Archive for Thursday, August 3, 2000

No man is an island, but sometimes an island defines a man

August 3, 2000

Baby steps.

My progression from golf hack to, well, a not-so-heinous golf hack has been like a game of "Mother May I."

Two steps forward, one baby step back.

Two steps backward, one baby step forward.

It's a slow and arduous process that would be made much easier if I could just quit my day job and devote all my time to becoming a better golfer.

However, just like I realized at an early age I was much to small to be a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers or that my inability to hit the curveball would prevent me from playing third base for the San Francisco Giants, I am realistic about my golf skills.

Putting it bluntly brutally honest, some would call it I don't have what it takes to make a living on the links unless mowing the fairways is my career of the future.

So, I will continue to play once a week and hope that someday I will be as good as Rod Moyer or Dale Sample. And I will continue to progress and regress from week to week.

Last week, I took a baby step forward.

The Big Sigh and I stayed local and ventured to Oak Country Golf Course in DeSoto, which will never be confused with its neighbor (Falcon Ridge) or to the north (Sunflower Hills, Tomahawk Hills or Dub's Dread), but it is a course that has come a long way in the last four or five years.

But there has been one constant to my regular trips to Oak Country Golf Course over the years: my futility on the 18th hole.

It's barely 100 yards 115, to be exact and you hit from atop a hill, which makes the hole play like about 70 or 80 yards. The intimidating thing about it is the green is surrounded by water.

Hit it too short, it gets wet.

Hit it too long, it goes into the drink.

Have a nasty hook or a slice, ker-plunk.

Over the years, I had deposited my share of balls into the waters surrounding the 18th. In fact, I'm not ashamed OK, maybe a little bit ashamed to say that in an estimated 15 rounds of golf at Oak Country, I had never dropped one on the green there.

It used to be that my shots would hook wildly to the right narrowly missing the silo that is down there for no apparent reason.

In recent outings, my shots have been more accurate, but still off the mark. I remember last fall taking a shot or two at the island with a sand wedge, which wasn't enough club for me I knew but it was all I had because I had somehow left my pitching wedge on the course.

I came up short on all three tries.

That's one of the fun things about Oak Country. There usually aren't a whole lot of people on the course, which makes for a nice, leisurely round of golf. By the time you get to No. 18, you usually have enough time to tee up two or three balls just to see.

My first shot went long.

But so did the Big Sigh's.

My second shot looked like it was going to find turf, but it too sailed long.

The Big Sigh's second shot, too, made a nice splash and caused him to sigh hence the nickname loudly.

But my third shot exploded off the pitching wedge and headed straight for the pin. It looked no different than the previous two. I wondered if this was it my first successful drive onto the green. The first time I would play this hole without losing a ball. A next step in my golf progression.

All of this went through my mind in a nanosecond as I watched the ball drop 5 feet from the pin. I drove down the hill, feeling pretty good about myself. I tapped in and then penciled in a big 7 a quadruple-bogey next to my name.

Never had a seven felt so satisfying.

Especially since the Big Sigh took a 10 on the hole.

Baby steps.

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