GolfToons 53 - Blame Your Parents

You hear a lot of excuses on the golf course.

The one excuse you may never hear is blaming a bad shot on the parents. This is a possible extention to one of our early gems, GolfToons 12 - Golf Mom. We have come a long way

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Like almost any noble goal, golf demands accountability, especially towards yourself.

You really can’t blame anyone else, except possibly…

  • The rude playing partner who burps on your downswing,

  • Greens harder than a Wal-mart parking lot,

  • Howling 30 mph crosswinds,

  • Rain saturated fairways,

  • The plugged lie in a bunker wall,

  • The sprinkler head on the green apron,

  • The hapless bird that flies into the path of your ball,

  • or maybe the lightning bolt that takes out your three playing partners.

Other than these few examples, most other excuses seem lame.

GolfToons 52 - Blame the Equipment

“It’s not me, can’t be”

You gotta blame something when a simple shot goes astray. Fat shots, hosels, thin-to-win, pulls, pushes, ducks, s***** and worm burners. The ball is just sitting there, how hard can it be? Especially if you practice.

But the errant shot happen to every golfer, at every level. Hello Sergio.

How many times have you seen an outfielder muff a fly ball and as he walks back to his position, he looks at his glove. Like it was the glove’s fault. It’s human nature.

“It’s not me, can’t be”

That’s why when our clubs go ‘clubbing’ they often complain about getting blamed for OUR lousy swings.

Taking responsibility for your own mistakes is an oft repeated lesson in golf. But a lesson that never seems to gain permanence.

More likely is a visit to the golf store for a remedy or quick fix. And a trip to the garage for your driver.

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GolfToons 50 - Hold the Pose

After you bomb a beautiful drive down the middle of the fairway do you like to hold that follow through pose? I know plenty of golfers that do. Never mind the Tiger club twirl.

One of those blissful moments you want to make last.

It can also be a comedic moment if you hold the pose so long that you elicit comments from your playing partners.

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So next time you crush your driver take a moment or 10 and see how long it takes to draw commentary!

But if you’re golf mates are headed down the fairway it’s best you catch up with them.

GolfToons 48 - Better Lucky than Good

We’ve all experienced luck on the course. The sculled iron that somehow nestles up on the green 6 feet from the pin. Or a shot that ricocheted off a tree back into the fairway. Or the always tricky play off the ball washer.

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The most incredible piece of luck I witnessed was when a friend hit a slightly errant drive that bounced off a pool cage screen, shot straight up into the air, landed on a cart path and then bounced another hundred yards, coming to rest 80 yards from a par 4 green.

He still bogeyed the hole. But that might have gone viral if I had caught it on video.

What’s the luckiest shot you’ve experienced or witnessed?

GolfToons 44 - Centaur of the Fairway

Golf courses are typically designed to reward drives that find the center of the fairway. Ideally it affords the golfer with the optimum location from which to attack the green with their approach shot. Exclamations of “right down the pipe” or “split the fairway” are common refrains after “finding the middle.”

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GolfToons 40 - Tiny Greens

What is worse, tiny greens or intimidatingly long holes?

Both pose their own issues but for me tiny greens can be maddening. And I have deeper thoughts about postage stamp greens, but I will save that for another Golf-Toon.

Today’s question is, “Do putting greens shrink over the years?”

At our local muni I’ve noticed the greens seem to have shrunk over the years. The aprons get a little bigger and creep closer and closer to the pin. My guess is this is a maintenance issue, though it could also be an economic challenge.

Keeping a public course open that offers reasonable green fees for the average Joe golfer is something I hold near and dear to my wallet. Not all of us can afford to plop down a couple Ben Franklins for round of golf.

And a lot of courses, public, private, and my favorite designation, the “Semi Private” all face economic pressures. A lot of green goes into those greens. So maybe by making them a little smaller they can keep their doors open.

Am I overthinking this?

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GolfToons 39 - Depants

Creepy behavior has been a hot topic in the media lately.

Political campaign trails, newsrooms, and Hollywood have all been abuzz with accounts of inappropriate behavior. It’s a public conversation that is long overdue and hopefully we can get it all sorted out before someone proposes a strip Nassau bet to me.

There’s no way my Bermuda short are going south of my equator. There’s simply no a-Biden this. And do not even tell me about the Hollywood version of a Skins game.

The riskiest I get is forgetting to tuck my shirt in.

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GolfToons 38 - Golf Service Dog

I recently read a story about Iraq veterans playing golf with their service dogs. Wouldn’t it be great if we all could go golfing with our dogs!

Think about it. You have a nerve-racking putt, and your mutt sits next to you and calms you down as you give them a good rub behind the ears.

Or say you just chunked a chip and your hound comes over and licks your hand! you would forget about it, how bad could it be?

Dogs also love to chase balls. You could train them to hunt for your ball, saving time and speeding play especially on water holes.

Of course it would be best if they just “pointed” or if they did retrieve, they would need a soft mouth to preserve your Pro V1s or my neon Noodles.

I’m sure there are tons of reasons this is a stupid idea, like cleaning my spikes after stepping in something soft. But I know it would be worth the trouble.

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GolfToons 37 - Mid Life Golf Crisis

Buy a sports car? Take up pickle ball? Have an affair?

Na. You can’t fit the clubs in the sports car.

Heck na. Pickle ball is a fraud. There are no pickles involved at all!

Affairs, contrary to what Hollywood sells us, are like pulling the pin on a grenade to get rid of a bad rash.

Golf is a rarity in sporting pursuits. It is one of the few participant sports that a person can play throughout their life. Your game actually matures, evolves, and changes as you age.

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I know and play with golfers with artificial knees and amputated limbs. You play in spite of diminishing distance off the tee and shift to a 7, then a 6 iron from 150 when you used to hit an 8 iron.

But you forge on and find new ways to play and enjoy the game. You deal with age much as you deal with aging in life. You accept the cards that life deals you and play on!

That’s not to say that we can’ t try to fight back against the ravages of time. We buy better clubs, softer balls, and sharpen the skills that can help us stave off the inevitable.

And a bit of self deceit isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the older I get the better I used to play.

GolfToons 35 - Cradle of Golf

Challenge the origins of golf and you are treading on sacred Scottish turf.

At the website scottishgolfhistory.org the site states it plainly in this soliloquy: “Being the proof as to why golf is definitely, certainly, unquestionably, without doubt, beyond question, indubitably, undeniably, irrefutably, incontrovertibly, incontestably, unmistakably, categorically, decidedly, unequivocally Scottish. Really.”

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Darn. They take this subject more seriously than the taste profile of a dram of single malt.

So I offer this side note to the illustration, the golf club was indubitably, undeniably, irrefutably, incontrovertibly, incontestably, unmistakably, categorically, decidedly, unequivocally planted by an English archaeologist.

I still expect to get a nasty email from Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland.

GolfToons 34 - Voices

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The eternal war for our golfing soul can take on schizophrenic proportions. The battle pitting the forces of conceit versus humble acceptance of our shortcomings.

With our confidence at stake, we try to calm ourself with soothing pre-shot routines.

We try to silence our mind of the endless suggestions and tips that populate our grey matter.

It’s not easy to do, especially when you’re in the midst of a bad round. But next time you hear those voices trying to encourage or erode your game just tell them to shut up and have fun.

Or tell them to talk amongst themselves and you’ll join the conversation next time you’re at the range. Just don’t let anyway see you talking out loud to them.

GolfToons 33 - Clowns on the course

At last summer’s US Open Bryson DeChambeau yelled out in frustration, ”This is clown golf!”

“Gee,” I thought to myself, ”that sounds like a lot of fun.”

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Wearing size 28 golf shoes, gargantuan club heads, and riding around in one of those tiny clown carts would be a blast. Especially if you teed it up at one of those persnickety country clubs. Imagine the sneering! It would probably be so glaring you’d have to wearing giant, cartoonish sunglasses.

But in the staid world of golf I’m guessing the closest we can come to clown golf is wearing some John Daly pants.

GolfToons 32 - Novelty Club Head Covers

Sports Therapist are all the rage on the PGA Tour these days, but what do you do if you’re just a weekend hack? What if you can’t afford the expense for a mind probe? Or you just don’t want an entourage.

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Therapists often use dolls or hand puppets for various role playing exercises. This seemed a little strange at first…I mean SEEMS…

Anyway, in many golf bags I see the perfect tool for just such a moment.

And who cares, as long as it lands in the short grass!

GolfToons 31 - Yoga Pants

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Is their nothing that golfers won’t try to add a few yards to their drives?

It seems every morning when I check my inbox there a several emails that promise me more length and most of them are golf-related. The subject lines tantalize you with added distance, increased swing speed, and higher launches. They can be cutting-edge technologies, revolutionary design innovations, newly discovered carbon fibre formulas, or never-before told secret insights that will take your drives to the next level.

The other realm of assistance are the home-spun variety that you encounter on the course. These are the one I fall prey to. They can range from the plausible to the absurd. Like the guy who handed me a blue cloth bag and said “Crown Royal cured my slice.” Honestly, it didn’t work for me but if not for the side effects I swear it improved my putting.

Lately I have run into several golfers who claim major benefits from yoga. But I’m a “quick-fix” kind of guy so just give me the pants and let’s see what happens.

GolfToons 30 - From your Knees

Golfers call penalties on themselves. An interesting byproduct of this aspect of the game, is that often we have to interpret the rules as situations present themselves. Complications can arise when rules are misinterpreted. A friend of mine thought an unplayable lie was anything in a sand trap.

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Rule 14.3 states when taking relief, the ball must be dropped from knee height. There’s a lot more stuff in rule 14.3 but this knee height thing could be misinterpreted especially by the thick-headed that golf amongst us.

There are no rules officials during a typical Saturday morning match at the local Muni. No Slugger Whites. So be patient and be specific when explaining the new rules to the misinformed.

And so the game continues to give back, often in the form of fodder for the 19th hole.

 

GolfToons 29 - In or Out?

It’s but the early days of 2019 and already the new changes to the rules of golf are creating a buzz. The noisiest reaction being the “Leave It In vs. Take It Out” argument. This new rule allows players to leave the flagstick in the hole when putting. It makes sense and should speed play in most instances.

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It seems there are two camps forming. One camp believes leaving the pin in all the time is the best way to go. Called the “In Crowd” they believe the pin helps with alignment and judging distance. And the ball has a better chance of going in, especially on the downhill putts. The physics and field studies seem to be on their side. I saw proof in a YouTube video so it must be true.

The other camp, the “Old Schoolers,” may ignore the option or just bad at remembering new rules. Heck, Phil doesn’t know them yet so cool your jets “In Crowd,” Phil Mickelson is eating lunch at our table. They also feel the pin can be a distraction on shorter putts.

Has it actually sped up play? Probably, but I played a round of golf with both an “In Crowd” and “Old Schooler.” In and out, in and out, in and out, and on to the second hole.

What do you think, in or out?
Are you a member of the “In Crowd” or “Old School” ?

Next week we talk about the 2019 edition of the drop ball for relief rule and the push-back from short golfers.

GolfToons 27 - Gender Bender

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Golfers are always looking for an advantage.  And in the shadow of the new rules of 2019, that could be a better drop, a pin left in the hole or some other creative interpretation of these recent decrees. In addition to the mental warfare between shots where dominance can shift.     

You can always find someone stretching or misinterpreting the rules to their favor.  That is part of the game of golf, especially as the combatants, we serve as judge and jury.  Golfers call penalties on themselves, a unique and glorious aspect of golf.   

 Golf is a test of your character.  The ball is stationary, and action begins only when you decide it is time for the swing to start.   

What is personally out of bounds for you?

How far will you go for an advantage? 

GolfToons 26 - Interview With a Vampire Golfer

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Imagine playing golf for a few centuries and what it must be like for someone as old as Dracula. From course design, advances in equipment to innumerable rules modifications, he has been through a lot of change.

Although he complains endlessly about finding courses honoring midnight tee times, he does appreciate the improvements in ball technology. “I find the low spin ball has elevated my game dramatically, “ says the Count.

He hasn’t lost much distance due to aging, and improvements in equipment have added at least 75 yards to his drives. Impressive at the age 542. He does confess that it took him 61 years to putt decently.

Since the Count plays during “off hours” he almost never has to suffer playing behind a slow foursome. The last time he got caught behind a dallying group, the entire foursome mysteriously vanished somewhere between the 5th green and the 6th tee box at the Transylvania Golf and Country Club (the Hades course.)

His favorite golf gambling game is a version of skins he calls “First Blood.” The one variation being that when a tie occurs (also known as “no blood”) you can contest the tie in a “longest off the tee” on the next hole. If the next hole is a par three, closest to the pin is used and is referred to as a “bloody hell.”

Dracula also thinks some of the new rule changes for 2019 are long overdue. “Back in the day, we used to leave the flag in the hole all the time. Especially when you’re playing in twosomes, it just makes sense and speeds up play. Last thing I want to risk is getting to the 18th hole as the sun rises.”

GolfToons 25 - Anything Smaller?

We have all played with him.  The guy with his shadow in your line, or with the practice swing you can see out of the corner of your eye.  Not to mention the jingling pocket change.  They usually set the flag down a little too close to the hole. 

 Moving a ball mark may be the easiest distraction to avoid. The rules of golf offer refuge, allowing the mark to be moved such that your putt line will not be affected.  Unless you miss-putt and hit the ball mark anyway. 

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We love the old black-and-white footage when marks were not permitted and you could “stymie” or leave a ball in the way as part of the game.  Mashies or wedges were used to jump over a blocking ball.  The films always show the successful shot.

What about the sculled attempts, or the divots taken near the hole?  We never see that footage, but using ball marks is a much better play.  

Until some joker takes out a manhole cover or Vegas chip he has been somehow carrying all day, and marks it in your line.  Move it, friend 2 to the left!