It’s a golf day, not unlike any other.
It’s a random fourball I’m in, and everyone’s into it. Good shots, bad shots, smiles and grimaces and the occasional “how good is golf!” Normal, like any other golf day.
Mick (let’s pretend that’s his name, but it’s not. It’s really Michael) is a handy practitioner, though a little crouched. He’s been on the quiet side for the back nine, playing well, enjoying himself, and starting to rack up a fairly decent Stableford score.
On the 15th, he sidles up and says as if it’s just popped into his mind. “Oh, yeah. That’s what I was going to ask you. That magazine you write those stories for – the ones that always sound like they’re made up.”
“Yes,” I said cautiously, thinking this could become one of those ‘made up’ stories.
“Of all the advice you’ve got, all the pro tips and experts you must meet who give you free lessons …” It felt like he was laying it on pretty thick, and just as he was about to ask who was the favourite, he said, “… what was the best tip?”
The best tip? What a good question. People love to give tips, especially when they’re better than you. There have been some beauties. Hit it on the up. Sweep it off the grass. Drop the club on the ball. Drive it to mid-off. Use your hips. Don’t use your hips.
On it goes.
“There must have been one,” he said.
“You’re right, there must have been.” Buggered if I could think of it. “Tempo,” I said, eventually. “It came from a smooth-swinging financial advisor, not a pro. Not rushing or waiting or trying to be over here when I should be over there. It’s tempo.”
It was like an epiphany, just remembering it had me striking the ball better.
“Yeah, I get that,” said Mick with a nod. “Good tip.” For the next hole or so, he appeared to be grooving his swing.
A fairway later, he sidled up again and offered this. “There is no one tip, is there? I mean, how can there be? We’re all different sizes and shapes and physical abilities. We can’t all physically do the bendy wrist thing, can we?” He made a Dustin Johnson imaginary mid-air lash. “Besides, what works for you might not work for me, right?”
“That magazine you write those stories for – the ones that always sound like they’re made up.”
“Well, of course you’re right. Different jokes for different folks. Whatever blows your hair back, might blow my hair off. There is no universal fix.” It was weird that he’d asked for the best tip, then told me there was no best tip.
“Funny game, golf,” he said. And I thought it was funny that he wasn’t even smiling when he said it.
Onward, greenward. Ninety-five metres out from the 18th green, I was between clubs. Do I play The Shooter or The Sandy – two of my home-made wedges. The Shooter is dialed up for 100 metres, The Sandy’s better for 90 metres, but there’s a bit of wind and blah blah blah.
So, I hit The Sandy and it’s on the front edge of the green, whilst the pin is up the back. It was fine, not great, not awful. My mate Mick, on the other hand wasn’t so sure. This is literally the conversation.
Mick comes over and says, “Is your barstool too low. Do you need a bigger barstool?”
“What does that mean?”
“I think you need a bigger barstool. Yours is too short.” And now he’s acting out sitting on a barstool with a glass in his hand. One that’s high, one that’s low. One gives him a great golfing posture, the other makes him look as if he’s half way through his morning bowel release.
“What are you trying to say, Michael?”
“You need a bigger barstool.”
“Your barstool is low, like mine. You should try raising it. You’re a bit crouched – you need a taller barstool.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Nope. It’s like you’re on a kid’s barstool. Kids have no place in bars.”
“Did we just have a conversation about golf tips and agreed that there’s no universal fix and that what works for you might not work for me and we often have unique club delivery systems and all of that?”
“We did, but this is about bar stools. You want to borrow Adam Scott’s barstool instead of using Keegan Bradley’s, you know?”
“No,” I said. “And yes. But no. Are you saying I look like Keegan Bradley?”
Mick smiled. “I’m just saying you don’t look like Adam Scott. But I’m not saying you don’t look like Shrek on a low barstool, either.”
Funny game, golf.