Last time I “blogged” (I love new words, like “blogged”, language just keeps evolving despite our best attempts to keep it under control) I wrote about the duality of man…well, sort of; I think, strictly speaking, I wrote about the duality of THE Steve and that fact that I might be clinically unemployable due to my inability to focus through one entire game of golf. A bit harsh but it was an epiphany of sorts to realize that you have the concentration of a 2 year old chimpanzee. But lets face it, golf is, certainly in Taiwan, about five hours of “hard yakka” ( as we used to say in Australia). I console myself with the fact that even the best of workers would be unlikely to make it through five hours in a day without resorting to hopping onto facebook, checking out some news sites, or at the very least making a trip to the water cooler to have a chat with whoever happened to be standing there (incidentally this makes me think about a kind of worker that concerns me even more than my own duality; “water cooler guy”…this is the kind of worker that you always find at the water cooler – you can substitute coffee station, lunchroom, reception, lobby etc depending on business and building type. Water cooler guy never has anything to do and is always looking for someone to do it with. To be avoided at all costs. Do NOT make eye contact and do not engage in conversation…there are only two ways to disengage with water cooler guy; offend them by leaving or be caught skylarking by your boss, neither is a good outcome as the second involves your boss discovering a truth about workers that we all try to hide and the first offends someone whose sole purpose in life is talking to other people…think about it!). Cutting through my random stream of consciousness I return to my original topic…which I opened by reminding everyone of the duality of man/THE Steve that I discussed in the wildly successful blog of my previous game. After my epiphany that I was actually two golfers in one (the great golfer of my imagination and the crap golfer of reality?) I resolved to do three things on the golf course; concentrate on EVERY shot, forgive myself if I had a bad shot, and move on even if I did have a bad shot. For a hole by blow account of how I achieved this please read on! You may be surprised…
But first let me put this in context…I played three days in a row this week. Mine is not a job where I get to spend every week playing golf but this week was very special. I had a glimpse of what some people’s lives are like; you know those people that play golf everyday and call it work…I think “networking’ is the name they use, some might call it “relationship building”. I call it damn lucky. And the cruelest cut of all is that these are usually the people who earn the most. Rampant jealousy aside I had a glimpse this week of those lives. I played three days in a row; Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Of course I had to pay for myself and will need to eat baked beans for about four months to pay off the loan I had to take to afford it but, like the best holidays, it was worth it regardless of the size of the credit card bill to come.
Anyway, playing three days in a row was what I needed to prepare me for a great competitive game on the Saturday. Saturday March 5th was my golf group’s first proper competitive outing for 2011…and I was going to be well prepared for a great showing given it was the third day of a three game streak. My friends were going to see a new THE Steve…focused, practiced and well and truly warmed up.
My short game has improved tremendously this year…mainly due to practice. I have been to the driving range weekly practicing with my “mistress” (my 60 degree wedge for you late comers; not an actual mistress…I did say in an earlier blog that I like metaphors) and have felt good about my short game. I have been known for my driving and won the longest drive regularly at my club games and like the truest of idiots have placed my ego in the praise of others. Giving this up and forgoing the longest drive opportunity (for a chance to be on the fairway more regularly!) has been one of the hardest things I have had to do but my golf has improved because of it. It should have been a clue to my problem that with the ever increasing speed of my club head I was having to open my drivers club face ever more to cope with my exaggerated downswing until finally I was practically starting with my club facing 90 degrees away from the target line. A slower swing and some time at the driving range and my short game has improved enormously. But it is a well know truism that in golf anything you spend time improving will automatically affect in a negative way some other part of your game. So the improvement in my short game has come at the expense of my driver; which recently has developed a game-killing snap hook (Vietnamese coffee not withstanding). By the way, I looked up snap hook on google and the most common response was that this will end your career and is incurable…a sobering but not altogether positive swing thought!
So I decided that with my short game in a happy place, the golfic equivalent of a beach on a warm summers night, it was time to get my driver back on line. Aiming squarely at the far right hand net on the driving range I pounded 60 golf balls into the back of the net. I was ready.
Short game? Check!
Ready for a some great golf? Check!
And everything was going splendidly…a birdie to start, still even par after 4 holes, and a game saving bogey on the 5th par three to keep me at only one over and I knew it was going to be my day. The next hole was a tricky par four over trees and I played it perfectly on the fairway with a little 100 yard pop to get it onto the green…
and then…I give you THE STATS…prepare yourself.
By the time I had shanked it out of bounds, hit eighteen trees, blown the ball past the green on at least two holes, and snap hooked my way into a dislocated shoulder I had two possible ways to look at my game. One was to be happy that I had had a blistering opening 5 holes. The second is that I squandered a great opening volley with some terrible decisions. I would love to say that I rose above the travesty that was the rest of that golf game and proved to the world what a mature, developed, well-rounded person I am but, sadly, I did not and I chose the second “last time I am over going to play golf” approach…I think my bottom lip actually had a tremor in it by the time I had finished.
But seriously, it was one of those days where trees seemed to grow out of the middle of the fairway and great shots found rocks where none existed and bounced out of bounds. I didn’t play badly and even played some great shots…and they just kept going the wrong way somehow…the spirit of the universe has conspired against me…
But hey, at least I am playing well enough that the spirit noticed and was moved to do something about it!!!