This summer marks 10 years that I’ve been playing golf, and I’ve come up with a few half-baked observations on the game. Some of these are obvious to the more veteran players among you, but maybe some are insightful. Let’s start with the obvious.
• Golf is more suited to older people. The game was too slow for me at age 21. There’s no running, no physical contact, and I didn’t have the patience to learn it then. Now it’s just the right speed.
• Hitting a drive just right is like hitting a home run.
• Walking nine holes is a good 90-minute workout that can fit into most work days. Eighteen holes, on the other hand, is the main event of the day. I’d rather walk nine four times a week than play 18 twice.
• Some year, I plan to walk the same 18-hole course four days in a row, just to get a feel for what the pros do every week.
• Gimmes should be outlawed. Yes, it’s a gentlemanly gesture, but how many times have the best players in the world missed a two-footer? Enough that nothing should be a “gimme.” And they allow this in the Ryder Cup? It’s an insult to the game. Just sink the ball.
• One of the best tips I’ve received came from Ryan Parenteau at Genesee Valley Meadows. Upon hearing my complaint that I’ve leveled off at double-bogey golf and can’t seem to improve, Ryan suggested I treat every hole as if par were one stroke higher, i.e. a par-4 is really a par-5 for me, etc.
What a psychological difference that makes. I’m so much more relaxed when I “think” I have two shots to get from fairway to green instead of one. I don’t keep records, but I know I’m shooting more 50s
and 49s than 54s and 55s this year.
• Chip shots: I like flat courses. You can have the mountains. … Playing any course for the first time is a thrill. … Playing an oceanside course in Hawaii is high on my dream list.