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.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Golf... old guys style

I don't write much about my day to day adventures. Mostly because I do not see them as adventures. Partly because they are boring. I could talk about playing golf with friends and acquaintances and so I shall. Of course, I'll have to do a little creative Bowldlerizing or perhaps just [bleep] some words since I try to keep this site "family friendly" and avoid profanity.

It is early morning; the sun is shining, it is warm and a bit humid, as I drive into the parking lot of the golf course. Plenty of places to park since it is summer and the heat will soon be oppressive. Only the core of our group will show up to play. It is summer and we have few "mad dogs and Englishmen" around here.

Joe runs the group in a lackadaisical manner. That is, he collects the betting pool money and keeps tabs on handicaps but rarely assigns players to groups. Joe is what you might call "not tall" (if you were trying to be nice), "short" (if you wanted to be accurate), "dwarfish"(if you wanted to be mean). He smiles a lot, tells dirty and/or corny jokes, and is lots of fun to be around.

As I amble over to the cart he is standing beside, he smiles and says, "Mornin', doo-doohead, glad you showed up..."

Before he can go on, I counter with "Why? You're still gonna be the ugliest guy here." If you do not interrupt Joe, he will go on. And so I often do.

I am not late nor early, I am just dependable. I show up if I say I will. Joe knows this, maybe even appreciates it, and takes it (and me) for granted. I usually ride with Joe. Our conversations while traversing the course are never deep or argumentative. We agree on most things political and so those conversations are rare. It's mostly about golf, the other players in our group, cars, and our childhoods. Childhoods are a common theme for folks in our age group. We probably lie about them, of course... Call it the False Nostalgia Syndrome.

The advantage of being here is most everyone grew up somewhere else and only came here after retirement. No one in our group ever knew any other in the group in their childhood days. Like on the internet, anyone can claim to have been anything, or done anything, in their lives. We accept all stories as true, though, it's the polite thing to do. Besides, what difference does it make?

Conversations on the golf course are heavily laced with profanities. In a way, it reminds me of the Navy.

"Gosh darn it! I have no idea where that went... anyone freaking see it?"
"Yeah. You're in deep poo unless that bounce off the tree was blessedly kind."
"Dash you, poopy drawers! Let's see you do any darn better."
"OK, froglips,
watch this bleeding shot!" "Drat!!!"
Profanities are excellent as adjectives. And adverbs. And exclamations. Especially as exclamations. And they truly express the emotions of the moment.

Joe regales me with his repertoire of dirty, and not so dirty, jokes as we try unsuccessfully to stay within reasonable confines of the course. I have heard them all. Many times. Sometimes, I rattle off the punchline just as he comes to it... just to press  that point. He ignores this and repeats the punchline anyway. And tells me more of the same old jokes he always tells.

We play a form of golf that most amateurs would recognize. I call it "creative cheating" but I am pedantic. Amateurs in informal games tend to "roll it in the fairway". This is, of course, forbidden by the rules of golf, and is called "improving your lie." We go a few steps further. In our games, we also allow each other to "fluff in the rough." And, of course, we invoke the "root rule" when necessary. The "root rule" is simple: if the ball is on, or near, a root then you can move it. The reason is obvious. We are not pros who make millions of bucks at this game and we have to buy our own clubs. Avoiding damaging them is seen as "proper" and "fair." As is avoiding wrist injuries. We are old and do not heal easily or well.

Joe has, of late, expounded his newest theory of how to improve the game. It's simple, he thinks courses should be set up so that anyone can shoot par. I counter that there are already courses like that, they are called "executive" courses. The par is lower than the normal 70-72 and the holes are shorter (by quite a bit) and easier. I would say Joe is onto something if he modified it to "anyone has a decent opportunity to shoot par."
His theory actually started from a suggestion I made about a local golf course. There were two really long holes that gave almost everyone fits. One was a par 4 in excess of 400 yards, the other a par 5 in excess of 512 yards. Most of us old guys have a great amount of  trouble hitting a tee shot over 200 yards. So I suggested we move up to the senior tees on those two holes. This brought the par 4 down to 330 or so and the par 5 down to 460. Some were reluctant to go along but soon embraced it as they started making pars and birdies more often (much more often) than they had been on those holes.

The next step was to apply this to other courses we played. The idea was to modify the courses so they were under 6100 yards for our players. A few holes are shortened but not all. We did it because course management wouldn't put in new tees. And we justified it under the PGA and USGA "tee it forward" initiative.

It really cuts down on the profanities, too. Alright, that was a lie.

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