I play my pestilential game
Without a single speck of shame.
I hack my way around the course
With absolutely no remorse.
The fairways, I have rarely seen —
I struggle once I’m on the green.
My drives will hook, or maybe slice.
They do not follow my advice.
My shots all seek the woods and water.
They do not travel where they orter.
O, I’d forgo all worldly goods
If I could play like Tiger Woods
For just one game. ’Tis not to be;
I guess I’ll have to play like me.

I learned how to play golf under my mother’s exceptionally patient tutelage over a half-century ago. Since then, I have played at places ranging from municipal courses that were not much more than cow pastures to some of the most exalted cathedrals of golf: the Black Course at Bethpage, Pinehurst Number 2, and Medina, all of which have hosted the US Open.

This is not to say that my game was anything to write home about. My scores typically exceeded 100, peppered by the occasional pleasure of a round in the mid-90’s. Nevertheless, any given day taking what Twain has been credited for calling “a good walk, spoiled” would have enough beautifully executed shots to keep me coming back again and again. It’s the same type of variable-ratio reinforcement that keeps gamblers at the tables.

Earlier this week, we went to Top Golf with Dee’s brother and his family. Great fun. Nominally a driving range, the place bears as much resemblance to an old-school driving range as does an Indy race car to a horse and buggy.

Whoever designed Top Golf seems to have taken a Japanese concept, run it through the British business model development machine, and popped out a golfy catchpenny engine of monumental proportions. If you don’t pay attention, you can run up a bill the size of which used to be associated with Hong Kong hostess clubs. But it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

After watching everyone else flail away with an assortment of drivers, mashies, and niblicks, I took my turn at the tee, not really expecting to be able to execute what used to be a powerful, reasonably coordinated, surprisingly inconsistent golf swing. Yet even given my low expectations, I was nevertheless surprised at how difficult it was to draw the club back.

My favored Vardon grip was now beyond the capabilities of my right hand, which provided the barest hint of guidance as my left arm controlled the swing in a strangely foreshortened arc. I was able to hit a few balls off the mat, but it was obvious that crisp, 160-yard seven-iron shots were now forever beyond my reach. For me, the driving range was now the chipping range.

It was a sobering reminder that I was entering a new world. At the same time, it was thoroughly enjoyable to watch our niece and nephew whacking golf balls into the three-story-tall void. And the beer was cold, so, WINNING!

My bag of clubs went back to Texas with Dee’s brother. They will have a happy new home there where they can be put to good use. As for me, my days of playing golf are over... and that’s OK.


  1. "A man's got to know his limitations."
    —Clint, probably not talking about golf

    So I'm staring at the blog's banner and really noticing the noose for the first time. Some of your visitors might start wondering whether this is an ALS blog run by a KKK member, you fabyooluth Grand Wizard, you. Lucky for me, I've met you in the flesh, so I know from personal experience just how deep the racism runs.


    1. Ahhh, you shifty Koreanly dude. Ya got me.

      I'm glad someone noticed that damned noose. It was hard to create that banner in view of my right hand not wanting to pay attention to the instructions I was giving it. Of course it was a nod to the Samuel Johnson quote...or was it?


  2. I’d just like to say I’ve been reading your blog for years. Found it after stumbling across Acid Man at first, and for awhile I was really into that fraternity of Georgia bloggers. I’ve always enjoyed your wit and overall take on things. You are the reason I started pickling! Back in, what? 2010? I’ve actually become kinda good at it, but your blog was the catalyst. God bless you and your family in this trying time. Thanks for everything and know I’m with you in spirit.

    Mike in Mis’siPPO

  3. You will be pleased to know your clubs have been used three times since we got home. And it has only been five days.


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