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GOLF IS FUN
WHY AREN'T YOU HAVING ANY?

By David Fineg

How often do you find yourself leaving the golf course, after having spent about $50.00 and 5 hours of your valuable leisure time, gripping the steering wheel so hard you almost tear it off the steering column? That's great! I mean, you do go out there to age a little before your time, elevate your pressure, and find a little anger. Right? Or, do you go out there to get away for a few hours and enjoy the companionship of your pals or spouse, while communing with nature for a while? How about the attempt to get some relaxation and relief from the stress that builds up inside of you all week long? Where did your mission go wrong? Iíll tell you where it went wrong. On the first tee, that's where! Before the first swing, you lost sight of your mission. You were supposed to be going out there to enjoy yourself, REMEMBER?

Golf is the hardest sport on the planet to play at the highest level. It is the easiest sport on the planet to play at the enjoyment level. You will need to have realistic expectations about your abilities. The finesse and precision required in golf (on every single shot) is more than enough pressure. Pressure destroys enjoyment. Avoid pressure situations and REMEMBER, your mission is to have fun, relax and enjoy yourself. You must maximize your potential for success, and minimize your possibility for failure. Insert the word "enjoyment" for "success", and the word "misery" for the word "failure". Once again, this is about having fun. There are many things you can do to help realize this goal.

HOW TO PLAY THE GAME

THE TWO BAG THEORY

The two bag theory is something I thought up to help with your confidence on the course. It states that you should have two golf bags for your clubs. Bag one is called the "game" bag. Bag two is called the "range" bag. The range bag holds all the clubs that have not "proven" themselves on the range. These clubs have not earned the right to go into the game bag. They do not go to the course. The game bag holds only the clubs that deserve the right to play at the course. They have proven to you that they can perform at a high level when called to do so. You have confidence that you can hit them well. Embeded within Two Bag theory is another concept known as the Ten Club Corrolary. It states that ten clubs take up as much room as a thermos of martinis or four beers. To lighten the load, or increase the things your hauling that bring you pleasure. The reason I use the number 10 for the amount of clubs in the Corrolary, is because you should be able to play a round of golf enjoyably with just 4 clubs.

Consider leaving all the "W" clubs at home. Leave the "flop Wedge" at home. It's the club that produces nothing but "flops" when you use it. Leave the " big wood" at home. Why do you think they call them "woods"?

FORGET ABOUT THE SCORE!

Use the scorecard as a map to the next hole. Keep score on only every 5th round. Play the other four rounds with the goal being to make as many good swings as you can. When you make a bad swing, forget about it. Start the count over again. Take LOTS of balls with you. When you hit one out into the O'BYSS, don't even go look for it. (This will allow you to avoid the anger mismanagement issues) Walk down the middle of the fairway and drop the ball where you figure it would have landed, had it been hit well. Hit off perfect lies on every shot. (By the way, why would you want to pony up $50.00 and then hit off dismal lies that you find yourself on? Exactly like the lies you hit off at my range, and that cost you about 5-7 dollars.) Remember, your mission is to maximize your potential for enjoyment. This will allow you to enjoy the round and get some quality practice in as well. Play all rounds from the forward tees. (They are NOT known as the women's tees, unless you are a disrespecting monkey man) Once you are having some success (fun) from those tees; then move back to the next set. Once again, the mission to maximize... Play other games of golf that don't have anything to do with the score. For example, your group could play a scramble except that the best ball would select the next shot based on the most difficult lie within 25 feet of where "best" landed. Surely one of you would pull off a great shot, and these would be the things you remember from the round. You would also probably play a round faster than normal.

WHOM TO PLAY THE GAME WITH

Most people with an opinion about the caliber of player you should be playing with, say you should be playing with golfers that are better than you are. I disagree with that. I think you should be playing golf with golfers no better than you, or maybe a little worse than you. Why? If they are better than you are, you will find yourself feeling the pressure to perform at a level beyond your ability. This will have a negative effect on your potential for enjoyment. When you play with golfers only as good as you are, there will be no "need" creeping into your efforts. You will not need to perform at a higher level than you are capable of. Less pressure= more potential for fun. If one of the players is having a good day, this will only make you feel good for that player. It will have less of an influence on your play because you know that this person is "Just having a good day." Once you have had a little success, you may choose to test yourself against players more skilled than you. I am not saying that competitive desire is a bad thing. It is competitive desire that will propel you to the higher levels in most everything. What I am saying, is that the person you should be trying to win against, is YOURSELF! That is the person it will turn out to be hardest to beat.

MANY MORE MULTIPLE MYRIADS OF MARVELOUS METHODOLOGY

(That you can use to get better, and insure you have some fun)

The newest and most exciting principal now on the lips of all golfers (and others trying to achieve a level of proficiency) is a procedure known as PRACTICE! Maybe you have heard of it. It can help you find a better swing, which helps with your performance anxiety issues. Thusly, allowing you to have more fun. See how easy this is?

Be realistic about your goals. Are you looking to go on the tour, tearing up the links worldwide? An uncontrollable grin on your face as you cruise to the bank to cash those five foot long checks? Or, are you just looking to have some fun and relaxing times between the torture sessions at your job? How about getting a couple of really great shots in while you are out there? I would call this "a whole 'nother level of wonder". As to the first thought; the only tour most golfers find themselves on is the tour of the golf course. Not a great tour, to be sure. Complimentary chiggers, and all the disgust you can swallow. Getting back to the car and commenting that you missed the "Signature hole" you saw in the brochure. As your buddy tells you "that was the hole you tried to cut the corner on and found yourself in the woods". Hearing him say, "the waterfall was beautiful, and they even had some mermaids in the pond serving free margaritas. You should have seen it!" (By the way ladies, those might have been mermen.)

As a beginner, you should buy some clubs from the pawn shop. Have no more than about $3.00 in each club. That way when a club gives you a bad day, you can leave it right where it is. Head straight for the 19th hole with no intention to retrieve it. There is some joy in that.

Golf is a game that can provide your mind and body with all kinds of healthy input. It can be a game that elevates your blood pressure, and ages you before your time. It is up to you to get the things out of it that you want.

One more thing: Really good players could not care less how ugly your swing (or game) is. If you endeavor to be up on the rules, and know how to behave on the course, you are IN with them! They will want you as a playing partner every time. I guarantee this. So don't feel any pressure to perform for them. They are just out there to enjoy themselves and their friends, and make one or two good shots if they can. Same as you.

Good luck and go have some fun!

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