Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Thirty- something speaks

I am no golfer



Mike Maddock

I love playing golf, but I definitely would not qualify myself as a golfer. By golfer, I do not mean the guys in plaid knickers with bright sweaters, goofy hats, and strange looking shoes or guys who’d rather spend half a day dodging lightning bolts on some soggy fairway than half an hour picking curtains with their wives in a crowded department store. I’m not even talking about guys who start every conversation with, “Hey, how you hittin’ ’em?”

No, my definition of a golfer is someone who can swing a golf club at a tiny dimpled ball and have some idea where the thing is headed after contact at least 50% of the time. I don’t care if he knows that ball is going to hit every tree on the side of the fairway or if it’s going to find water no matter what direction he’s aiming. At least he knows where it’s going and that, to me, is a golfer.

I am no golfer.

I could swing a club 100 times in a row, and the only thing I know is that I don’t know where that silly, little ball is going to go. I’ve had drives that sailed wonderfully high only to land in the dead center of a pond. I’ve hit balls way left into the woods and way right into oncoming traffic and straight into the ground. I’ve hit balls that sent golfers at a driving range diving for cover and, of course, I’ve actually managed to not hit the ball at all more than I care to admit.

It’s particularly embarrassing when the only thing traveling down the fairway is a gust of wind.

There are those rare exceptions in my golf game I can almost certainly count on. For example, I could hit four slices in a row off the tee, way right into the woods where only the squirrels can find my ball, then I’ll get the bright idea to play my slice on the next drive. I line up and aim directly southeast on a hole running straight north to south. Inevitably, this is precisely the time I hit the ball as straight as my three wood and get a thorough tongue lashing from Judge Smails at the hole next door who just witnessed my ball sail within inches of his head.

Golf is a strange sport. I’ve seen guys who couldn’t hit a fastball from a nine- year- old boy if their lives depended on it consistently rip 250- yard drives straight down a narrow fairway. I’ve seen professional basketball players look like complete goofballs on a putting green. It seems golf is a great equalizer. Little old ladies can compete with NBA Hall- of- Famers, but that doesn’t help me.

I still stink, and I’m not sure if there’s a darn thing I can do about it. That’s tough in a state like South Carolina where baby boys get a pacifier first and a putter shortly thereafter. Golf is as much a part of South Carolina culture as shagging. Unfortunately, I can’t do that either, but dancing is something I can fake. It’s not possible to fake my way through a round of golf.

I’ll just keep swinging until the club managers and little old ladies run me off and hope that someday my slice will straighten itself out and water hazards will be outlawed.

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