Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Improving the Lie

*Updated from the website archives, and blogger's note: yes, that's me...almost 29 years ago, playing in my first company golf tournament...shot a score that would be semi-respectable at a bowling alley...and this tweren't one*

For those of you who've never experienced the pure joy of the game of golf, don't worry; neither have I. Twenty-nine years after having first picked up a club, I'm still in awe of those who know how to make 'em work. Not that I haven't learned a lot about the game over the passage of time; it's just I haven't yet converted most of the cerebral knowledge into something useful on the course.

Other than the colorful metaphors, and I didn't need golf to master those.

In the fall of '05, my current employer held an annual golf tournament for employees, at an unnamed golf course in SW Denver (the course has long since had time to recover and return to a more pristine condition in our wake). As in previous years, the tournament was designed with golf-dysfunction in mind: it was a four-person team, best-ball scramble format. In essence, each person hits from the same place; the best resulting shot is picked, and the whole team repeats from that point. The idea is for a team of four to try to make, collectively, one Tiger Woods or Annika Sorenstam.

Our team was lucky to produce a combination of Bill Murray and Gilda Radner.

The team I was recruited for, was a mixed bag of skill and gender: one member was an ex-NFL back-up defensive end, who could hit a golf ball with sufficient force to skin it; unfortunately, his aim didn't match his power. Two others -- our female contingent -- were experienced company tournament golfers, both of whom could be counted on to not lose sight of the objective or their golf shots (since they only hit them a few yards at a time).

And of course, there was moi: the only person I know who's hit himself with his own drive, three times.

I won't at this point go on to regale you with a plethora of golf terms and what they mean, such as divot, bogey, improving the lie, wedge and *@#$*! Instead, I'll opt for an ESPNesque Worst Moments In Company Golf, as performed by our foursome*:

- on an early hole, I amazed my teammates and myself with an incredible (for me) drive that drifted left, but landed in a playable position along a tree-lined pond. When all of a sudden, a weed-draped Swamp Thing emerged from the pond, snatched up my ball, gestured in a rush-hour-traffic-salute manner, and dove back into the pond. I know what I saw and am adamant about it, since the beer cart hadn't made it around to us yet. My teammates -- obviously with the sun in their eyes -- kept insisting that all they saw was the "splash".

- a couple of holes ran parallel to a major interstate highway. On one of them, our ex-NFLer shanked a thunderous drive into the highway, off a sign, and back into a playable position on the course. Not on the right hole, to be sure; but we weren't standing on ceremony. Nor did we let the 30 vehicle pile-up delay our accelerated progress to the next hole, as we pointed suggestively at the foursome behind us. I think they made bail in time for the awards ceremony.

- one of our female teammates set, we were sure, a Guiness Book of World Records for 'whiffs', while she had to listen to a baseball recitation.."she's got the sign...here's the pitch...swing and a miss on a change up high and away...". She took the equivalent of nearly half an inning before finally dribbling the ball about six feet. A number of times.

- our other female had a similar experience with 'whiffinitis', while she was subjected to my pathetic imitation of Bill Murray from Caddy Shack. I think she missed 8-9 times before making solid contact with her five-iron. The imprint in my forehead healed in about 10 days.

- when the beer cart finally did catch up to us (and the team in front of us), I told the beer babe (and was she ever...*sigh*) that the hotel shift manager (in the other foursome in front) would give her $1,000 cash to trade us carts. I think he's still sore at me for the beer that shot out of his nose at hearing that, but it got a smile for me from the beer babe. *Sigh*

- on another hole, I unleashed another uncharacteristic thundering drive (for me), that went so high, two passing F-16s from the Buckley Air National Guard base gauged it as 'hostile' and destroyed it in flight with a missile. Naturally, my teammates wouldn't admit seeing the 'flash' overhead and resulting debris; they only saw another "splash" in another water hazard. Seems only I could hear Swamp Thing, laughing hysterically a few holes back.

- finally, on the next-to-last hole, our "manimal" ex-NFLer fired another skin-peeler drive, very nearly cutting a golf cart -- bearing our corporate hR manager -- in half. When the general manager heard of this, he sternly upbraided our "manimal" to practice in the off-season, closing with "Don't miss the next time".

In the end, we didn't do too bad: a five-under-par 67 on a very tough golf course, with no ambulatory casualties amongst the direct participants. On the other hand, we found that we had more to learn on the intricacies of 'improving our lie', scoring-wise. We placed fourth -- out of six teams.

Of course, as experienced golfers know, there's all sorts of ways to 'improve your lie' regarding the game of golf. And as most wives and girlfriends will agree, about none of them work.

* perhaps with a wee bit of mild embellishment here and there; but sadly, not much...


Blogger The Dental Maven said...

Unlike most of her dental colleagues, The Maven is not a golfer. And now that she's aware of that "Swamp Thingy" there's not a snowballs chance in hell she's ever gonna take up the sport!

26 May, 2009 06:34  
Blogger Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh this is hilarious...I have had some golf lessons, but with little effect...and my husband doesn't golf at all...he must be the only man in the world who doesn't!!! My brother, on the other hand, is a naturally gifted athlete...doesn't much matter what...and that includes golf... grrrr! However, I've heard him tell many a whopper...especially about fish :-) Love this post!!!!! You can make anything comic!!!! You have a gift! ~Janine P.S. Nice Picture!

26 May, 2009 08:00  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Janine: wahl, thank ye...but I can assure you, I don' look like that any mo' ;) Brown's gone gray, and gravity's gone south LOL...

26 May, 2009 08:10  
Blogger Two Dogs said...

I keep saying that I am going to get back to the way I played just ten years ago. I just do not have to time to play nine holes every day anymore.

So, I go out and dig hot tubs. But, it is still the most fun I have.

26 May, 2009 10:41  
Blogger Debbie said...

Sounds like an interesting group.

I'm not a golfer, never even tried. Hubby took golf in college as his PE requirement. He was terrible. He never picked up a golf club after that, because he won't do anything he's not GOOD at, ha.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

26 May, 2009 11:04  
Blogger Sandee said...

I tried. I can slice and hook very well. Outside of that? Not so good.

Have a terrific day. :)

26 May, 2009 12:07  
Blogger A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Uh, Skunk? Don't ever go hunting with Cheney, mkay?

26 May, 2009 14:32  
Blogger Cheffie-Mom said...

Oh, the thought of me using a golf club is scary! LOL! But, my niece took first in State in golf. Very proud!

26 May, 2009 14:57  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Lawyer Mom: worry not; I haven't been hunting in ages, and the former Veep and I don't travel in da same social coicles ;)

26 May, 2009 17:52  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Cheffie-Mom: kudos to your niece! If she took first in State in golf, she'd have to spot me a stroke a hole, and she'd still thump me ;)

26 May, 2009 17:58  
Blogger Serena said...

I think that's the first picture I've ever seen of you that wasn't black and white striped. Nice! I'll have to take your word for the golfing jargon. I don't know beans about golf.:)

26 May, 2009 18:59  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Sandee: last time I played (or imitated a definition of that woid), I had a tremendous 'banana' slice that I was convinced had a tracking system for hazards (sand, water, trees, rough).

Serena: see my comment to Janine on the pic; the last 29 years ain't been perxactly kind LOL.

Two Dogs: at least when you're digging hot tubs, you're already under cover from a rogue "FORE!"

Debbie: yeah, I should avoid trying things I'm not good at; but some frustrations make for amusing blog entries...and I find laughing at myself offends no one ;)

Dental Maven: I'll bet you the Swamp Thing would turn and run like a striped assed gazelle, if you wielded a dental drill at it ;)

26 May, 2009 21:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My vehicle was hit a few months ago whilst driving home from the grocery store. Was that you? LOL!!!

27 May, 2009 06:59  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

LOL...nawp. Haven't been on a golf course since '07.

27 May, 2009 07:32  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Skunkman, sorry I haven't stopped by lately. Just got back from a 3 week trip to the West coast visiting daughters and new grandson. It was a great trip.

You know you may have started an avalanche of golf stories. I do remember playing on a course in South Carolina where one had to beware the alligator. They do make a fierce noise.

The last tournament a played was in Augusta, GA. Our foursome was awarded the prized trophy that can be seen at the bottom of this posting. I display it with great pride on the bookshelf next to my computer.

27 May, 2009 12:11  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Jack: from my younger corporate days, I have a few trophies of league and personal achievements, mounted on a wall (not my Tornado Photo wall); I don't play much nowadays with a deteriorating disc at my L4-L5, but will on occasion when a foursome offer comes that my schedule is open to ;) No alligators in my golf repertoire as yet, though rattlesnakes are there. And a ball-stealing fox. And a ball-stealing dog (possibly a pitbull). And a very assertive goose (was hit by, and then attacked a member of a foursome of mine LOL).

27 May, 2009 12:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your golf game may be weak, but your humor is spot on! You make me laugh out loud, and that is a skill! Most wives and girlfriends would agree!

28 May, 2009 19:38  

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