Golf For The First Time
It's easy to see the appeal of golf--it's like lawn mowing you can win. You take a metal club and smack a ball with it and--here's the easy part--even if you miss the hole on your first try, you're allowed to take another shot or two. The hardest part of the whole sport is becoming accustomed to dressing like you've just immigrated from a mentally ill country.
To make the sport less boring, course designers have carefully built in a whole series of obstacles, called "geese." The geese give you something to look at while the person who is at bat walks around, staring at the golf ball from all angles as if trying to decide who it reminds him of. The geese often engage in a biological function necessary to the creation of baby geese, if you get my drift, which you'd think would remind most of the men playing golf that they could probably be doing something similar if they didn't spend every weekend on the golf course, but it never does.
I decided to take a lesson from a golf "pro"--a person who is paid by the country club to discredit the theory that a deep tan is bad for your health. I arrived at the club house early and found myself eavesdropping on four men who were chatting about their morning round of golf with all the intensity of people discussing something actually interesting. My highly trained ear picked up on the lingo, so that when the golf pro arrived, I was able to impress him by remarking casually, "I hope I can punt well enough on the third hole to get a double google or maybe even a beagle."
"Your English is very good!" he responded brightly. His name was Jack and he appeared to be in his early 30s. He was annoyingly fit despite the fact that he did nothing all day but play golf.
Jack suggested we start with the basics, which I scoffed at. "Oh, I think I can drive a golf cart," I told him.
Jack advised that there was more to golf than just riding around in carts breaking up geese dates. He taught me how to raise the club slowly behind me in a smooth, controlled motion designed to look good in Buick commercials. Then, uncoiling like a spring, the body twists and the club whips around blindingly fast to send the ball soaring with such speed it appears to vanish in the clouds.
"Wow," I breathed, awed at my prowess.
"That was great," Jack praised, impressed with my natural athleticism. "With just a little more concentration, you should be able to hit the ball."
Eventually I developed the following system for successfully hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range.
"Excellent!" Jack beamed. He took four steps forward and stood where the ball had come to rest. "Now, just swing a little harder."
I had paid for just three hours of Jack's time and they flew by--he seemed reluctant to call the lesson to an end, probably because we were still on the first hole. But I had learned what I needed to learn about golf: geese float, golf balls don't.
The rest is easy.
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