The Ranger- Welcome, an Introduction
I’m a ranger, that’s right, a golf course arm of the law. I survey all that is before me within the confines of this manicured arena…these grounds are my jurisdiction, my Dodge City. As I ride high in my golf cart, my watchful eyes see all that contributes to slow play, grinding a Saturday to a halt, bringing tears to grown men just trying to play 18 and hurry home. Can’t tell you the number of pink shirts and khaki shorts twisted in a bunch, stuck behind an ignorant foursome oblivious to the groups behind them. I hope my stories will enlighten those that don’t know and bring solace to those that are in the know. God willing, salvation from the 5 hour rounds seen all too often at area golf courses.
Let’s set the ground rules a bit, maybe massage the premise, erecting a sense of enlightenment. Golf should never take 5 hours to play. Like, I mean, never, ever, Ever. We aren’t renewing a drivers license, we are engaging in an enjoyable past time of leisure. If you have to take 14 practice swings in order to get the “feel of the shot”, please directly join the Tour….you are that good dammit, don’t let us hacks hold you up. As your ranger, I’ve seen you out there, digging those ditches next to your ball trying to find the bottom. Here’s an idea, stop doing that! Have you seen it on the TV? No, you brush the grass, you don’t continually gouge a small ravine next to your ball. It doesn’t help at all, and I swear I’ll find you if my ball finds that little hollow you dug “practicing” your ill advised approach shot from 200 yards. I know, I know, you hit this shot once and it made it up to the green, leaving you a 7 footer you missed for birdie, but you were that close. You don’t consistently hit anything 200 yards toward the target you are aiming at, but just in case, best take your time and give it your best shot. Ah, the practice swing rant is one of my favorites actually. There are times I’ll see a player going at it like he’s burying a turd in a litter box, just swinging that club over and over again. Please don’t take it the wrong way, practice swings are necessary to appropriately prepare for the shot. Just remember, less is more.
The one thing I will call out as your friendly ranger is the par 5 approach trying to reach the green in 2 (3 in some cases). For the love of the game, please recognize your limitations. You aren’t Dustin Johnson. You won’t hit that 3 wood 280 yards to an elevated green even if there is a hurricane behind you. It ain’t going to happen. Maybe take into account the tee shot you just hit…um, off a tee and it traveled 220 yards with a 20 yard lateral fade. Then the 2nd shot from the right rough snookered by a tree….yep, that fat chunk job, the famous 27 yard 3 iron. You would think you’d take the hint from the group behind that just nestled one up 15 yards from your cart while you wait for the green to clear. I don’t have to heart to tell you, yes that indeed was a 280 yard 3 wood off the tee, and yes, that guy just did that to send a message. A good plan of attack would be say, oh, let’s think, maybe hit something you hit 150 yards if you have a nice safe place to land it. You might just leave something in the 120 – 130 yard range to hit the middle of the green. Don’t we all feel more comfortable with a short iron in hand? On the golf course people, let’s keep it clean. Strategy aside…wait no…let’s put the strategy in the forefront, because it’s how we make lower scores. Like I said, as a ranger, I just want the game to flow, move to a consistent rhythm. I don’t want to be a hard ass ruining your Saturday, but I will for the sake of the other guys and gals behind you trying to get their rounds in.Take your average par 4 of the 390 yard variety. If there isn’t much to clear, hit the longest club you can consistently hit and keep in the fairway. News flash, that might not be that $400 driver you just bought, could be a 5 iron you can pipe 180. That leaves you 210 to the middle. If you are playing from the fairway, split the difference, maybe hit a 9 iron leaving a wedge into the green. You will be amazed at how many pars and bogeys you make from this position. Figure out what your “go” number is? Is it 180 yards, 160 maybe? The number you feel confident is the longest you can control an approach shot and hit something to middle of the green. I can hear you from here…”But wait ranger….you are taking the fun out of the game, I want to hit ball a long way using my new driver.” No, not really, what’s fun about shooting 105 when it’s 95 degrees outside? Losing golf balls. Spending an inordinate amount of time looking for golf balls in the woods? Punching yet another shot out into the fairway?
Golf is meant to be fun and as your ranger, I want to help you enjoy the game to the fullest. Take these little bits of advice. My promise is I’ve seen it all, at least a time or two. Let’s speed the game up for all and lower those scores in the process.