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?

Advertisements

A personal apology to Dorothy…

June 22, 2009

Coming up to the last tee box of a Saturday morning nine, one of my freshly introduced foursome, dear Dorothy, told us how she had never once hit the short par three’s green in 15 years of playing Shaganappi.

“Today’s the day,” she said, and promptly topped the ball straight into the rough.

The other two women played it safe, as in nowhere near the green. I shot last, taking a chance on my moody 5 hybrid rather than my usual 6 iron. I’ve never hit it so clean, and the ball sailed singing all the way to the very center of the green.   

I’m sorry Dorothy. I really am. But my ego has to say a little thank you, because you set me up for a shot that – with golf’s wicket sense of humor – couldn’t possibly have gone anywhere else.


Savouring dawn at the driving range

May 28, 2009
 Savouring a May dawn at Calgary's Shaganappi golf course
A late May dawn breaks over Calgary’s Shaganappi golf course

There is only one smell more delicious to a golfer than freshly cut grass, and if you scratch this picture on your monitor hard enough, and breath in deep enough, you’ll get a taste of it. Mmm, that’s right, it’s the sweet smell of dawn breaking over a course yet to be conquered. Good luck, and remember… smooth tempo…always tempo. I’m not trying to be poetic here, or metaphorical, or in any way philosophical, just putting a gentle reminder out into the universe that unless you’re a 14 year old gymnast, any kind of grace before 7am is going to be harder than breaking par at St. Andrews in a hurricane (ok, so maybe just a bit metaphorical). 


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~


Current Blog Serial: Designing a Driving Range Club Carrier (Part One)

May 19, 2009
"Hmmm, wish I could use the range on my walk to work..."

"Hmmm, wish I could use the range on my walk to work..."

When faced with a problem, be it an inconvenience or a roadblock, we have two choices. We can either search available solutions and choose one to adopt, or we can move beyond the explored by designing a custom resolution in the form of a new system/device.

One of SavingCymbria’s main goals is to empower its readers by demystifying the design process. Let’s make creative problem solving accessible to everyone! Our economy has entered a state of flux, and it’s time to get creative about our futures. The days of going out to Walmart and buying cart-fulls of quick-fix gadgets are ending, and I couldn’t be happier! You are about to enter a whole new freedom – the freedom to design your own reality. Welcome home!

"If only there was an easy way to carry my clubs around the city...

"If only there was an easy/safe way to carry my clubs along the bike-path and into downtown..."

The first step in any design process is to clearly define the problem:

  • Lacking a convenient method for transporting 1-4 golf clubs (and minimal accessories) while walking long distances through both rural and urban environments.

Step two is to define the criteria of a successful solution:

  • A lightweight, hands-free, golf club carrier, of primarily waterproof fabric construction, that would hold 1-4 golf clubs, one glove, three balls, and keys/wallet/tokens/tees. The clubs would be suspended in an orientation that would maximize comfort and spacial control (for navigating bike-path/sidewalk crowds). The device would have attractive technical styling, and would be novel enough to attract the curiosity of interested buyers.
Note: Squatting mid-round for some ideation sketching is the quickest way to dull your tees, not to mention freak out the rest of your foursome!

Note: Squatting mid-round for some ideation sketching is the quickest way to dull your tees, not to mention freak out the rest of your foursome!

Stay tuned for Part Two to find out how my hair elastic gets involved…


The official (embarrassing) first sign of golf season

May 19, 2009
Witness the glorious rebirth of sock-tan!

Witness the glorious rebirth of sock-tan!


The gift of a grey morning on the range

May 14, 2009
7AM - With work and the city in the distance, this misty playground is all my own...

7AM - With work and the city in the distance, this misty playground is all my own...

...well, almost.

...well, almost. But he wasn't the only one.

His mate was spying too!

His mate was spying too! Click on the image to play eye spy.

One last look at the real world...

One last look at the real world...

...before 'setting up' for the new golf season. Welcome back!
…before ‘setting up’ for the new golf season. Welcome back!

(Note: Click through to comments for answer to eye spy puzzle)