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 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 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 43 Hogan's Ghost

Laugh at the Agony Hogan’s Ghost GolfToon 43

There are times golf reminds me of a religion.

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GolfToons 42 - Short All Day

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One of the most maddening things in golf is coming up just short on a putt. Especially when your ball is tracking on a perfect line towards the hole but your own timidity denies you the ecstasy of holing the putt.

It seems that “coming up short” is a 24 hour bug that lasts about one full round of golf and is cured by consuming mass quantities of adult beverages post-golf followed by a fitful stupor of sleep. A full on black-out is the ideal remedy as it decays your memory and allows you to reset mentally for the next round.

As usual, the game of golf affords us life lessons, like taking stock of how blessed we are to just be playing the game.

I learned that particular lesson well when playing with my friend Craig, an elementary public school teacher who despite minor vertical challenges, stands taller than he appears. He became weary of my incessant complaints about coming up short all day and delivered the gem that inspired this toon. Leave it to a teacher to soothe the whining child with some thoughtful and comparative insight.

Thanks Craig!

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 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 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 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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GolfToons 13 - Hit it and Hope

Every now and then you face a putt that beckons words like intimidating or unnerving. The down hill left to right slider. The up-hiller that crests midway, then accelerates to a killer downhiller. Or the dreaded short but hard-breaker, also known as the heartbreaker because anytime you miss a two footer it breaks your heart.

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At times like these you wish you had a caddie. But for most golfers we must forge alone. The one exception: Asking a playing partner in a team game for advice. Usually the advice is couched with something like: “...but I could be wrong”, “then again the grain might effect the break” or some other disclaimer. 

Just make your read, do your pre-putt routine and smoothly strike the ball. Hope you avoid the dreaded knee knocking come-backer.  Hope it finishes inside your comfort zone or better yet a tap-in.  

So just “Hit it and Hope”.

GolfToons 12 - Golf Mom

We can all envision the iconic 'Soccer Mom' and the minivan she drives hauling kids to countless practices, games and tournaments.  But what about the 'Golf Mom'?  

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The lesser known cousin that drives kids to the practice range, buys equipment, arranges lessons and pays for rounds of golf. Or the woman walking the course, cheering loudly during matches and picking up the vanquished when they stumbled in pursuit of their dreams.

One of the many beautiful parts golf is how often we see young professionals and junior golfers, when handed a trophy, take that moment to thank their moms. There is something inherent in the game that seems to instill core values and appreciation for those that helped to foster a love for golf. Pass this gift to the next generation, please.

Now is it crazy to think the pivotal figure in growing the game we all love might just be the tired and stressed out 'Golf Mom' in the van in front of you at the traffic light? No, not crazy at all. Thanks Mom!