You thought golf was hard. Have you tried worming?
As in, sand worming? As in those old blokes you see in bucket hats on beaches throughout Australia, bent over sticks and stockings full of fetid fish, waiting for the miniature versions of the monsters from Dune to raise their tentacled little heads for a feed?
It’s almost as good as golf.
It’s definitely as hard as golf – maybe harder. At least with golf, the occasional hope is offered. You line up your shot with your feet in the right-ish direction, you pick a target way in the distance. Actively use the time you should be seeing perfection to deny the existence of words like shank, or hook or chili dip. And once in a while, even for rank beginners, success.
Not so with worming: beyond luck, it’s win or lose. Mostly lose.
My daughter happened along the beach for a swim while I was mid-worming and actively avoided me. She saw me, of course, though I’m not sure her description quite married up with the reflection I saw in a shop window on the way home.
“Dad. Geeez. A bucket hat? And was that a golf shirt and boardshorts? Daaaaad. Geeeeeeeeeeez. And what were you doing? It looked like you were dragging half a leg back and forth across the beach, and occasionally you would stop and squat like you were trying to take a dump – through your shorts. Geeez, Dad. What were you even doing?”
For the record, that is a pretty fair assessment of what was going on. Whilst hard to reconcile, worming is not unlike golf. It’s about set up and attitude and belief. It’s knowing when to squeeze and when to soothe.
Like a hole-in-one or double eagle or even an eagle, catching a sandworm is improbable, but not impossible. Hell, I had one between my thumb and forefinger. I was squeezing and it was pulling and so I squeezed harder as it tried to disappear into the sand. Like a headwind with a long iron, the worm was winning. But I dug deep with my left hand and got a hold a bit further along the brute. Alas, it was just too powerful for these little chicken wings to hold.
As it disappeared into the sand I was left to act out the scene from a movie where the hero (me) loses everything. On his haunches he looks skyward with shoulders hunched and roars, “Noooooooooooooo!” I can see why my daughter ignored me.
So, I gave it away, for that day, anyway.
And now worming joins the list of other stuff that robs me of sleep: things like Ross Bockman telling me he’s left his Callaway RAZR X muscleback blades in the pro shop for me to try.
“Worming is not unlike golf. It’s about set up and attitude and belief. It’s knowing when to squeeze and when to soothe.” – Andrew Daddo
Who’s Ross Bockman and why’s he dropped his clubs at the shop for me to dribble over? Good question. Ross is a club legend at Long Reef Golf Club, plays off plus one and regularly shoots his age. You know the type. Wily old bugger with a short game to die for – not saying he doesn’t putt from the fairway, but not saying he does, either.
So Bockman’s been getting in the way of my sleep time because some loudmouth (me) told him his fantasy clubs were the prototype Callaway musclebacks – and he said, I’ve got one better, the set that came after the prototype. AKA, the good set. Want to try them?
Cruel, right? I was happy with what I had.
And yet, maybe not. You see, if I acknowledge it’s almost impossible for me to snag a sandworm because I lack the skills and basic equipment, maybe I can snag the success of one Mr Bockman Snr if I use his clubs. The very clubs he used to great effect.
There must be some residual good in them, right?
Those near-mint musclebacks must have had some old-fashioned love belted into those Samurai-type blades. And maybe, just maybe, I can get some of that love and skill into my own game which is teetering on the brink of something. If you read our editor’s column in the February issue, you’d expect my game is teetering on the edge of extinction because it’s been going fairly well lately, but that’s another thought for another day.
And what of Ross, you ask?
What’s he got now? Why’d he move on from the fantasy clubs in the first place? What was wrong with them? And that’s the sort of stuff that keeps me awake. That, and sand worming. And whether I should use pliers instead of fingers, or lead tape on my irons, or spend $80 on a dozen of those new golf balls to see if they splash any better.
This is exhausting.