Books, And Their Covers
This idiom wreaking havoc once again in current day US of A, and elsewhere. Exteriors, shells - physical coverings - and their supposed preordained characters, traits and lineaments, leading to bias, bigotry and brutality.
Alas, is the relative blindness to such irrelevancies not one of the many things to cherish about the ball and stick game we all enjoy? The dimpled sphere, whose final destination after each and every swat is beyond our control, shows once again its infinite wisdom compared to the humanoid golfers.
The ball cares nary about the golfer's wallet thickness. The ball is not concerned whatsoever with the golfer's religious or political preferences, nor his or her level of education, social status, or pedigree. And the ball certainly plays no favorite re the golfer's skin tint - 100% immune to such idiocies.
The inanimate round object responds simply to the physics of the collision created at impact between clubface/clubhead and its backside (or 'sideside,' for some of you;)) - created and executed by - swinger of said club, of course.
No prejudices. No preferences. No preconceptions.
Is that not a lesson in and of itself, brothers and sisters of planet Earth?
Yet there is more - if you dare... Shocked, disgusted and outraged by the recent goings on, or taking it in stride as the 'norm?' I'm not here to judge; rather, simply to bring a few issues to light, to your awareness (as I do with my students), so as to encourage and promote progress, growth and evolution, on and off the links.
DIRECTIONS: Click on the ________ above, then swing back this way for some valuable insight from the golf ball itself. That's right: The Golf Ball Speaketh. No, not in some other dimension - right here and now in this offering. Best listen!
Uh... my sincere apologies - I'm at an utter and complete loss for the most 'fitting' word to describe the woman pictured from the classic 1960 Twilight Zone tale, "Eye of the Beholder." Might you help me (yes, you'll have to watch the clip to answer)? I know how popular the "CS Pop Quizzes" are in these missives...
E. Human Being
No question: one of the greatest ball strikers EVER pictured above, the incomparable Lee Trevino.
The Golf Ball Speaketh: "This man apparently did things in an unorthodox manner and was always chatting (I don't usually listen..), yet he controlled my actions like very few have, before or since (and my construction if far superior on this star date, than it was when Trevino was compressing and chasing me around...). He consistently delivered the club into my ass such that my spin axis (don't I sound smart?) tilted ever so slightly to the right, time and time again. He pressured my backside tremendously. Normally I have a field day with the golfers when the wind blows (they grossly underestimate its influence on me) - but this short and stocky (physical attributes are of no interest whatsoever to me) bloke was a master of adjusting and flighting me in ways that left lesser swingers in awe.
On and around the greens, this Trevino had a deft touch and made me do things most mortal golfers couldn't even dream of. Launch me high, medium and low. Change the amount of backspin (it's what makes me go "up," BTW) I took on - which of course affected how much I'd roll out (but you knew that, right?) - and land me in the areas or zones where he wanted.
Rather than learning to do this with radars, high speed cameras and accelerometers (off of perfect lies which you prefer, but I consider rather mundane..), this creature with a heart and pulse (oops - I guess you all do...) used 'trial and error' + blood, sweat and tears (another commonality to all you passengers on Spaceship Earth) to master his domination of me (and I am not easily dominated, FYI). Although he started working in the cotton fields at age 5 (hmm... wonder if he got a feel for the dirt, soil and earth I spend the bulk of my time in, and on..), I think it was his four years in the United States Marine Corps as a machine gunner that helped him command me according to his intention better than most anyone..."
Skin tint: Irrelevant
Peete didn't pick up a golf club until he was 23 - he'd been busy prior - as I'm sure you are. Busy picking corn and beans alongside his father in the flat fields near their home in central Florida as a kid, then peddling goods to migrant workers in Rochester, New York later on.
The Golf Ball Speaketh: "His fellow humans (an oft-confused group, frankly) claimed that keeping the lead arm 'straight' in the golf swing was a fundamental - a necessity to striking me properly. Peete had fallen out of a tree at age 12 and broken his elbow in three parts. The doctor said that if he broke it again, the arm might have to be amputated.
However, within six months after first picking up a golf stick, he was breaking 80, and after 18 months was breaking par. He went on to play on the 1983 and 1985 U.S. Ryder Cup teams, won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average in 1984, the prestigious Tournament Players Championship in '85, and 12 times total on the PGA Tour (where the finest managers of me and my brethren play).
I didn't curve much when Calvin Peete hit me; I really enjoyed my time lounging in the fairway (I get mistreated in the rough and beyond..) after he whacked me from the tee. He won the PGA Tour's Driving Accuracy title for an unheard of 10 consecutive years. So much for that silly lead arm hypothesis, right?
Many of the supposed smarty-pants teachers who attempt to guide those tasked with chasing me around the golf park, will tell you how vital instruction is to govern my journeys. But this Peete fellow, one of 19 children in his family, never had a lesson. He was afraid to, he said. He thought that an instructor would tell him that he wouldn't have a chance to be a top-flight golfer - what with such a late start and a crooked left arm - and to go home.
Ah... but some of the human being golfers are more gritty and persistent than others. Peete taught himself how to play golf, reading from instructional books by Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Bob Toski, and Doug Ford. He took the advice of how he should grip the club from the man who sold him his golf glove, focusing a small movie-camera from a tripod (AHA - this fellow with no apparent formal 'education' so to speak, did realize one terribly important aspect to regulating my activities: feedback) to record his stroke. He began by practicing on a baseball diamond and hitting balls to a particular spot. Sometimes he'd arrive before the night street lights had been turned off, and stay until the street lights would be turned back on.
This bipedal living being full of dreams, feelings and emotions (oops - I guess you all have those..) set up shots as he did when playing pool: walking around the ball to get the sight line, then lining it up with his body before he swings, and envisioning how to play important holes before the tournament. 'So when I get to, say, the 12th at Doral,' he said, 'I'm loose because I'm not worrying how to play it. In my hotel room the night before, I birdied the hole 18 times.'
DONATING = CARING
This Peete fellow, who lost me only on rare occasions, was one of the few (although all the competent ones do) who realized the importance of planning & programming my flight or path prior to swinging the funny-looking stick. That thought precedes action. Funny: easy enough to do, yet in my experience (rather extensive) most of the befuddled linksters are far too preoccupied with other, less important details re improving my behavior on the golf course.
Skin tint: Inapplicable.
Aoki was introduced to golf while caddying at the Abiko Golf Club as a schoolboy and turned professional in 1964. He went on to win more than fifty events on the Japan Golf Tour, and in 1983, won the Hawaiian Open on the PGA Tour becoming the first Japanese player to do so. Aoki won a total of 71 times in his career on six different tours, and in 2004 became the first Japanese male golfer to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The Golf Ball Speaketh: "Of interest (I guess - although I really don't care..) was that when this living soul (welcome to the club, readers) struck me with his flatstick - the goal being to roll me into the hole - he did it with the end or edge of the tool. I believe this is called the 'heel' in homo sapien terms.
He developed this 'toe-in-the-air' (you large-brained primates love to give things, and other living entities, names, labels & categories, don't you?) method many moons ago due to the fact that the implement was apparently too long for him... The miss-fit tool had a name (of course): 'The Silent Pawn.'
Per Aoki: 'It was too long for me, therefore I tried to put it far from my body.'
He changed putters (funny - or not: the humans will readily change the sticks in their golf bags, yet hold on for dear life to so many other concepts, stigmas and beliefs) throughout his career, but his idiosyncratic technique became his trademark - as did the number of times he sent me into the hole.
Aoki only interacted with me 63 times in the 1980 Open Championship (only nine others have accomplished this feat), and of course sent me directly into the hole from 130 yards or so away, to win that big event on the islands in 1983.
Allow me to help you better understand what is essential (as opposed to the plethora of putting propaganda out there..) in the task of rolling me into the hole upon the finely mowed area of your beautiful third rock from the sun:
- I must begin my voyage in the desired direction. I care not how you accomplish this (some of you draw lines on me as an option) job - yet if you send me initially off the track you've chosen, you will end up stroking me again at least one other time on that particular dance floor.
- I must be sent on my journey at an appropriate speed. Again, you choose how to apply the force and speed to my backside, I've seen it all... Of note: I curve less the slower I'm rolling; but any of your toddlers can tell you that, right?
- You must have a good picture and plan in mind of what I'll encounter on my odyssey from Point A, to Point B, before commencing the motion. Prior to climbing in and sealing yourself into those metallic shields like mollusks on wheels (I'm a big fan of Edward Abbey - who would have thunk it?) to go from one point to another, do you not have an inkling, a notion - a strategy - of how you wish to arrive? I hope so, otherwise you've got no chance. Alas, I can't assist you here - but the author of this missive sure can ;)
My word count is running low, so I'll add one further point re this mind/body/soul system (Aoki) born in the land of the rising son (honestly, where you are born, and into what you are born in, is of little to no interest to me..):
He came to most people's attention (what is grabbing your attention right now - and what action are you taking?) in the 1980 U.S. Open when he was paired all four days with arguably my finest handler ever, the Nicklaus boy.
Aoki waited patiently (a desperately needed quality when you play with me) for his chance at glory.
'I kept telling myself that no matter how perfect he is, he will make a mistake in 72 holes in four days, but I was wrong. Jack did not make any errors until the end of the tournament.'
Aoki fell short, but learned from the experience."
Skin tint: Insignificant.
If that is not a lesson in and of itself, I don't know what is.
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.
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