Mental Health Day 6-26-15
Been awhile since I have posted anything to my playing diary. The title would imply that this portion of the site is dedicated to a chronological accounting regaling my playing experience. Sorry for the confusion, but that won’t be the case. Besides, who would find that entertaining? Really, my goal is to share funny stories or mini epiphanies that may hit me about the face and neck while I play golf.
So, I’ve been burning the candle with a butane torch the last few weeks. Work has a nasty habit of getting in the way of what is really important to me…..golf. Someday, I plan to have my passion and income producing endeavors converge into a symbiotic state creating a hopefully blissful remainder of my days on this great rock. Till then, I played golf the other day and it was kind of cool. My son talked me into taking Friday as a mental health day and attempt to get a mini epic 27 holes in before it got too hot. The last week in Atlanta has been sweltering to say the least. Seriously, this kind of heat should only be reserved for practitioners of evil. Rain in the forecast for the weekend all but dooming getting out whilst not required to be in the office. I caved…granted, any initial reticence towards the idea was minimal.
We headed out about 7:30 in the am, hoping to get in all 27 Bradshaw Farms has to offer. I have been traveling a bit for work, so I expected to have some rust, amazingly my swing felt good in warmups. Clipping the ball cleanly with good rhythm. My son has been playing a bunch, posting some excellent scores as of late. Well, that was true till the day before he posted an 86 in a local tournament, which was pretty high given his ability. We were neck and neck on the first nine. I eased into a 38 with my only miscues coming on the putting surface. The boy was going pretty good till he had a bit of blow out on hole 3. Doubles always suck, they just do. Like politicians on the teat of humanity, you feel like a shower when one rears it’s ugly head. Got to get that stink off. He ended up shooting 41, respectable. Believe it or not, the heat started to have an effect. It’s like 9:15 in the morning and we are already at 84 degrees….again, that’s stupid. Somewhere along the way, maybe the 5th hole, I notice I’m kind of playing by myself. My boy is flaming out…his engine is burning up. Maverick is down, Goose is flotsam in the sea. It’s the heat! The sun is brutal now, I’m missing my flop hat sitting in my closet at home, ridiculous looking apparel aside. Damn you Kirk Triplett for making it somewhat cool. That’s a stretch even for me, I’m guessing it was never cool. All jokes aside, those hats block out the sun like a fat guy at the beach. They’ll never be as cool as a ball cap, but they work. If you are making birdies, people tend not to make too much fun of you. I wish I could pull off the Greg Norman hat, but I’m pretty confident you have to be from Australia to even buy one.
I continue to observe my son and his level of attention while playing the final 3 holes. Frankly, I blame him wholeheartedly for my semi blowout on the last two holes. I’m focused on his game now. Maybe the heat was affecting me too? We finish the first 18, I am 5 over total….thanks to the bogey on “17” and the awesomeness of a double bogey on “18”. Seriously, shoot me, about as mentally satisfying as watching network news every night. Abject angst aside, I think I identify a major flaw in my kid’s game…he can’t take the heat. At this point, I’m thinking of calling it and looking for some lunch in an air conditioned environment. Gently, I pose the question, “ you still good for another 9”? Unflinchingly, he answers in the affirmative. This is where the dad in me jumps forward, no longer competitors, at least till we get to the next tee box. “Hey man, you melted like a candle out there on the back? You have to block your environment out as much as mentally possible. I know it’s hot, belligerently abusive heat. You have got to find a way to remain mentally sharp when you are wilting. Your mind is your asset here, not your swing. So, tell you what, I’ll spring for a drink of your choice, maybe get some pep in your step. Keep downing the water though, let’s try and play this back back 9 at a high level.” He agreed, not even with some absurd caveat of the simpleton adolescent mind. Wow, I should bottle this noise up…sell it to parents everywhere. I know, I know, the heat soften his stance. How else could I butter that toast with such ease.
We get to the next tee box. It’s the premier spot, right below the clubhouse. There is an amiable starter who has an infectious way of prodding his charges on the first tee with a dose of genuine southern charm. My favorite thing he says is “hit you another…I didn’t see that one”. After he downs a couple of gulps of Mr. Pibb and a few cheese crackers, I think I recognize my son again. He tees it up and smokes one down the right side of the fairway. I’m not so lucky hitting what amounts to a heinous quail somehow finding land over the “junk” which fronts the tee. Truly inexplicably awful shot, no words. Rangers and starters everywhere know the power they yield…bastards, I mean that in a nice way. I hear, “Hit you another”. I kindly pass on the invitation, telling him this was a blood match, I’d have to play that dead bird up and score it. Laughing, he understood the dynamic. The rest of the round was really an exercise of back and forth. I had lost some steam, but managed to keep it going on the back back. Had a couple of sand saves and crazy short game shots supported by some stellar putting. I was told, “I’d hate to play you in match play with all this up and down magic you got going old man”. Respect? Seriously, I can still hit down boy…..I swear I don’t know where he gets it. Must be his mother. I’d have to give the kid major props on hole 6 when he knocked it to 8 feet extricating his ball from a shallow creek after a seemingly disastrous approach shot. I think he was most happy with the suddenly cold water soaking his shirt. “Sane people drop”. He mocks me with an idiotic smirk accompanied by, “ do you see where the ball is?” I smiled to myself, that’s the imagination and lack of worldly fear at work. How I wish I had the acorns to give a shot like that a go. He ended up shooting 40 and I clipped him with another 38. At the end of the day, I know my clubs will be clean by hands not of my own. We have to have something on it to keep it interesting don’t we?