Archive for Thursday, July 31, 2003

Opinion: The simple joy that is golf

July 31, 2003

At the writing of this column, our office Internet service has shut down for roughly the 1,679,481st time this month.

About the same time, my computer crashed -- losing my previous column draft -- and my cell phone can't pick up reception necessary to recall my voice mail.

Like Jack London and Henry David Thoreau, I'm detached and sequestered from the rest of the world. Mass rioting, looting and general anarchy could be occurring at this very moment in some far off, backwater corner of the world and I wouldn't know it.

And I have to tell you, all seven of you who read this column that is, that I don't really mind too much. Who knew those two hermits may have had the right idea.

Maybe less (meaning headaches, intrusion and noise) is more.

For some bizarre, eccentric reason unrecognized by my meager reporter psyche, the isolation of being unplugged reminds me what I like doing most besides reading and writing -- playing golf.

Mark Twain famously called the sport I love "a good walk spoiled." Some, most of whom have never picked up a set of sticks, call it an exercise in futility.

A couple of weeks ago, I would have nearly agreed with them. A couple of weeks ago, my game felt like 18 holes of watching Jean Van de Velde's cataclysmic collapse at the 2000 British Open.

I couldn't swing the clubs. I couldn't hit a fairway, a green in regulation or make a putt. Skulls, tops, shanks, hooks, slices, pushes and pulls were words I was becoming all too acquainted with on the links. Most slumps end after a while, but mine was going on its second month.

I could sympathize with what David Duvall is going through. Duvall, once viewed as a worthy challenger to Tiger Woods, has fallen off the map, having recently withdrawn from the Greater Hartford Open after shooting a bogey-filled opening round of 83.

I don't dare paint myself in the same picture with Duvall. My scores can range anywhere from 86 to infinity plus infinity ,and most times they're more toward the latter than the former. I would nearly break out in song and dance if I shot an 83.

Although more hacker than professional, before my slump I at least felt respectable when I made the loop.

But a couple of weeks ago, it was getting bad for me on the golf course, a place that used to serve as my reprieve from the chaos of everyday life. It used to be my church where I could lose what I'd found and find what I'd lost in the world.

The one place where most everything made sense. Where I could get back to nature without having to plant or kill anything.

What eventually pulled me through my slump is remembering why I love golf in the first place -- its pure simplicity.

Take that pill, stick it on a tee and swing for the short grass, yep, that's the way to do it.

Simple philosophy, yes. Easy to do, not always. But, like I said, sometimes less is more.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.