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 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 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 24 - Fore

Where does the term ‘FORE’ come from?  As with many terms in a game as old as golf, a definitive origin is not possible.  Though two contending sources are both plausible and interesting enough to share here. 

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One comes from the time when golf balls were expensive and so, golfers employed forecaddies ahead of the shots to make it easier to locate where the balls landed.  Golfers would cry out “Fore” and give an indication of where the shot was directed. 

Makes sense and probably sped play.

The other origin story comes from the times when cannon practice was held in the same coastal waste areas where golf was played.  Gunners would shout ‘Before Beware’ and then fire their munitions at distant targets.   This practice was adopted by golfers, perhaps at first for a laugh.  As golf became more popular, and hence the ‘links’ more crowded, the warning was found to be useful and shortened to ‘Fore’

 You decide, and be sure to warn those nearby of any errant shots from your group.

GolfToons 23 - Difficult versus Impossible

What is the difference between difficult and impossible?

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It really comes down to how you deal with the issue at hand and how you want to approach the dilemma you are facing. In golf terms, what does the shot call for?

Most weekend warriors believe breaking 90 or 80 or 70 is possible. And just this weekend I heard someone on the practice green say, “I believe I can make every putt”. Not any putt, but every putt!

We are ready for anything and nothing is impossible. Nothing.

On the other hand, almost everything we do on a golf course is difficult. Simple chips, 8 inch putts, even fishing a ball out of a shallow pond can have treacherous consequences. Nothing related to golf is easy. Nothing.

Let’s just say it depends on the lie.

 

GolfToons 22 - Quiet on the Tee

Hitting a golf ball is a daunting task, especially off the first tee. Actually any tee, regardless if it’s onto a manicured fairway, over a watery hazard or a bottomless crevasse. Golf is hard.

Many vital element are required, the most exaggerated of all could be the importance of calm, stillness and quiet.

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The situation must be right to hit a straight tee shot. No lint on the sweater sleeve, nothing in the field of vision; leaves, twigs, and the like.  Pity the insect interested in a perched golf ball.  And no birds chirping, no nearby mowers within earshot or planes overhead.  Not to mention the other man-made sounds of jingling pocket change or dropped clubs. 

Why is quiet so important, when the noise level is so high inside the heads of most golfers?  What if we teed off next to a tire repair shop or over a marching band?  Could that offer enough of a distraction to allow a free-flowing swing?  We will never know.

As we play on, we all have the prerogative on the tee box to step away, back off the shot and restart our pre-swing routine, using helpful tools however ridiculous they may seem to anybody else. 

 

GolfToons 21 - Bird Grip

There are many ways to hold a putter, probably as many grips as there are putters available on the market.  Everyone must feel comfortable over their putt, and find confidence in the tools of their trade. 

 Some putters or some grips can send a different message, especially to opponents or nemesis you may find in your foursome.

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We golfers are a quirky tribe.  Spending four hours with someone with slightly annoying tendencies, can be unbearable at times. 

After 18 holes, an irksome habit can get quite amplified.  Minor tension can grow to mutterings, cursing, sarcasm and outright contempt.  At times, combatants must be separated, and real danger is possible from questionable errant shots.    

 Things can get out a hand on the golf course.  GolfToons likes the idea of everybody getting along, enjoying this great game in Eden-like settings. 

Though if a subtle, hidden message makes you feel more comfortable or confident in making an important putt, then by all means grip as you like.

GolfToons 20 - Out of Bounds

Have you ever hit one of those titanic slices that boggle your mind? Make you question your very golf being? I’ve hit more than a few and I’ve also witnessed some doozies.

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I recall one time when a friend sliced a drive that sailed over a row of houses lining the course. Our foursome listened to a series of bone rattling noises that conjured up images of dented hoods, smashed yard ornaments, and ending with a series of ‘clicks’ as the ball bounced down the avenue.

Those are the types of shots you don’t even bother looking for. In fact I will attempt to speed play in hopes of leaving the scene of the crime before an angry home owner, screaming profanities, comes looking for retribution.

However, when someone in your group hits one deep into the woods, etiquette compels you to contribute a cursory look. Maybe you can locate the errant shot, or some other treasures.

But be careful. Sometimes it is better to let lost balls lie. Or you could receive a ‘deliverance’ from your slice you did not expect.

GolfToons 19 - Unwanted Compliments

Can a compliment be an act of gamesmanship? Possibly. Allow me to explain.

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The frustration of a birdie putt that comes up short can cloud one’s mind with unspoken expletives, as well as sap the sincerity from well intended compliments.

Conversely, a compliment delivered with a smirk can be unsettling enough to linger to the next tee and beyond.

In the game of golf, etiquette and honor do not require that every miscue need consolatory commentary. Sometimes it’s better to echo your partner’s frustration with a “Are You Kidding Me!” or a short and succinct &%*@. At least you will be more in tune with your partners attitude. 

A little thoughtfulness is the best course and commiserating with your golf buddy is considered a magnanimous gesture. But if you need your opponent to hook it OB on the next tee box, try a smarmy Fantastic effort Bob!” Beware of flying putters.

GolfToons 18 - The Shadow Knows

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men! The Shadow Knows!”

Much to my surprise the USGA addresses using a shadow to indicate the line of a putt. Rule 8-2b/1 “On the Putting Green” actually exists and to my amazement is legal, as long as your caddie or playing partner removes their shadow prior to you stroking the putt. 

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This is a bit off my intended topic, which is “Unsolicited Advice on The Golf Course.” I tried to find some pithy quote on the subject but nothing seemed to fit the golfing realm. 

So, I offer my own quote:

“Golf can be frustrating enough without someone offering well intended advice!”

There’s just something about advice when you’re struggling, that just seems to make matters worse. Especially when the advice comes from some guy with a handicap higher than Rihanna’s age (She turns 30 this year.)

I try my best to accept unsolicited advice with grace, never invoking the two stroke penalty, Rule 8-1 “Advice”. Though if the advice works, I’m buying when we get to the clubhouse even if The Shadow knows.

GolfToons 17 - Old Trusty

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We all have our ‘Go-To’ clubs.  The ones we hit well, feel confident at address or just seem to get lucky with.  The club we can take a little off, or add a little extra to.  The one that you pull out of the bag, kiss the head and say sweet nothings to like, “Don’t fail me now.” It has survived several seasons of the tidal wave of new product launches that guarantee we will hit it longer, cure our slice and shave strokes off our game. 

At times ‘Old Trusty’ may have even been relegated to a dank corner in our garage when we abandoned it for the latest and greatest. But when the new club that promised we’d never hit a fat shot again doesn’t pan out we bring ‘Old Trusty’ back, give it a good cleaning, and return it to our bag.  Forgetting it’s past failures and reaffirming our belief that our short-comings wasn’t technique but technology.

Many a time I’ve witnessed the depth of faith in ‘Go-To’ clubs particularly when vast expanses of water must be carried or serious coin is on the line. Often ‘Go-To’ clubs get used most when the other clubs have had a bad day. You just yearn to hit a crisp shot and not look like the miserable hack you are. Maybe that’s why you’ll see ‘Old Trusty’ pulled out of the bag even when your range finder or the yardage marker begs you to hit the six iron and you air mail a well struck ball with ‘Old Trusty’ twenty yards over the green.

GolfToons 16 - Quiet Please

There are times when we all would like a bit of peace and quiet: Early morning breakfasts, retreats to nature and those moments when you’re trying to concentrate on a difficult task. 

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The sight of a marshal hoisting their “Quiet Please” paddle during a golf tournament often makes me wish I had one of those things. It would come in handy when dealing with a loquacious salesmen, a rude cell phone user at the cinema or any time you wish someone would just give it a rest.

Unfortunately the “Quiet Please” paddle would not do you much good during a typical weekend round, unless you had a one-handed golf swing or play with a group without a sense of humor.

After watching the Ryder Cup I think there were a few times one of the US players could have used a “Quiet Please” paddle instead of their finger. It might not have gone over any better, but at least it would have loosened up the US side. They just seemed too darn serious.

Next time the noise level reaches a crescendo around the house let us know how your “Quiet Please” paddle worked out for you.