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A Duffer's Guide to Great Golf (Just Kidding)

It's summer and the thoughts of masochists turn to golf.


(SNN) - I recently had to give up the game when one of my ankles was found guilty of non-support. Anyone who had witnessed me tearing up sod believed golf was ready to surrender anyway. I’ve always stunk at golf.  These days, if someone asks me if I played golf, I respond: "I used to play a game similar to golf, only with more lurching about and travel."

Actually there's nothing similar to golf that normal humans voluntarily engage in.   Golf is not called “a good walk spoiled” for nothing. Golf is outrageously expensive these days. Golf is the third leading cause of cussing, trailing only political discussions and massaging your thumb with a ball-peen hammer.  And yes, dammit, I miss it.

But that would be no surprise to the fraternity of those addicted to golf.  This, however might shock them. Despite my lousiness on the Links, I once became a legitimate expert on golf—and I’ve got the papers to prove it.  

Here’s how that happened. Some years back, my friend, the writer Paul Dickson, was assembling what would become a hilarious and informative book called: “The Official Rules for Golfers.” Paul and I shot a round together while he was in the process of researching it.  It was an excellent round by my standards. Good company, nice weather, no one was killed, and I blasted a Mashie Niblick off a Buick to save a quadruple bogie.

At the Nineteenth hole after a couple of adult beverages, I scrawled out the Duffers' Laws of Golf on a napkin and passed it over to Dickson. Paul pocketed the list and I completely forgot about it until I saw it was in his book. I’d become the worst player in the history of the sport ever quoted in a book about golf.

Here's a couple of the Duffer's Laws of Golf:

"It Is a Myth That Playing an Old Ball Means You Will Carry the Lake." Duffers know if your ball is determined to get wet, it’s going to get wet, and no amount of psychological warfare on your behalf will change that sad result.

"Never Bring More Clubs with You Than You Can Afford to Break." Practical advice; the urge to wrap an offending mallet around the nearest Pine tree can be overwhelming.

Becoming an overnight golf guru helped me appreciate what a weird world we live in; one where one need not be even marginally competent to be considered an expert.  

If I’d been smart—no danger there—I might have entered politics or started giving out economic advice and done some real damage.  Quantum Physics? Why not?  A proposal to co-write“Cork ‘n’ Steve’s Laws of Physics” was returned along with a snippy note by Steven Hawking.

I opted to just be a god to hackers, people for whom the word “scratch” means something you do to an itch. But alas, my fifteen minutes of fame passed in about a minute-twenty.  My Duffer’s laws have been relegated to the scrap heat of golf advice for some years now. Then I realized sequels work in the movies, why not in Golf Gurudom? 

So here is Duffer II:  The Rules for Senior Duffers

  1. If It's Only a Club You Break, Consider Yourself Lucky.  A Senior Duffer’s primary goal is to get through the round without breaking a hip or having a kneecap pop out like a turkey thermometer.  A successful round means staying away from the emergency room.
  2. Before the Match Starts, Decide Whether Your Arms Go Under or Over Your Fat Gut.Overgutters wear their pants at nipple level. This keeps hands and arms above the tummy, which lets them knock their divot onto the fairway and their back out of alignment.  Undergutters sport shorts, knobby knees and a beltline canted forward like the sinking Titanic.  Undergutters rarely reach the lady’s tee with their drive, which is bad news for them but good news for the ladies.
  3. If You Can’t Shoot Your Age, Shoot Your Blood Pressure. If you're 70 years old and can break 70, good for you.  The only time I broke 70 was on the first three holes at Oakmont. But before I retired I sometimes broke 130 Systolic, even if I had to skip the back nine to do it.
  4. Short Term Memory Loss Can Save You Several Strokes a Round. No one expects you to remember all your shots. This is the best way to lower your score without actually cheating.  
  5. Diminished Eyesight is an Act of God. God isn't assessed a penalty stroke for a lost ball, and neither should you be. If you can't find your ball within a few minutes, bellow: "I would have found it before I blew out my retinas!" Then place a new Titleist on a tuft and play on without penalty.
  6. If Your Opponent Asks For an Extra Stroke a Side, Make Him Define the Word “Stroke.” If he means he wins if he suffers a stroke during play, don’t bet against him.
  7. Carry a Note From Your Doctor Listing Your Afflictions. This gives you a big advantage setting up bets and may prove useful if you violate Senior Duffer Law Number One.
  8. Short Term Memory Loss Can Save You Several Strokes a Round. No one expects you to remember all your shots. This is the best way to lower your score without actually cheating.
  9. Instead Of Yelling “Fore” Shout “I’m Eighty-FORE And I’m Not Wearing Pants!”Don’t actually take off your shorts, sport, it spoils the scenery. 
  10. If You Can’t Play Anymore but Miss the Camaraderie, Meet Your Pals at the 19thHole. Have a few pops and listen to their sad tales of woe.  If that doesn’t ease your pain, take up bowling.

John "Cork" Corcoran. Visit Cork's websites here and here. Connect with: "John Pesky Corcoran" on Facebook and "@OldCootCork" on Twitter


Unaltered Photo: Some Rights Reserved by miheco flickr photostream, The Sage nor this article endorsed. The original image can be found here.

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