Given the state of my swing these days, I’m happy to have an excuse to confine my golf activity to an occasional trip to the range, which in our area is covered and heated. The winter offers a break from golf, which when a kid, I never liked. But now, as an old guy, I’m sort of grateful for. First of all, it’s tough to swing in cold temps. It’s tough too to hit off soggy and sometimes muddy fairways. It’s tough to play in a cold wind. It’s tough to walk and push a cart. There’s no forgiving roll off the tee where I live. The ball hits and stops, and then you invariably have to lift it and clean off the mud. Not fun. My shoes get muddy. My cart wheels get muddy. My clubs get muddy. And any hills become like trench warfare. And then I have to put all this muddy equipment in my car! No, unless we have a dry, warm spell, I’ll forgo golf this winter. It’s too damn cold and wet for my skin and bones.
So, I’ll just watch golf in Hawaii and dream of spring and summer when I can clean up the equipment, get the kinks and creaks out of the ole body, and knock the rust off my swing. And speaking of rust, I am lost. I know I’ve been through severe illness over the past few years but how the hell does a golf swing deteriorate so much after playing for about 60 years? I should see a pro but I’m stubborn in that way. I think I should be able to work it out myself. Funny how the ego is around that expectation. Do any of you go through the same thing? Forsaking common sense and the need for a pro, and driving myself nuts with all sorts of possible remedies. I certainly don’t do that for the illnesses I’ve been through. I went to doctors and put my trust and faith in their expertise and experience. It worked. They saved my life, for which I am very appreciative, as you can imagine.
But when my golf swing is sick, I go, Nah, I’ll figure it out. Shit, I’ve been playing since I was 14. What, you can’t diagnose and cure what’s going wrong, says I to myself says I? Well the golf swing is a complicated thing. There are more moving parts than a car, and more opportunities to move those parts in the wrong sequence. The timing, even more than a car, must be impeccable and pretty precise. You need to think about what you’re doing, then, in the next moment, you need to think not at all. Wipe the slate clean when you approach the ball. Of course, too, you need to take myriad other things into consideration: the wind, the temp, the lie, the needed club, and whether you can sensibly clear the lake in front of the green. It’s a tough, demanding, daunting game. Sensibly, sure. It’s a game that requires sensibility, but the ego, the brain does not always do sensible things. In fact, it thinks it can do the impossible at times, like clearing the lake in front of the green.
I don’t know. I think about quitting this game at times. Go back to hiking, to cooking, to singing and guitar playing, to more writing. But…but…but…I just can’t leave it. It’s part of me. Part of who I am and who I’ve been for decades. And it’s not like it’s a bad addiction. Compared to most addictions, it’s pretty OK, don’t you think. Oh Jeez, looks like I talked myself back into it again. I’ll stick with the bloody game. But cooking might be funner…and less muddy!
A friend of mine sent me Rick Reilly’s book Commander in Cheat. So far, a great read and I highly recommend it. Trump’s been cheating, lying, and, now, inciting to violence all his life, far beyond his cheating on the golf course of which he is a chronic offender. Even Twitter yanked his account away permanently. And now an insurrection by his followers, bringing this country as close to fascism as I’ve ever seen it.
So go ahead and unsubscribe if you’d like, or subscribe if you have a notion. It’s high time that golf join the NBA, WNBA, and NFL and get political if it’s called for. Labron James and Sue Bird are good role models if you ask me. After January 6, 2021, that time has come. This blog will include politics if I damn well want to include politics, and anything else I want to talk about. So, yes, go ahead and unsubscribe if this rubs you the wrong way. It’s a free country after all. And I hope it remains so. And my advice to the pro-Trump fascists who breeched the walls of Congress and threatened (and hurt and even murdered) our Capitol police and duly elected legislators: Find a new addiction. Take up golf, instead…after you leave prison, that is.
And for those who like what I’m writing, I’m happy to have you continue joining me in this adventure. If you’re interested in knowing more about my opinions on politics, climate change, the economy, the pandemic, hiking, travel and more, check out my other blogs at stephenaltschuler.com and breakablenews.substack.com. For now, as is this blog, they are free of charge.
Thanks, y’all, and stay safe. Mask up when called for. Keep that proper social distance. Get that vaccine when available. We can beat this pandemic if we all work together and follow the advice of experts. Now back to watching the tournament in Hawaii and dreaming of lying on a beach feeling the balmy trade winds tussle my hair and soothe my soul.
Good writing, Stephen. I have been playing golf for over 50 years. I haven’t played in over a year due to family illnesses, parental responsibilities and COVID. Bird photography has been fulfilling but I miss golf. Like you, I am hesitant to go out in these conditions. But soon I will answer the call!
Stephen Altschuler says
Thanks, Richard. I understand what you’re saying. What did John Lennon say, Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Things like golf can pass us by pretty quickly with today’s worries and responsibilities, especially when important family matters arise. But I know how important golf is to you, so it’s good to hear you’ll soon be returning to hitting those career shots, and rounds, of yours.
Be well, safe, and happy, my friend.
I think getting with a good pro is nice. I do it often and value it very much.
The idea of being involved in golf is deeper than the score.
Stephen Altschuler says
Thanks so much, Bucky. It’s a good reminder, what you’re saying. It’s good to work with a pro on your swing from time to time. It inspires me to call for a lesson ASAP!
And yes, as you wisely say, involvement in golf is much more than the score.
All the best, my friend.
Phil Russell says
Really nice post. I can’t wait to start golfing again. I live in upstate so this time a year is out. Your right golf is a great game but you have to check your ego. I am also just watching golf and trying to be active in spite of covid and all the political turmoil. Hopefully with the new change next Wednesday things will be better. Also I can’t wait to get my vaccine for my wife and I. Anyway I looking forward to the next golf season. Take care. By the way upstate for me is New York ,
Stephen Altschuler says
Thanks, Phil. Glad you liked the post. Upstate NY must be snow covered by now, so no golf till spring. Sometimes a break from this game is a good thing. Good luck with getting your vaccine. We’re waiting as well in the Pacific NW. I expect we’ll be seeing a big change around distribution with Biden now in charge. And that should lead to a suppression of this horrible pandemic. Let’s hope so.
Take care, Phil