In Memory of My Dad #31

“Not even God can hit a one iron” –Lee Trevino

This is true.  Most golfers don’t even carry one of these bloody things in their bag.  The one iron is a confidence crusher, a fear trip not to be believed, an almost certain guarantee of shame, failure, dumbness and humiliation if you ever have to use one of the things in public view.

All golfers hate and fear the one iron.  It has no angle, no pitch nor any loft.  It is straight up and down like a putter, and the chances of a normal person getting a ball aloft with it are about 1000 to 1.

Few PGA players ever touch the one iron, and most amateurs won’t even have one in their bag, lest the pure ugliness of the iron poison the  beauty of their matched set of $500 clubs.

The one iron is so ugly, they will tell you; so evil and wrong by nature, that it’s mere presence in the bag will cause seven irons to fly off course.  It will make a Ben Crenshaw putt like some school boy whose only existence  is to see how far he can drive the ball.

The one iron is usually the cheapest club in the 50 percent off barrel which sits all alone among the seastraw hats and the Titlest visors.  Charlie Manson once said he’d rather hit a whippy hickory shafted Bobby Jones two iron than the best one iron made (I tell you this to show how diversified golfers are).  Or perhaps they’re just bedrock crazies.  Trevino said, “Not even God can hit a one iron”, which proved to be true in Trevino’s case—but so what?  I can flat out hit a one iron.  I can mortally kill a one iron.  The Ping Eye 2 Berylium one iron is my favorite golf club.

One night at Gene Cryer’s driving range in Pampa, Texas it felt so weird the first time I hefted a Ping one iron.  It felt like an extension of my arms that soft summer evening.  I teed the ball up and lashed it about 240 yards down the middle.

I then placed about five or six more out there where you could cover the whole bunch with a J.C. Penny sheet.  A deathly silence fell on the crowd that summer night at the driving range, as I continued to hit balls out at the 250 marker.

“Hot Damn,” I thought.  “This is it.  This is the club that will put my game on an entirely different plane.  This is wonderful.  The people were frozen and stunned, they made me an object of worship, a real hero of golf.

They were like law students watching closely as my old friend Mike Stone won five DWI cases in a row.  He worked best when he was under a bit of pressure and always in the face of huge odds.  Mike couldn’t hit the one iron, but in the courtroom he could walk with the kings.

Written by Bob Briggs

In Memory of My Dad #7–Golf

My dad was a golfer.  There was usually a set of golf clubs in the back of his work truck, just in case.  As a little girl I remember times when he’d suddenly remark, “Let’s go hit some golf balls.”  Oh the joy I would feel.  I was going to get to golf!  So he’d grab his clubs and that handy little golf club picker-upper and we’d head to large park or walk across to the empty field across the street.  I quickly learned I wasn’t there to golf with my dad, but I was sent to get the balls after he’d hit them.  He’d holler at me, “There’s one to your left, or farther, go farther.”  I never even got to swing the club.

Here’s a story written by my dad about golfing:

You may hear women complain of being a golf widow.  Big Deal.   It’s you the golfer who is hurting.  It’s your hands that are numb and bleed at night, it’s your back that aches and twitches.  Your legs are sore and your neck is sunburned almost black from hours of standing over the golf ball.  You are in a mortal panic, it’s you who is one of the walking wounded.

When you play a good round of golf, you are deathly afraid that you can’t repeat the swing your next time out.  When you play badly you think, “why couldn’t I have been born a mule, then I could get some use out of all this green grass.”

You say to yourself, “I don’t need this kind of suffering,”  but you know that you’ll be back tomorrow and that’s what makes the wonderful world of golf so exasperating.

Golfers like to wear shirts with small animals emblazoned over the pockets.  Penguins.  Alligators.  The small Polo horse and rider.  I have many shirts with the alligator logo.  Once playing in South Texas I hooked a ball far into the left rough.  When I went into the jungle grass looking for the ball, I spied an alligator with a shirt that had a little golfer over the pocket.  I don’t even think he was a member of the club either.

I used to play a pretty decent round of golf, but since having this stroke, anytime that I don’t fall out of the golf cart is a good round.  I could play the game with a broom stick and a road apple now and still score as good.

You’ve got to look good to play the game halfway decent.  I have a pair of green canvas golf shoes and an oversized Reebok Sweatshirt, and a pair of wide shorts that end just below the knee.  Billy Brewski calls it my grunge look.  I may play to a thirteen, but I look like a three out there.

Shoes are more important than “top of the line” golf clubs.  Especially if you are just starting out in golf and walking a lot of holes.  You need to invest in a good pair of golf shoes if you are going to take the game seriously.  Cheap golf shoes have crippled more men than Madonna.  I first started to play the game of golf with a pair of shoes bought from Sears-Roebuck.  They were a putrid black and red check against a cream background.  I liked to have crippled myself before investing wisely in a pair of Foot-Joys.

Better yet, take an already broken-in pair of shoes to the cobbler and have them converted into a pair of golf shoes.  Say to the cobbler, “I’m giving these shoes to a friend, the lucky stiff.  He don’t know how lucky he is getting to play golf everyday while I’m at work.”  This may get you a price break from the cobbler. Now he may only charge you $17 instead of the $20 for the $9 job that he is doing on you and the golf shoes.  Also you won’t feel so bad when you throw the shoes away and swear off the game for good after shooting a light running 85.

To have a good time on the golf course it is imperative that you get to the course bright and early.  You can’t have much fun on the golf course at night, unless you are accompanied by a blonde and a blanket, and are waiting for a Drambuie front to move in.  Of course this kind of stroking and putting isn’t recognized by the USGA.

The first order of business when you arrive at the course is to order a Slo-Gin fizz.  This will steady your nerves and stop the churning of your stomach from the night before when you made the golfing date show up bright and early to have a good old-time.  It will also help relieve the pressure on your sternum so you can make at least a partial shoulder turn without tearing something loose deep inside of you.

Next move.  Find out who you made the golf date with the night before.  Greet everyone you meet with a big smile and a huge “Hi there.”  Soon you will see someone else with a puzzled look on his face, saying, “Hi there” to everyone he meets.  It’s 8 to 5  this is who you made the date with the night before.

Get on the first tee and follow tradition, lie about how you are playing.  Say “my handicap is a thirteen, but I’m playing to a nineteen.”  Then the other golfer will tell a couple of lies himself and the games are ready to begin.

Forget about playing even close to your regular game.  It’s the deal you make on the first tee that counts.  Keep the bets small, never more than a $2 nassau.  Then lose about $6 or $8 bucks maneuvering your opponent into the unenviable position of buying lunch.  On a good day you can come out ahead by $8 or $10 using this ploy.

Advice is always prevalent on a golf course.  The best I ever heard was when a guy came in after shooting about 150.  He asked the members of his foursome what he should give his caddy following the round.  “Your clubs,” was the answer he got.

So go on out on these unseemly warm days we are having.  Remember these few rules and you’ll have a good time.  And if that don’t work, say to heck with the USGA—-grab you a blonde and go at night.