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Around the Bluhmin’ Town

4/20/16

Judy Bluhm

It is golfing season. Yes, the trees are greening up, temperatures are rising, and it’s time to polish up the old clubs. Nothing says Spring like a day on the links. But after observing the “collapse” of Jordan Spieth at the Masters, I am not so sure I want to venture out. It is downright intimidating to see what a little white ball can do to us! What happened on the 12th hole at Augusta National became the train wreck that caused the leader (and last year’s Master’s champ) to have a sudden implosion and end his tournament.

Is it tea time? My mother, who is very English, would ask that question and my father would agree, grab his clubs and head to the links. An avid golfer for most of his life, he even managed to play nine holes the week before he passed away at age seventy-nine. Dad never felt too “under par” to enjoy the game. I am just a beginner and not very good at it, but can appreciate for this delightful (difficult) sport.

Actually, I like to go out and swing the clubs when no one else is around, so a sickening hot day in Phoenix sounds about right. Then I can go out and suffer all the humiliation I can muster and never worry too much about the giggles or stares of other players. (Unless the other players are my grandsons, because those young men are very good at the game and very critical of their grandmother). One complains that I don’t focus enough. Gee, these are harsh words coming from a kid who has attention deficit! And so what if I slice? And okay, I’d rather not keep accurate score, but I do like the little cards and pencils.

Lies, lies and more lies. I am not referring to the discussion that golfers have about their scores (like I can break 80) but the lie of the ball. I have noticed that hitting from a fairway, where most of us practice, is a lot more fun than getting the dang ball out of the rough. One helpful man tried to show me that certain lies requires adjustments, but I think the best lie of all is when you just “can’t find the ball” in any of those nasty places!

A man of about eighty asked if he could join in our group one day. I asked him what his handicap was. He winked and said, “I have one total knee and arthritis.” I love this guy! Forget about the mysterious mathematical equations that are supposed to determine your handicap. What’s the point? I now happily tell people my handicap is “nearsightedness” if they ask. And if I keep playing this game, I am sure I will have more handicaps to report.

I have taken lessons but I think the pro gave up on me. Well, that’s all right. I remain hopeful. I am particularly encouraged when I look around and see lots of white-haired folks swinging away with gusto and making it look easy. Hey, you don’t have to be young to play golf, you just have to “play young.” I find it thrilling to just swing away! Sadly, I don’t always connect with the ball. Yes, Dear Readers, that little, white, evil ball is the thing that stands in the way of me being competent at this game. I know how to “swoosh” when I swing, but sometimes I just seem to be hitting air!

My former trainer told me I had to work on my body positioning. It is all wrong. Okay, so I swing like a lumberjack (I have been told this). How the heck am I supposed to keep track of my feet, back, head, arms and wrists all at the same time? Plus, wielding a big club and trying to hit the blazes out of a very tiny, elusive ball is not natural! If someone like Jordan Spieth can crumble, what is the hope for the rest of us?

Hank Aaron so famously said that, “It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.” I have a girlfriend who didn’t start playing golf until she was sixty. She points out that everyone, at every level, has “something to work on” in order to improve. Yes, I agree. And what I can improve on is what to wear on the links, because everyone knows that if you are dressed right you will play better.

Life is learning and there is plenty to “master” along the way. But if you do want to play a round of golf, just go have fun. Swing the driver like it is a baseball bat! Okay, forget that. Chipping? Easy. Aim the club square and open your stance! Need better flow? Cock your wrists more! Need more power? Get that heel off the ground! Want to hit a hole in one? Watch me. As I said, golf is all about the lies, lies, and more lies.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.