The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, December 6, 2013


It is Friday morning and, therefore, I am at the golf course chasing that little white ball around. I think of it as mandatory. I am retired, therefore, I play golf. Golf, as you may know, is a difficult and frustrating game.

I was thinking about the hardest parts of the game the other day. That thought came to me as I was leafing through a golf magazine and saw a picture of an amateur golfer competing in the Walker Cup. The caption was "USA Walker Cup team member Justin Thomas gets some help from former President George W. Bush..." on the line of his putt.

Putting is definitely one of the hardest parts of the game. It is a skill that is difficult to learn and to teach. I have spoken of this before; the person must take a number of factors into account, factors that are less than obvious, in determining the break (if any), also known as the "line." and the speed (the force that must be applied) of the putt. The golfer calculates all these factors (or tries to) without being conscious of the math his mind is doing. The slope of the green, the smoothness of it, the amount of dew, the average speed of it, and a few more. But touching the green (to feel the smoothness, for example, which might give you an understanding of the speed the putt needs) is verboten. As is tamping down those nasty spike marks left by the group ahead of you. You cannot teach someone the feel, it is something each of us must learn internally. But putting is only one part of the game. There are many others. let me go through what are the hardest shots in golf for me:

The tee shot. Not just the first tee shot but each of them. The first one seems to have added pressure but all of them are critical. After all, the tee shot is the precursor to the next shot. A man once told me that all of the holes on a golf course are actually par 3's. What he meant was that your tee shot on a par 4 determined the kind of par 3 you would then face; hit that tee shot short and you had a long par 3, hit it long and you had a short one, hit it behind a tree and you have an almost impossible one. And so on. You could call this a strategy... or depressing... depending on how well you can play. Your tee shot creates the difficulty, or ease, of the next shot. On par 5 holes, both the tee shot and the second shot are equally important.

The first iron shot. For me, this one is a little nerve wracking. It is important. It can be critical. And I am almost completely without confidence in my ability to execute it. I have decided that it will fly shorter than my usual distance with whatever club I am using. That's already locked into my brain and, therefore, will be a "self fulfilling prophecy." After assuming that, I still have to execute the shot. Since using an iron is off the turf (except on par 3's of reasonable length), the execution is different than most tee shots.

I have been told that the swing is the same for every club, every shot. I disagree. there are numerous variations; amount of backswing, descending versus rising contact with the ball, face angle, and so on. Factors like wind direction and force also come into play, not to mention those trees in front of you or the low branches on them.

Golf is not an easy game.

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