If the expression “Golf is a good walk spoiled” (often misattributed to Mark Twain) sums up your view of the sport, you may want to return to my “What Did I Miss” page to find another subject more to your taste. But if, as I do, you have a love/hate (90% love, 10% hate) relationship with this ancient Scottish game, this little post may strike a few familiar chords.
I can sum up my take on the game of golf in one sentence, “It looks deceptively easy but is actually infuriatingly difficult.” All those young Turks in the professional ranks who bomb 300 yard drives with effortless power and complain, after shooting a round of 66 mind you, that they left a few birdies out there on the course don’t exactly make us mortals feel any better.
The absolute worst thing about the game is how your swing comes and goes, ebbs and flows not just over weeks or days but often in the course of the same round. If an amateur golfer, even for one nano-second, allows himself or herself to think (or, God forbid, voice out loud) , “You know, I think I am beginning to get this game figured out”, he or she better scamper to the club house like a scalded cat before bolts of lightning start raining down out of a clear sky. Let’s just say in my experience the golf gods are not in the least amused by even fleeting cockiness.
TEETH OF THE DOG
I was fortunate enough a few days ago to play this renowned Pete Dye ocean side course located within the famous Casa de Campo resort in the Dominican Republic (more about that momentarily). Just two weeks earlier I was equally privileged to play the “White Witch” in Montego Bay, Jamaica, another classic layout. Beyond finding a way to slip in this little “humble brag”, I mention it because that day I was striking the ball quite well . . . by my modest standards at least. I shot a very respectable 86 and left feeling that my game was in pretty decent shape, thank you very much.
So I had every reason (except long experience and common sense) to think on the day I awoke to play the “Teeth of the Dog” that another nice ball striking day was ahead of me. What I didn’t reckon on was that my driver, usually a very reliable and trustworthy friend, was going to turn on me like a jilted lover. There is a driver out there called the “King Cobra” but even though my rental clubs were of a different make, I might as well have been attempting to drive the ball with the head of a live cobra intent on nipping me on the neck in the middle of my backswing. To borrow . . . steal actually . . . another snake analogy from the golf announcer David Feherty, “I looked like a man trying to kill a snake in a phone booth.”
I began to feel about my driver the way you would feel if you caught a glimpse of your best man lasciviously ogling your bride halfway through the nuptials. Oh, the sense of betrayal, the keen disappointment, the primal urge to wrap the blasted thing around the nearest palm tree.
Thank goodness my frustration was broken by the spectacular holes that run along the ocean. It suddenly dawned on me that I was playing one of the classic golf courses in all the world with rented clubs, a serious loft problem (lack of friggin’ talent) all on someone else’s dime. Instead of cursing my driver, I should be counting my blessings. Let’s be honest, the course record was never going to be in any jeopardy no matter how well I played. The remainder of the round I drank in the spectacular surroundings and dined on the camaraderie and even hit a few nice drives. They came too late to salvage my score but not to top off a spectacular experience.
Having swum several laps in the pool of my personal self-pity, there is no time left to tell you about the remarkable resort called Casa de Campo. Not to worry. Merely sign up to follow this blog and you will soon be getting an engraved (OK, not really engraved), more like embossed (OK, not exactly embossed), more like electronic email invitation to return to this site for another happy stroll through Casa de Campo.