GolfToons 57 - Meet Father O'Fairway

Introducing Father O’Fairway. The Most Reverend O’Fairway hails from County Clare, Ireland where he grew up playing the sport of golf from the time he was young lad.

He plays religiously but almost exclusively midweek, as his weekends are occupied by priestly duties.

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Father O’Fairway’s love of golf is rooted in his belief that one must find joy in anguish. Laugh at the Agony, if you will.

As a Jesuit he has taken the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience though he has confessed to making the occasional wager.

Playing to a 9.3 handicap, O’Fairway considers mulligans and gimmies blasphemies to the sanctity of the game.

“Putt them out. The Lord is keeping score,” is a common refrain from him.

GolfToons 56 - Hurricane Golf

A golfer’s willingness to play under “less than ideal” conditions is a testament to their love of the game.

Whether you choose to “weather the weather” or head for the comfy confines of the clubhouse, the mere fact that you drove all the way to the course intending to play should count for something.

Since this is hurricane season here in Florida the importance of clubbing up for wind in your face and clubbing down for wind at your back takes on greater importance.

But the age old question persists: Is there such a thing as a 5 club wind?

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GolfToons 51 - Monster Drive

Big hitters. The guys that take a deep breath and you know they’re ready to launch one.

Grip it and Rip it!

Like ‘Big Hitter, the Lama. Long.’ for you Caddyshack lovers.

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These same gents can get a tad sensitive when they push the ball two fairways to the right, or pull a screaming low, hot hook that makes a sound resembling a migratory waterfowl. Monster drivers run hot.

The tee game is so important. Hitting the green in regulation is so much easier from the fairway, than from behind a tree in the rough. Some people learn this fact sooner than others.

Watching the various Long Drive contests you see what can be done with a golf ball. The incredible distance, as well as the dangers of trying to hit the long ball.

 Are you a Monster Driver or are you a Fairway Finder?

GolfToons 49 - Lost Between Holes

The stand alone golf course is becoming a rarity. Increasingly golf courses are just one item on an amenity package for a high end housing development.

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This has led to some vast distances between holes that often requires driving through neighborhoods in search of the next tee box. This phenomena has also forced some modern courses to ban walking and make use of a golf cart mandatory.

The truly “walkable” course design is usually an older course built in the last century and sadly they seem to be going the way of the 3 iron.

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 47 - Multi-Tees

Recently our golf league played a round at Lakewood National Golf Club. We had to choose which tees we would us, and generally, we try to pick one over 6,000 yards. At Lakewood National they have six tees, that’s 6, and not sixty, LOL.

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GolfToons 41 - Astronomical Golf Course Design

The next ‘Space Race’ is well underway with SpaceX and Blue Origin taking on passengers very soon. With multitudes of space tourists venturing out of this world is it unreasonable to think that galactic golf would be soon to follow?

Given the physics of lunar gravity it would require either the longest golf courses in history or the heaviest of golf balls to deal with the challenges of the moon’s environment.

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Much like Sheep Ranch links in Oregon, the design would have to take advantage of the natural elements of the lunar landscape. Instead of shots having to carry water, shots would have to carry craters. Or maybe you turn the craters into the largest bunkers in the universe?

Manufacturers probably have secret lunar golf equipment programs as we speak and real estate developers are ready to unveil golf destinations like Apollo Landings, Lunar Links, or Crescent Moon Country Club.

But the biggest question is will we someday find astronaut Alan Shepard’s Titleist golf ball?

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 36 - Equipment Confidential

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If our clubs and balls could talk, what would they say? I bet they could bend your ear with golf yarns that would make you wince. Imagine a conversation going like this:

“…and he blames me for chili dipping a chip and threw me in a pond.”

“Well if you think that’s bad, my owner bent me over his knee and played the last six holes with my shaft curved like a banana. Serves him right that he lost $80 three putting the last 4 holes.”

“At least I got some revenge.” says the 9 iron, “Two nights ago he comes sneaking home at 3 o’clock in the morning, the wife grabbed me out of the bag and creases his skull. I gotta say I got more than a little satisfaction not being on the receiving end for a change.”

“Sweet. Dude! Your my hero!”

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!

GolfToons 14 - Putting Emotions

On the 18th green at the 2018 Evian Championship, Angela Stanford struck a beautiful putt that curled around the cup. “The best possible putt she could have hit without it going in” said one of the announcers.

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Stanford needed the putt for a share of the lead.  She took two steps away from the hole, went into a crouch and then held her head in her hands for a moment, rebounded to a single hand covering her mouth, then quickly tapped in her par.  Angela Stanford went on to win her first major championship at the age of 40, but she demonstrated some of the contortions we make on the putting green during and after we putt. 

The last group in this tournament had three players with opportunities to tie Stanford and as each one watched their putts fail to find the cup, they exhibited additional variations of “putting emotions” poses.

First, Mo Martin with a putter swing, left leg step-out and back into a knuckle bite.   Then Sei Young Kim with a frozen body, head nod and then a deep exhale.

Finally, Amy Olson with heavy blink, a putter slap and then a glance to the heavens.  Great golf with a dramatic finish. 

We all contribute a little twist or stretch to help our putts.  A little something to slow down or speed up, or some other form of encouragement to get the ball closer to the hole.  Impossible to practice, this is an indication of who the putter really is, and like the lines on your palm or snowflakes, no two are alike.

We will save the Tiger fist-pumps or the 1 legged, ripped-sleeve Payne Stewart rain-pose for another Golf-Toon.  Congratulations Angela!

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