“Like, I love to take a girl out to dinner, but I’m not gonna go golf 18 holes with her.”
– I Love You Man Screenplay
Golf season is here again, yeah! Eric used to love playing golf with me, it was the others on the course he disliked. We had a great time. He liked riding around in a golf cart and hitting things with his girlfriend at his side. I like playing with someone who doesn’t judge me if I take a mulligan or two. He also helped me to diagnose my swing mishaps.
We learned to play golf together. I decided it was an essential function of my job as a partner in a law firm, and took lessons so I wouldn’t embarrass myself. I was surprised at how much I liked it. I shouldn’t have been. If your Dad is a serious golfer, your Mom is an occasional golfer, and five of your siblings are golfers, chances are that you won’t suck at it. We are built with long arms, plus I am taller than average, which means I have some leverage.
I Love You Man is a great movie. Paul Rudd’s Peter is perfectly written and perfectly cast. Sweet but not too sappy. Jason Segel gets to play against his Lily-whipped character on TV’s How I Met Your Mother. Sydney is the guy’s guy. His garage is a mancave stocked with guitars and plenty of lotion and kleenex. Sydney teaches Peter the rules of guydom, including the one noted above. Guys play golf with other guys. They don’t play golf with their girlfriends.
Maybe so, but then they are missing something. We may not be able to hit the ball as far as the guys, but we have as much fun as they do. Plus we look better doing it. Real men play golf with women, not other guys.
Golf season is in full swing. Eric and I are playing most weekend days. I also play in a Tuesday night league. I am happy to report that I am regularly breaking 100. If I could chip and putt more consistently, I would be scoring in the low 90’s instead of the high 90’s.
Now I know why most experienced golfers spend so much time on the practice green. What used to look boring and mind-numbing is now an essential part of improving my score. If I have time before a round, you will find me on the practice green chipping and putting.
Did you know only 51.9% of golfers break 100? This statistic assumes that golfers accurately report their scores, and honestly count every errant shot. I played with a couple of guys early in the season that I didn’t know. One of them took a mulligan off the tee on every other hole, which should, per USGA rules, count as two strokes per hole (the swing and the penalty) and not zero. On the 18th tee, he announced that he needed to par the hole to break 100. I chose not to emasculate him.
You can’t get away with this type of scoring in the league. If you are not accurately counting your strokes, you can count on your opponent to do it for you. My league handicap is currently 15, which means my average score has been 51 for 9 holes. I expect it will drop a point or two in the next recalculation as I have scored under 50 the last two weeks.
I attribute my improved scores to one thing: keeping my head down. As in life, you need to stay focused on what you are doing and not look up to score well on the golf course. Don’t worry about what others are doing. Stay focused on the task at hand and you will succeed.
One of my fellow league golfers lost her husband this year. It happened on the golf course during our first round of the year. She returned to the league and the place where it happened after a few weeks. She is scoring better than ever. Her secret: her husband is there with her at every hole telling her to keep her head down. May he rest in eternal peace.