Monday, May 05, 2014

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 114

The Time Mookie Had The Worst Golf Swing Ever

As Spring has FINALLY starting to make a showing in these parts, I have overheard my co-workers talk about their plans to visit the local golf courses in the coming days. While I'm not opposed to hitting the links once in a (great) while, its not something I choose to focus my time and money on anymore. This is normally due to my overall lack of time and money, but it's usually because - truth-be-told - I'm not terribly good.

I actually used to play a LOT of golf, starting with my middle-school years and on into high school. This was mainly due to the friends I hung out with and because my family lived in near-proximity to the local golf course. When I started out, I actually wasn't that bad either. I had a neighbor that was a really good golfer, and along with selling me my first set of used clubs, he showed me the basic techniques I'd need to get started. I took to the sport with enthusiasm, and once I secured myself with a "junior" membership at the local country club I was a frequent fixture there at least 6 days a week during the summer. The only day I seemed to be discouraged from playing were Monday's. That was Men's League day, and they had no time for my scrawny ass to be in their way.

As time went on though, my "technique" became quite sloppy for some reason. I personally blame playing baseball as one of the reasons, but in the end I just never felt the need to correct what I was doing wrong. Plus, I think it just came down to the fact I didn't know how to fix it. Instead of being this nice smooth fluid motion, my golf swing -especially with a driver - was a forced stabbing swing that caused the club face to be "open" at impact with the ball. The result was a "slice" of epic proportions, and the ball would severely arc off to the right somewhere down the fairway. So not only was I losing distance due to the arc of the slice going clear right, I was down right dangerous to the houses and people that may be lining the golf course. I tried time and again to fix my swing, but I could never figure it out. My good-golfer-neighbor couldn't even figure out "what the hell" I was doing. Through it all though, I kept playing and just "adapted" my game to the slice. How does one do that? Well, you "play" the slice.
See that arrow? Mine was more severe than that.

Picture standing in a tee box staring down a fairway towards the green that is approximately 300 yards away. Most people would line up and try to hit the ball straight off the tee box and down the fairway. Due to my slice, I couldn't do that. I would position myself so I was turned and pointed approximately 30-40 degrees to the left of green. I would then hit the ball, and the slice would arc out from left to right and land in the middle of the fairway. It was just horrible and awesome at the same time. People playing with with me or waiting their turn would just stare at me when I did this. They'd be like "Hey the green is over there" while pointing to the right of where I was aiming. I'd smile and hit my shot while they stood in disbelief.

My favorite all time shot was going off the #9 tee blocks at my hometown golf course. The tee is way up on a hill, and you hit off the hill to a green that is situated between the clubhouse and a big area of trees. The initial fairway is pretty wide open, but there are houses to the left and right as well. I'd tee up and point over a neighboring yard and right at the clubhouse. My friend "Rick*" would laugh his ass off at this, and other golfers would swear I was going to drill the clubhouse. I'd hit that thing as hard as I could, and everyone stood in awe as the ball did what it did.

I carried this awful habit with me into high school, and in spite of this - I somehow made the junior varsity high school golf team my freshman year. This of course pissed off Rick to no ends because he didn't make the JV team. He had been playing golf for YEARS and actually TRIED to play with proficient and decent form, but yet he couldn't beat me. I even adapted to my horrible technique so well, that there ended up being a few meets where I even had the lowest score on the JV team. It was just sad.

This was the golf coach after he let me play
on the Varsity team one meet.
This continued for my Sophomore and Junior years, and at no time did the Golf Coach or any of our helpers try to fix or correct my swing. In looking back at this now, I find it disturbing that they let me play that way. By my senior year, the wheels totally came off the train and I couldn't control the slice AT ALL. It was severely unpredictable, and I barely was making the JV team. There was one meet where they let me play in the Varsity meet because I was a senior.....this was a huge mistake. I think I shot a 50 for 9-holes on a very easy course, and most of the JV kids even beat me.  It was bad.

In later years I have been able to "correct" my slice to an extent, but the shot still has a "fade" to it so I have to be careful. My lack of play also tends to make my game erratic as well, so I am definitely still a form of entertainment/danger when out on the golf course.

So if you are out on the course this summer, look out for people like me and keep your hard-hats handy.

It's chaotic entertainment.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

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