with a 51+54 for a 105, but it looked a lot worse than that.

My glass of Pinot Grigio wasn’t even half empty when I realized the bad habits I had fallen into, all the signs were there: fat hits, a few yanks, banana slices with the driver. I remembered my last session a couple of years back with my swing coach Alex Black, and the drills forcing me to shift my weight and take a divot in front of the ball. Woulda been nice to recognize that on the field of battle, but no one ever accused The Great White Shank of situational awareness when it comes to his golf swing. Me, I need a little separation from the action. A few years ago, I’d need weeks (if not months) and perhaps a lesson to work these things out; now I’m down to a half glass of white wine on the 19th tee.

Now that’s what I call progress!

Golf is a funny game. Every time you think you got things nailed down it comes back to bit your ass. What separates the good hackers in Goodboys Nation – Skeeta, Killer, The Funny Guy, and Deuce, for instance – from the average to mediocre everyday hackers like the rest of us is that they have a greater self-awareness about their swings; they can feel when they need to gear down and make the necessary adjustments then all of a sudden rip off four or five pars in the next seven or eight holes. I’m obviously not there yet.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not creeping closer, if only in tiny increments. On the front nine at the Springs I was spraying my driver everywhere. On the back nine, I made an adjustment and all of a sudden got the accuracy and distance back that I had been missing the day before at Papago Park. It’s all about weight shift and (for me) a mental picture of keeping my lower body quiet.

And that’s what I’ve been working on at the Kokopelli G.C driving range the past few days – crawling out of the abyss and getting back to the fundamentals of weight shift and keeping my lower body quiet. It was brutally hot out there today, me being the only one on the range. On days like this, where the temps are 110 or higher, you just get in, work on what has to be worked on, and make tracks to the A/C in your car. But I love the solitude of the range, playing games in my mind with where I want to place the ball and seeing how close I can get it.

Sometimes I wonder how long I’ll be able to hit balls at the range. My logical mind says I’ve got another twenty years or so of ball-hitting ahead of me, but you never know, do you? So I try to get the most out of my time there: if the mourning doves and foo-foo birds are making a ruckus I’ll talk to them. I don’t care what the “professionals” in their Titleist gear and designer golf clothes think. If a sudden breeze comes up to rustle the palms or stir the pine trees lining the first fairway I’ll stop and just listen for a minute. I like it like that. Not today, though – it was too damned hot to waste time.

I think I’m going to play this weekend and then next weekend and that will be a wrap ahead of my Massachusetts return for Goodboys Week. Maybe my handicap trend is four points higher than I wanted it to be by this time, but I think I’m in a good place – an even better place than I was last year. I’ve great clubs, enjoy working on my fundamentals, and am looking forward to (hopefully) surprising some people.

That’s where The Great White Shank is right now.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 18:48 | Comment (1)

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