Summertime Road Trip 'Tips' for the Golf Park
That is what you want, after all - is it not? A quick fix (never mind the jujillions of swings you've made the old way)? 20 extra yards in 20 minutes (what were you smoking this past month of June?)? Stories from the SM and Interweb smooth-talkers promising God-only-knows what (and you buy in - literally and emotionally - 'cause you're an impressionable, vulnerable and quite possibly desperate golfer, huh?).
I understand. Allow CS to play gatekeeper once again as July falls upon us. And, if it's 'tips' you are after, then here's a tip from one of my mentors, and heroes, the irrepressible Jackie Burke, Jr.:
"I'm wary of things called 'tips.' Not long ago, a member at Champions asked me to have a quick look at his swing. I agreed and offered a short suggestion. As he walked away, he exclaimed 'Thanks for the tip!'
I don't give tips. This isn't Churchill Downs. It took me sixty years to acquire the knowledge necessary to offer that man a suggestion. Just because the advice comprises one sentence doesn't mean it didn't include a lot of thought. I only gave it when I knew the advice would fit in well with the rest of his swing. I forced a smile and told the fellow 'Glad you liked the TIP. Come back in five years and I'll give you another one.'"
Another of my heroes, Edward Abbey (just north on your screen, and a bit further south in spots, along with some of the spots he frequented) - you do know that YOU are the hero in the golf guide/student story, don't you, not vice versa - has been coming to me in my dreams (waking and not) on a regular basis, what with summertime adventures (on the golf course, and elsewhere) staring us all in the face.
I've taken the liberty of sharing one of his many brilliant passages below - full of 'tips,' boys & girls! - in regards to proper national park etiquette, whilst splashing a tidbit of CS flavor & wisdom for your ventures in the golf parks this fair-weathered season.
Read on... Better yet, read - or re-read (is it not time again?) - Abbey's 1968 masterpiece in its entirety (Click up top to procure). But BEWARE! Like yours truly, EA does not suffer fools easily, and is quick to blow his whistle on the purveyors of BS...
Abbey: “What can I tell them? Sealed in their metallic shells like molluscs on wheels, how can I pry the people free? The auto as tin can, the park ranger as opener. Look here, I want to say, for godsake folks get out of them there machines, take off those fucking sunglasses and unpeel both eyeballs, look around; throw away those goddamned idiotic cameras! For chrissake folks what is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare? eh?"
CS: What can I tell you, brothers and sisters? Sealed in your world of swing thoughts, 'shoulds' & 'supposed to's' + someone else's norm, method or way? Allow me to pry you free of such idiocies, and give you permission to play this game in the fashion, and for the reasons, you choose. And in the name of Old Tom Morris, people - open your eyes, feel the ground underfoot (some options from my Nike Golf brethren - click above on the majestic rock formations & clouds), the wind on your face - and turn off those wanna-be cameras/binoculars (yes, the battery-filled contraptions) and use the incredible senses gifted upon you as a human being to gauge distance, read greens and judge the wind.
Abbey: "Take off your shoes for a while, unzip your fly, piss hearty, dig your toes in the hot sand, feel that raw and rugged earth, split a couple of big toenails, draw blood! Why not? Jesus Christ, lady, roll that window down! You can't see the desert if you can't smell it. Dusty? Of course it's dusty—this is Utah! But it's good dust, good red Utahn dust, rich in iron, rich in irony. Turn that motor off. Get out of that piece of iron and stretch your varicose veins, take off your brassiere and get some hot sun on your old wrinkled dugs!
CS: EA wandering the planet with stick in hand above, just as you do when roaming the links chasing that nugget. But do you roll the proverbial window down and taste, view and smell the surroundings? You're in a
blessed park, peeps! Yet, there you are, fearful of water, sand, and trees. Mother Nature in full force, and you're playing scaredy cat... Why not make peace with them, they are in your presence as a map after all, framing the desired journey of your golf ball.
The irony? You're in nature's cathedral, yet your mutterings suggest you're hanging in the Devil's kitchen... Did you bother to turn your motor of focus of attention of where you don't want the little round dimpled thing to end up - and put your attention and intention on where you do want it go? Standing naked in the golf park (if it's against your golf park's rules to roam as we were born, click above for some coverings..), you'd still be in possession of one vital piece of tech for performance, fellow homo sapiens: a large pre-frontal cortex that allows you to choose what you wish to pay attention to.
Oh, and you don't know what "dugs" are? Me neither (I had to look it up..). But you don't understand kinematic sequences, ground reaction forces (Abbey, and all bipeds do, actually: push into the ground and the ground pushes back), and moment arms, do you now? Gotcha. If your golf guide throws such lexicon your way, whack him or her in the back of the head (that'll get their attention) and demand they help you to feel what it is they are attempting to communicate with their fancy jargon.
Abbey: "You sir, squinting at the map with your radiator boiling over and your fuel pump vapor-locked, crawl out of that shiny hunk of GM junk and take a walk—yes, leave the old lady and those squawling brats behind for a while, turn your back on them and take a long quiet walk straight into the canyons, get lost for a while, come back when you damn well feel like it, it'll do you and her and them a world of good. Give the kids a break too, let them out of the car, let them go scrambling over rocks hunting for rattlesnakes and scorpions and anthills—yes sir, let them out, turn them loose; how dare you imprison little children in your goddamned upholstered horseless hearse? Yes sir, yes madam, I entreat you, get out of those motorized wheelchairs, get off your foam rubber backsides, stand up straight like men! like women! like human beings! and walk—walk—WALK upon your sweet and blessed land!”
CS: You, ladies and gentlemen golfers, walk the links while you are able, please. You'll acquire a sublime sense of the contours of the terrain you're treading on (as opposed to flying around in that shiny buggy), maybe go smell a flower, bond with one of those trees you like to curse, or even take the time between swats to socialize with your search party. Or just effin' breathe and move! Soon enough you'll have no choice but to ride in one of those motorized chariots, vapor-locked within, but until then, your foam rubber backside could use the movement..
The kids, you query? You are a big kid, did you not get the memo? Well, you certainly react like one after missing your target with one of those crooked weapons in your hand... You whine. You complain. You talk about how unfair the game is, and how unlucky you are. You belittle yourself. A victim in the wilderness. Cry me a soon-to-be-dried-up-by-global-warming-river.
Isn't time you got lost for a while, so as to realize how very fortunate you are to be playing this game at all? Haven't you peered into one of your media-driven, blue-lit fiendish screens (EA has a solution for those screen-time abusers, BTW, see above..) in the time its taken you to arrive here in my missive - and seen all the misery your fellow earthlings are enduring? Damn, you are imprisoned in your entitled infinitesimal golf realm, aren't you now?
DONATING = CARING
Nearly every week since late 2014, I’ve poured a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources into the “CS Newsletter” offerings, which remain free. While many in my vocation have chosen other mediums to communicate (and hopefully help golfers, and humans, alike), I continue to opt for the written word, blending pieces of music, pertinent videos and articles. The intention: to authentically guide you - my fellow wanderers of the links and life’s daily sidewalks - on more fruitful paths.
If you find any solace or motivation from my ongoing labor or love, or if on occasion a message has managed to put a smile on your face, a tear in your eye, inspirited you take a step back and reconsider all for a moment - or even peeved you into positive action - please do consider supporting it with a donation. Should you already donate, I THANK YOU.
Contact me for a consultation; click on my logo just above for further specifics.
Click on a soon-to-be reading and writing CS, just north, to contribute.
Cringing at the CS tough love? No problemo... Just as Edward Abbey wrote to encourage you to roam, explore and liberate your mind, body and soul, I'm here to do much of the same with your golf game. Stuck in a rut? Enjoyment on 'low?' In search of a remedy? I understand, and am here to help you.
Remote and in-person coaching options at Eugene Country Club and Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club (periodically, in season). The development of an optimal practice regime for you, your needs, and your schedule. Ideas and referrals in the equipment domain - those sticks in your bag, and your physical body. Science and experienced-based help in achieving higher mental acuity on the course. A competent, comprehensive and on-going loop for learning, regardless of where you are on the planet.
“There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who's always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated. … To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.”
-- Edward Abbey