A whole new way of looking at golf…

March 22, 2010

It’s no secret that golf is a mental game. Is there anyone who hasn’t flubbed it off the first tee after an hour of perfection on the range? Body memory doesn’t cut it where golf’s concerned. There are too many other variables at work on the system. So why not try looking at golf as a ‘series of problems to solve’, rather than a ‘set of skills to master’?

This is my new 2010 golf philosophy. I’ve always learned by understanding and exploring underlying patterns, in math, physics, even new social situations. What are the rules? I ask, before finding out how far I can bend them. Golf is physics; physics is about predictability, which just so happens to be the biggest challenge in golf.

Any relationship requires trust. To be honest, even after 6 years, golf and I still haven’t quite bonded. It’s my fault, really. Not once have I ever sat down with the game, took it by the hand, and said those magical words: “Ok, so now let’s talk about you.” This season, I’m putting our past animosity aside. I’ve spent too long feeling helpless, like some poor abused child, quaking over the ball, not having any clue whether I’m to be rewarded or punished for my persistence. This year, I’m exploring the ball’s motivations before bringing my body back into the equation.

In math, every complicated equation can be broken down into its components and worked through systematically (BEDMAS anyone?). The golf swing’s string of complex contortions can be worked the same way. Basic physics are the simple additions and subtractions underlying golf. Only by developing a close personal relationship with the fundamentals can one hope to have any sense of security (or even hope) while standing over the ball. The idea isn’t to produce a perfectly consistent swing (although a girl can still dream), but to know enough about the ‘why’ to be able to bring an errant swing back from the brink on the 17th hole. Because isn’t that as much as any of us golfers can ask for… just a wee bit of hope?


How to golf in the snow…

June 9, 2009
Blizzards in June? That's Calgary for you!

Blizzards in June? That's Calgary for you!

There are swing issues, and then there are swing issues! Snow in June is definitely one of the latter. A frost delay this late in the year is one thing, and don’t even get me started on the time hubby and I got snowed in at Myrtle Beach (no joke!), but a powdery blanket of mother-nature’s-winter-gift-to-golf-widows can make a whole city cranky. So how do you golf in the snow? Thankfully, this time of year, the answer is easy…  Just wait for it to melt!


17th at Sawgrass comes to Calgary’s Shaganappi Golf Course

May 26, 2009
First hole at Shaganappi - Construction of new layout

First hole at Shaganappi May 26th - Construction of new layout

The front nine of Calgary’s Shaganappi golf course is undergoing a major face-lift to accommodate the city’s new western extension of its light rail system. Lucky for us players, rather than simply chopping yardages, the course architects have livened up the layout with an exiting new 1st hole and some creative tweaking on holes 2,3,4,6, and 7 (view map of reconfiguration).

Starting next season, Spring 2010 (fingers crossed), we Calgarians will be teeing it up on our very own 17th at Sawgrass. That infamous brute of hole is America’s most notorious, and has crushed its share of Tigers, but we Canadians are a tougher lot. None of this ‘putting’ off the hard stuff till the end. We like to face our challenges head on. Blizzard? B’ah, what blizzard? High income taxes? B’ah, bring them on! Impossible green in regulation? B’ah, um…ok… you got me on this one. I’m just happy we won’t be teeing it up on network television.


TOP FIVE – What NOT to do when golfing with a woman!

May 21, 2009

She will lose her mind (and not in that good way) if you pull any of these shady/condescending moves on the course. How do I know? Find out what happened when this experienced golfer was hit with ALL FIVE (in chronological order) during last Saturday’s round!

1# Don't try to stop my ball with your foot!

1# Don't try to stop my ball with your foot!

Don’t… try and stop my ball with your foot. This is, without a doubt, the most humiliating cruelty one golfer can inflict on another. Never mind sexist, this is downright inhuman! Go ahead and help your two year old fit her straw in her juicebox, be my guest. But pleeeease give my hand/eye coordination a little more credit. After all, I did manage, miraculously, to tie these laces all by myself. Even if my ball is supersonically blasting its way across the green, straight for a bunker, DO NOT PUT YOUR TOE IN ITS WAY. I will bite it off (you think I’m kidding, don’t you).

AAAARGH!

2# Don't coach me (in any way shape or form)!

Don’t say… “Don’t forget your club,” as I’m walking towards the wedge I left on the green while putting out. Trust me, even your two year old would get pissed at you for that one. If you do happen to have some useful advice for me, even swing tips, just ask permission first. You know, like when you’re on that first…(oops I mean third) date~wink.

AAAAAARGH!

3# Don't ask me, "are you having fun yet?"

Don’t ask… “Are you having fun yet?” after I’ve just made a mess of a hole. You know what? Don’t even say it after I’ve had a magical, afterlife-illuminating, hole. Just keep your mouth shut. I’m golfing. What business is it of anyone’s whether I’m having any fun at it! I’m here, aren’t I? What more can the bloody game want from me!

AAAAAAAARGH!

4# Don't try to make the game easier for/on me!

Don’t say… “You can move it out of there…” when I have a challenging lie. If I wanted to be mini-putting on Astroturf, then (and this will blow your mind) I would be mini-putting on Astroturf. Last time I checked, golf wasn’t supposed to be a walk in the park (oh wait, technically…). But really, maybe this is my mistake? Maybe it’s supposed to be easy? Just like getting rich is such a cinch, and having great hair every day is…sigh…

5# Don't laugh (out loud) if I flub a shot! Seriously.

5# Don't laugh (out loud) if I flub a shot! Seriously.

Don’t… laugh (long and loud and luxuriously) when I flub my shot.

And there’s where it all went so wrong…
I played it cool all the way through till #5 (aside from a snarky “are you having fun yet” retort on hole 14), but I’m ashamed to say I lost my mind when he started laughing…and laughing…and kept on laughing at my blown bunker shot on hole 15. He went right on laughing even as I was charging at him up the lip of the trap!

I dropped my club and made straight for the brute. I didn’t care that he was a full ½ foot taller and about 100 pounds heavier; I had thousands of years of sexist injustices backing me up! Oh, and one rather shocked husband. Yes, the poor man who had gallantly kept me calm through all the condescension by explaining “he doesn’t know any better,” turned to find his tiny blond wife going all Hulk Hogan on his playing partner. I was up in the middle aged man’s “grill” shouting, “do you have some kind of problem,” when dear hubby dragged me away.

I’d like to say I’m exaggerating here (and so would dear hubby), but, and you girls can relate to me on this, it’s hard for any woman to be taken seriously on the course, no matter her skill level. We have so much more to prove, and so much less raw muscle to prove it with. It’s no wonder we can get a little sensitive when there’s blatant condescension in your voice. Just be warned, chivalry is a noble, but dangerous, game to play on a golf course.

~Visuals by brilliant illustrator Christina Nichols~