For those of you who were expecting something different, I’m sorry to disappoint. Yeah, I know the title is probably a bit misleading and while there certainly might be a ring of truth to those words when the topic turns to sex, they’ve never been truer when spoken on the golf course and when the subject involves the fine art of putting.
First of all, for any of you duffers out there who are like me, you already know that there seems to be thousands of ways to fuck up your game on a golf course. You might be slicing or hooking your drives, you might be blading or topping your irons, you might be chipping like shit and if you’re really having a bad day, you might be doing all three. Maybe you’re one of those folks that don’t believe in so called “winter rules” where you can roll the ball a bit to get you out of a shitty lie and to improve your odds of making better contact with the ball and getting you close to the cup so you do the old play it where it lies and take your penance in the form of lost strokes and a stream of expletives..
For the most part, all of those things can be corrected if you spend enough time pounding balls at your local driving range and get yourself one of those instructors. If nothing else, golf is a game of repetition and muscle memory. The one exception of that, to me at least, is when it comes to putting.
I’ve been playing the same course for about six years or so and while the tee box, fairways, rough and bunkers always seem to look the same, every time I try to read a green it always seems to look different. Maybe the pin is cut in such a way as to hide some of the hills and valleys or to guard against the course becoming too familiar to the regulars or maybe the green has been mowed so tight that a mere tap of the ball can send it rolling off into the stratosphere. See, while the other aspects of the game that I mentioned earlier might involve some degree of power, putting is all about finesse.
Sometimes, you can finesse your way right into a dreaded three putt and into crying your eyes out over beers in the nineteenth hole .
I mean, there you are, a short par four, you’re on in two and a birdie or a par are distinct possibilities. Depending on where your sitting you take that extra special time to line up that putt and to hear the sweet sound of the ball dropping into the cup. You pull back your putter and give the ball a nudge and all of the work you did seems about to be rewarded. You’ve figured out the line and the ball looks like it’s heading dead center to the hole. That’s when all of sudden it puts on brakes and stops a couple of feet from the jar. It’s at this point where if you’re a man like myself, your fellow understanding golfing buddies will offer you some sage advice in the form of “Pull up your skirt Sally”. Disgusted, you might give it just another nudge to tap it in but since now you didn’t take the time to line it up, it lips out on you.
You feel like shit…
There are certain truisms in golf. One of them is that if you can’t get the ball to the hole, it has no chance of going in. You might drill a putt that looks like it’s going to roll at least twenty feet passed it but it catches the hole, pops up and drops or rims out and leaves you another short one but if it never gets there, it never has a chance.
I’ve left many a putt short in my life and the feeling is always the same. The words that ring in my head as the ball rolls to a stop either a few feet or inches away are always the same too.
”You gotta hit the ball, asshole.”
Never up, never in…