Why Spoil A Good Game Of Golf By Keeping Score?

Picture 2Explain to me again why I have to keep track of my strokes on the golf course?  Doesn’t that completely ruin my enjoyment of the game?  I mean, I already have enough to think about without having to track the number of hits I take on every hole too.  No, really. It starts before I’m even out of the car.

Let’s review. The first thing to ponder is where to park the car…how far back in the lot shall I leave it?  Because there are plenty of you power hitters out there (Guys, I’m speaking directly to you) who hook it off the tee, sending balls into outer galaxies along with vocalizations that would make your mother blush. Often those asteroids land directly into the lot where I have to park.  BUT,  If I park in the row furthest back, then I have to schlep my clubs a fair distance to the clubhouse.

Next, I have to decide how many layers of clothing to drag along with me.  If the wind kicks up and the temperatures drop, I have to have alternatives to keep me from the distraction of goose bumps.  But how many layers are enough? That’s near impossible to figure out because the marine layer can roll in at any time, during any season of the year.  It’s foggy here in the winter months…and foggier closer to the ocean.  So, this past week when I pulled into the parking lot, it was 42 degrees. Cloudy and damp, I counted only six other cars in the entire lot.  I stretched a bit taller, because obviously only the very Hard-Core Golfers play in this kind of miserable chill.  I can now be counted as a member of the HCG club.

After I schlep my bag to the clubhouse to pay for the round, I have to figure out how many clean Kleenexes, neon balls and long tees I can comfortably stuff into my pockets.  Because if I don’t remember to have these things handy, you men get all huffy if I have to leave the tee and go back to my bag for more.  And, something about the outdoors makes my nose run, continuously.

-UPDATE:  I no longer schlep my bag to the clubhouse.  I briskly walk there with nothing more than my wallet.   I get the key to the golf cart, and drive it back to my car where I can then load up the cart with my clubs and selection of outer wear.  In the little basket that’s attached to the rear of the cart seat, I plunk in my pre-packed turkey sandwich, water bottle, and assorted hunger-satisfying munchies.  Then, once I’m certain I’m fully prepared, I drive the little cart back to the clubhouse, where I promptly run back inside to grab a large cup of hot coffee, and use the ladies room one last time, regardless of necessity.  I use the lotion provided there to moisturize my hands in full preparation for the outdoor elements I’m about to endure over the next four plus hours. 

Finally, I report to the area where all the men-folk are warming up prior to teeing off on the first hole. I might practice a few putts, a few chip shots.  All for naught really, since that guarantees NOTHING once I’m out on the course.

So now I’m ready to play golf.  I snap on my nifty glove and feel like a Michael Jackson imposter.  Then, after a few bends and stretches, I take a few practice swings with my driver.  I adjust my grip to line up with the center of the club head. I adjust my stance to find that sweet spot.

Ummm….no, wait….that’s not right.  That sweet spot only shows up if I hit a great shot with little, or even better, with NO effort.  So, I re-adjust my stance to get the perfect distance and angle on my club to the ball. I check to see if my feet are in position.  Left foot in front of tee, right foot shoulder length apart.  Balance of weight on left foot, but with knees slightly bent, leaning slightly forward.  You know, in the ‘ready’ position. Then, envisioning a respectful bow to the Queen with a lethal weapon in my hand, I tuck my head down further to pretend I’m head-butting a lamp post.

Next, I visualize the club head coming back over my right shoulder to about a 45 degree angle and, like a pendulum, I’m reversing the momentum to slap that sucker into infinity.

Now that I have it clear in my head, I step up to the plate. I tee up that neon yellow ball, but only after remembering it has to sit up one-third higher than the top of the club head.

Oops.

I bend back down and pull the tee up a tad higher and replace the orbe on top.  Then, adjusting my hands for that once-again perfect cozy grip, I line up my left foot with the tee, place my right foot shoulder length apart and oh so carefully place the club head into position with the ball.  Then I momentarily stare at that ball sitting quietly, wondering if I will ever see it again once I finish with my swing.

I try to re-visualize in my mind where this sucker is going to fly.  Staring that ball down like a cop to a criminal, I slowly bring the driver up and over my right shoulder. When I am completely contorted, and with as much oomph as I can muster, I reverse the momentum and let it rip.  Often, the ball gets airborne. -More often, these days.

Sometimes, not.  But, as long as it moves in a forward direction, I don’t really care. If it’s where I last saw it, I feel like a fool.  But, for arguments sake, let’s assume it has gotten airborne.   -UPDATE:  Rarely is the ball still sitting there. 9 out of 10 times, that ball has decisively left the tee.

Now even though I am not a power hitter and the ball hasn’t gone far, it also hasn’t gone straight.  Well, sometimes it goes straight, but more often than not, it has a mind of it’s own. –UPDATE: Sadly, this is also still true, but at least it doesn’t go into any adjacent fairways or parking lots, mainly because I just can’t hit that far.  Usually it ends up where it’s just off the short crop and into the taller stuff.

So, that brings on a whole new set of issues… because chances are really good that I lost sight of it once it left the tee.

Unless I’m playing in an absolute barren field, I now have to waste time finding the damn thing. I mean, is there some reason no one has developed a gadget to hone in on the ball that’s just left my tee? We have gadgets that can hone in on our car keys and our TV remotes, and bigger gadgets that can hone in on aircraft still hundreds of miles away.  But, we can’t come up with some little gadget that helps us find our neon golf balls, still hot off the club head?

CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY THIS TECHNOLOGY HASN’T BEEN DEVELOPED YET? My iPhone has an app that can find my parked car…WHEN will my iPhone have an app that can find my newly launched neon yellow golf ball?  Does anyone have an IN with Apple?  Can you ask them to get on it?

Hopefully, the lucky person I’m playing with has watched it fly, and has some idea as to its’ whereabouts.  But, if not, tick tock tick tock tick tock.

So, eventually I find it, or drop a new one in the vicinity that I think I lost it.  New issue:  Which club of the remaining six in my bag do I use on this shot?

Driver…definitely not.  Putter, nope.  Sand, nope…well, maybe, but only if it’s IN the sand.  Pitch, possibly, if it’s stuck on a downward slope, but needs to get airborne above that.  So that leaves my rescue five iron, my five wood and my seven.  -UPDATE:  My husband has since graciously added a brand new eight iron to my bag, along with a pitching wedge because I clearly was having no luck with the other club I thought was a pitching wedge, but was actually a nine iron.  He neglected to tell me about these new clubs, and simply added them to my collection as a ‘surprise’.  Next trip out to the driving range, I was horrified to notice I had somehow acquired two strange new clubs in my bag…. worried I’d accidentally lifted someone else’s clubs in error (maybe when I was out of my mind retracing shots one day in a determined effort to record a score?)

It’s a crap shoot. Because I’m no better with one club than another. All the way down the fairway, it’s a crap shoot on every shot.

Eventually I make it to the green, sometimes stopping to play in the sand along the way.  My sand shots are actually getting better.  I try hard not to mess up the sandbox much with unnecessary footprints, and after I’ve punched that ball outta there, I like to rake the sand in a zen fashion to help the poor sap coming along behind me.

When I finally make it to the green, it can be even worse than the journey to get there.  Are the greens running fast or slow?  Do they slant left or right?  Are there subtle (or not so subtle) ridges to screw up the line?  Is the direct approach best? Or do I bait and switch, to get the break that I’m so sure is lurking there?

Oh my God.

Do I tap it hard and risk hopping the hole or do I tap it light and come up short?  Or, will the Golf Gods mess with my head and send the ball skating the rim without dropping it in at all?

I tell you, it’s enough to bring on the Advil.

And, now this leaves only seventeen more holes left to play, assuming I can find my way to the next tee.

Admittedly, my game is actually improving, which is what keeps me coming back in the first place. Truth be told, I’m enjoying golf way more than I’d expected.  Without even using the scorecard, except to look at the map.

My drives off the tee are the biggest area of improvement, followed by the seven iron and the fives, both rescue and wood, although why it’s called a wood when it’s so clearly NOT, I don’t understand.  Pitching is a bear, which I hate to even tangle with, so avoid like the plague when I can.  –Still true.

So, that brings me back to my original point. There is just too damn much to think about on this game. You want me to remember to count my shots too? That will totally spoil the fun I am having. AND, it will slow me down, because now I have to stand at the green and look back down the fairway to the tee and try to retrace my steps.  I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, but you want me to remember my shots too?

And, quite frankly, who cares how precisely I play this game?  I just want to have fun, and get a little fresh air along the way. Trust me: precision isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Or so I hear.

Okay okay okay, so, I’m finally recording scores now…on most holes.  If I lose count, I just draw in a little sad face instead.  If I par or better, I record the score boldly and add a smiley face directly beneath.

Mostly, I record 6’s, snowmen shapes, an occasional bogie, or more rarely a double digit.  But, the beauty of it all?  I never know what’s about to come up next.  It’s still a total crap shoot.  And I count honestly, which is more than I can say for some people.  I won’t mention any names. 

If I lose a ball and drop a new one, I count that as 2.  If I swing and whiff, after the blood in my face cools down, I add that whiff to my count as well.  And, you might be baffled to note that I’m also recording the number of putts on each hole so I can assess more clearly…looking to see how many shots it actually took me just to arrive on the green.  Because once there, it’s a whole new journey in pursuit of that sweet victory CLUNK of my little neon golf ball dropping into that ornery tin cup.

So seriously, YOU TELL ME: why would I spoil a good game of golf by keeping score?  If I’m enduring bleak 46 degree weather for a full 18 holes, I sure as hell just wanna have fun.  Because it’s not about the precision…it‘s more about the chase, the sport of the challenge.  Or so I hear.

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