My Golfing (mis) adventure...

Having made decent strides to the ranks of Vice President in the corporate world, my next target was that of a President / CEO. Amidst scores of ‘Thought Leadership’, ‘Think Big’, ‘Aspire Right’ etc funda’s and training sessions, one consistent (and seemingly not so complicated) recommendation by trainers, analysts, consultants and corporate Guru’s caught my attention – Learn to Play Golf was the simple message. Marriages are (were?) made in heaven and Deals are made in Golf courses – the wise consultants assured!!! Substantiating this with a long list of mega corporate alliances, deals and contracts that were made at Golf courses. Reason enough to give it a try – more so, since it would not be a power point based training.

So, off I went, embarking on my search for an ideal set of needs, to enter the world of the noble golfing kingdom, Internet sites recommended locating a driving range close to home or work, where trainers would impart basic lessons for starters. “Buddy, I need golf lessons – any suggestions for a driving range nearby?” I asked my “all knowing” friend who once (a couple of years ago) started golfing, but gave up later, for reasons ranging from the color of the Golf clubs to the smell of the caddie – though the official line was back pain.

“Do you know what you are getting into?” – he asked with a look of a seasoned “been there done that” pro- “Golf is like marriage, If you take yourself too seriously, it won’t work and, like marriage, its expensive” he announced. Ah, I knew the last bit all too well – for all the EMI he had to put in place 2 years ago when he started golfing and other loans – ever since he tied the knot. “You don’t start at a driving range, before you learn the basics. You need a trainer. I know just the person you need – I’ll take you there” – he volunteered.

Thus began my (mis?) Adventures with Golf. . . .

A few weeks of Theory, a couple of David Leadbetter’s DVD’s later; I was ready for my first practicals on the course outside of the city.

My first lessons were on the tee box, with a Wood (Driver). My first swipe generated so much draft; it blew the hat off my instructors head. The second one missed the tee by a mile and almost created a slip stream jet for a bird flying overhead. The third had half the grass on the tee box fly out into the fairway. I could, from the corner of my eyes, see bikers at the parking lot behind the tee box, clutching at their helmets. Finally, I did make contact, but the tee pin went farther than the ball. After 30 minutes of swishing around, I knew I was in trouble. “Let’s switch to the irons”, my instructor suggested. By now, he was convinced; the best wood in my bag was the pencil.

The irons were a bit better, for most of the time, I did make decent contact. However, the divot was getting larger and huge chunks of mother earth was flying all over. The earthworms and caterpillars were running for cover while a little mole stuck its head out of the hole and barred his whiskers. Another 30 minutes and different irons later, I was hitting the ball in the air. It was a wonderful feeling seeing them fly, but was scary for it was falling just a few feet away – maybe I needed to use helmets.

Finally, we were on the green with the putter. “Is the word spelled p-u-t or p-u-t-t?” I asked the instructor. “P-u-t-t is correct,” he replied. A few hours of putting, I soon realized “Put means to place a thing where you want it. Putt means merely a vain attempt to do the same thing.”
“That is amazing progress – considering it is your first day on the course” my instructor was trying to sound convincing and encouraging. “Even Tiger Woods struggled for 4 days before making contact” he went on. . . .I was tempted to ask “With which of the women” but held back for obvious reasons. “Now, let’s head back to the club for a drink”. That was music to my ears, for at last, he was talking my language and this was my cup of tea (err..Beer).

I recall an amazing definition of golf – simply too apt to be brushed by the wayside: “GOLF IS A SERIES OF TRAGEDIES AND THE OCCASIONAL MIRACLE, followed by A COLD BOTTLE OF BEER”.
Worse was in store. A couple of men, one time students of my instructor, who had just finished their round of golf, invited us for drink. Whoa, whoever said Golf was a walk in the park, I told myself, trying to squeeze myself into the couch across them, while my coach plonked himself by my side. After the introductions and pleasantries, the dreaded question was fired by one of the men . . . “My partner here scored a 12 over par today . . . . What was your score?”. Seeing my bewildered look, my instructor murmured “He’s asking your handicap “. “Many things – like GOLF” I wanted to tell him, but my instructor interjected . . . “He’s just starting . . . . . on a good day, he can shoot under a 100”.

“He eagled on the 3rd, 7th and 11th” the guy was all praise for his friend, “blew a double on the 3rd by a whisker but bogeyed quite a few”. I was sure he flunked all those holes himself . . . but hid my frown behind a well concealed admiring look. Fortunately the beer arrived in time and the embarrassment passed by, but I have long considered this to be the perfect example of a beginners predicament.

I know this is not the end of the ordeal. I need to go through these a few more times in life, before I get a hang of it (or get hung up on it!!) and maybe one day, I will be scoring Eagles (by not playing like a Turkey), Double Eagles or maybe even a Hole in One . . . . Until then, I will need to keep practicing the 3 cardinal rules of the Golf swing over and over again: (1) Take a comfortable stance (2) Your arms straight, elbows locked, head down (3) Follow through the swing.
There is a 4th CARDINAL RULE of Golf that I have already figured out: BE BORN WITH MONEY!!!

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