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.

GolfToons 15 - Just Short

You hit a crisp shot, sending a towering blow tracking on a great line. You are frozen, in a motionless follow-through pose watching your ball descend towards the green. “Please, please be enough,” you mutter. Then, catastrophe!

Splash!

Stunned and still in full pose, your jaws slackens, your eyes widen and you are speechless. Too stupefied to resort to profanity much less close your gaping mouth. By just inches, your swing went from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat.

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Like a statue, you continue posing, dumb-struck, as the ripples from the watery entry of your ball slowly cascade outward. The concentric little waves gently arcing towards you, still slack-jawed and stupefied.

Is this the work of some version of the Golf Gnome?

Then thoughts enter your mind.

“Was the wind stronger than I thought?”

“Should I have hit the 8 iron?”

“I made good contact.”

Why? Why did it come up short? Why do I keep hearing Jim McKay’s voice in my head?”

Suddenly from the rear someone yells, “Suck it up and get a move on, Bud. It’s backing up behind us.”

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!