Teed off about golf chatter

Kevin Cowherd

April 01, 1992|By Kevin Cowherd

The arrival of spring is all well and good, although it's certainly not without its down side now that the golfers are back.

I see them everywhere these days, with their canary yellow shirts and their lime green pants and their little white visors and golf caps.

I watch them loading their bags into the trunks of their cars at 6 a.m., hands trembling from a half-dozen cups of coffee, eyes red from awakening at such an ungodly hour.

Off they go for another "relaxing" day on the golf course, only to return pale and shaken and swigging from bottles of Mylanta after their scores again balloon out of control.

Of course, it is not hard to anticipate what will happen here.

Inevitably, this commentary will provoke a spate of vicious letters from golfers, who will grab a stubby No. 2 lead pencil from their golf bags and a piece of club stationary and scrawl: "What do you know about golf? You probably never even played the game."

That's not true. I played golf once. Took a 23 on the first hole. See, there was this creek smack in the middle of the fairway, which struck me as kind of an odd place for a body of water.

Anyway, I kept plunking ball after ball into this creek. Finally, I huddled with the other members of my foursome.

"Men," I said, "let me be brutally honest here. There are only 10 or 12 hours of daylight left, at which point I'll probably still be out here trying to clear this creek.

"So how about letting me throw the ball the rest of the way?"

Everyone agreed that would be the way to go, since there was now a large crowd of golfers directly behind us whining about not being able to tee off.

Anyway, things did not improve a great deal over the next 17 holes. I finished with, I don't know, a 190 or something. So don't tell me about suffering. I spent the day gobbling fistfuls of Rolaids like they were M&M's.

The sad thing about golfers is that they are not content to simply play their silly game and be done with it.

Instead, they insist on inflicting punishment on everyone around them by recounting, in excruciating detail, every single moment of their rounds.

I don't know if you've ever sat and listened to a golfer drone on and on about his approach to a dogleg left (whatever that is). But it's an unsettling experience.

Approximately 15 seconds into the conversation, your eyes will begin to close.

Not wishing to be impolite, you'll try to fight this urge. This will cause you to yawn and blink rapidly and shake your head violently in an effort to stay awake. The total effect is that of a person struggling to overcome a blast of general anesthesia.

I have been at parties and actually dozed off during heated discussions about the Titleist DT ball, only to awaken with one elbow in the punch bowl. Or I'll suddenly find myself in a conversation about 9-irons over by the spinach dip, with absolutely no recollection of how I got there.

Scary? You betcha. That's why I've made it a practice to never, ever get behind the wheel of a car with a golfer as the passenger.

What happens is, you'll be driving along, listening to him babble about the front nine at Pine Ridge or some such nonsense, and your thoughts will naturally begin to drift. A warm feeling of drowsiness will wash over you.

Suddenly, though, your chin will bang the steering wheel, causing your head to snap back and making you realize the car has veered off the road and is now spraying gravel on nearby mailboxes.

That would be a heck of a way to check out, wouldn't it? With the words "sand trap" ringing in your ears?

Here is something else I could never understand about golfers: That imaginary little swing they all like to take.

My former neighbor Hal used to do this. You'd be in the middle of a conversation with him when, out of the blue, he'd take this imaginary golf swing, sort of like the one Johnny Carson takes after his monologue.

There is no way to describe how annoying this is, except that we all had to fight the urge to smack Hal 20 or 30 times a day.

To my knowledge, only golfers display this sort of bizarre behavior. If you're talking to a softball player, he won't suddenly take an imaginary throw from the catcher and make a sweep tag of second base.

A tennis player won't suddenly pause in mid-conversation and toss an imaginary ball in the air and pretend to serve.

But golfers take imaginary swings at the ball all the time.

I'll tell you, instead of worrying about their grip and backswing and stuff like that, they ought to worry about that little swing.

You can't tell me that's a good sign.

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