(SNN) It’s Spring and the thoughts of masochists turn to golf.
When people ask me if I play golf, I respond: "I play a game similar to golf, only with more lurching about and travel." Actually there's nothing similar to golf that doesn’t come with a warning label.
My friend the author Paul Dickson put together a hilarious and informative book some years back called: “The Official Rules for Golfers.” I’m quoted in it, making me the worst player ever quoted in a book about golf.
The saga began when Dickson and I shot a round together. Good round by my standards. No one was killed and I blasted a shanked nine iron off a Buick to save my sextuple bogie on eighteen.
On the nineteenth hole, after several libations, and at his request I scrawled out a half dozen or so Duffers' Laws of Golf and gave them to Dickson. Paul pocketed the list and I completely forgot about it until I saw them in his book.
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." That means quite simply that if your ball is gonna kerplook, your ball is gonna kerplook, and no amount of psychological warfare will change the result.
"Never carry more clubs than you can afford to break." Practical advice, especially with the cost of golf clubs what they are now.
The experience made me realize, like politicians and financial advisors, one need not be even marginally competent to hand out advice. I thus accepted my newfangled status as a golf guru to those unfortunate hackers to whom the word “scratch” means something you do to an itch.
But since those laws were written many bogies ago, I figured they’re in need of updating. As a senior duffer, I realize we also need golfing laws of our own. So here, without further ado, are Cork's Duffers' Laws for Senior Golfers.
1. Before the match starts, decide whether your arms go under or over your stomach. Undergutting shortens the backswing and prevents follow-through without adversely affecting your slice. Undergutting also allows the practitioner to wear the more traditional belt and slack combo without risking a hernia.
Overgutters need room for their arms to swing freely above the paunchline. They favor beltless pants canted forward like the deck of the Titanic two hours after the iceberg. They shout "I'm wearing the same pants I wore in high school," before knocking their divot onto the fairway and their back out of alignment.
2. If it's only a club you break, consider yourself lucky. Any golfer above sixty faces the possibility of breaking a hip or seeing a kneecap pop out like a turkey thermometer. Live with it.
3. Until you can shoot your age, try shooting your blood pressure. If you're 85 years old and can break 85, good for you. The last time I shot that was on the third hole at Oakmont. But if my blood pressure is 130, I can usually beat it, especially if I skip the back nine.
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 in a reasonable time--say ten seconds--just shout: "I'da found it before my retinas blew out." Then place a new Titleist on a tuft and play on without penalty.
6. If your opponent wants a stroke per round, clarify if he means a "swing.” He may think he wins if he suffers a stroke during play, and that could lead to unpleasantness with his family or at his Estate sale.
7. Short term memory loss can save you several strokes a side. No one expects you to remember all your shots. This is the best way to lower your score without actually cheating.
There may be another rule or two, but I've got an early tee time and I’ve got to practice apologizing to my playing partners.
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