Can Tiger Woods Make Golf His Game Again?

jrwhiterabbitContributor IApril 7, 2010

Have you ever wanted to do something so bad and even though you try it just simply evades you?

I think golf looks like one of the most peaceful, relaxing, complete things you could possibly partake in. However, that's not true when I play it. In fact, it is very stressful. 

Maybe I could introduce my game to Tiger Woods, since he is trying to approach the game at a different level. Here is an angle which definitely takes golf to a different level.

I have the highest respect for the sport and the people who can make it seem so graceful and effortless. (Which by the way are two phrases you will never use to describe my game.) I figured it would kind of fit due to the Masters being played right now in Augusta, Georgia.

"Put your eyes on Bobby Jones... Look at his practice swing, almost like he's searchin for something... Then he finds it... Watch how he settle his self right into the middle of it, feel that focus... He got a lot of shots he could choose from... Duffs and tops and skulls, there's only ONE shot that's in perfect harmony with the field... One shot that's his, authentic shot, and that shot is gonna choose him... There's a perfect shot out there tryin' to find each and every one of us... All we got to do is get ourselves out of its way, to let it choose us... Can't see that flag as some dragon you got to slay... You got to look with soft eyes... See the place where the tides and the seasons and the turnin' of the Earth, all come together... where everything that is, becomes one... You got to seek that place with your soul Junuh... Seek it with your hands don't think about it... Feel it... Your hands is wiser than your head ever gonna be... Now I can't take you there Junuh... Just hopes I can help you find a way... Just you... that ball... that flag... and all you are..."

I decided I would take the liberty before posting this story to get the definition of what golf is. On Saturday my best friend, who happens to be a guy and who happens to be quite good at golf, was in town and wanted to hang out. (Next time remind me not to say "I don't care, we can do whatever you want to do." So, he suggested golf and I said "GREAT.")

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First things first, right? I had to go buy a new outfit, and it was rather hot if you ask me. I bought a little white skirt, a light blue "golf shirt," and saddle oxford looking brown and linen "golf shoes.”  It was important to me that I at least appeared the part.  I also knew that I needed to look “cute” so my friend would not be embarrassed, especially since my friend did not want me to play through. Men have little patience on the golf course and that always amazed me because I hear often “golf is a patient game.” How is that for ironic?

Anyway, I was dressed for the event with my golf focus on (I even bought a book at the book store the night before to brush up on my golf etiquette). In college I took golf for a year for my one of my required PE classes en route to my finance degree.  I never played my holes, instead I always grabbed my big brother fraternity guy and brought him with me to play my round. I was the driver of the cart—it's amazing what those carts will do.  

So we were off to the golf course and the day was quite the experience—at least for him. I was sure what I did on Saturday was not golf, but we had a good laugh—though honestly I think that will be the last time "we" go to the golf course. You can bet that I figured out quickly to never say "I don't care, we can do whatever you want to do" again.

But nevertheless, I was on a course that was called a golf course, utilizing someone’s sense of humor about getting a small ball in a smaller hole, and thinking the whole time that there has to be more than this. They should have beginner courses with holes the as big as the ponds they have on the course. I am relatively certain that those water holes had magnetic bottoms because my ball did not go there on its own course.

So seriously, let’s theorize this. It may be that we need to alter the definition of golf.

According to Wikipedia it states the definition of golf is:

"Golf is a sport in which a player, using many types of clubs including a driver, a putter, and irons, hits a ball into each hole on a golf course in the lowest possible number of strokes. Golf is one of the few ball games that do not use a standardized playing area; rather, the game is played on golf "courses", each one of which has a unique design and typically consists of either 9 or 18 holes. Golf is defined in the Rules of Golf as "playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules"

And this convinced me I was right—and you won't see me on the next Nike commercial swinging a golf club saying "just do it." However, let’s examine this sport they call golf. At first we will stick to what Wikipedia says I should have experienced while I was exercising my ability to—well we will get to that later.

Right off Wikipedia has it wrong about golf being a sport in which a player, using many types of clubs, hits a ball in to a hole with the lowest possible strokes.

My experience tells me that my biggest handicap is ball contact. It seems the only club that I can use to make contact with the ball is the one driver.  I use the one driver from the sand trap, the water hazard, from the tee, on the green, and everywhere else in between.  I surmise that the reason I can hit the ball with the one is the larger head.

Once I adjusted my swing to accommodate the distance factor it was possible to make a pretty good shot using a one driver, even from the green. I think the first time I used it from the green I overshot the hole by at least by at least 60 yards.  Of course, into the water again, where else is there?  

Before We Go Any Further I Must Give You a Little Background.  

Backing up just a bit I must tell you that I don't own any clubs. Surprise, I know. But I bought me a one driver the night before at the rehab sports shop. A valuable piece of information was left out when I was buying golf clubs and that was that you needed to know if you were left or right handed. However, in my defense I am ambidextrous in all other sports, and that piece of information probably would not have weighed in on my decision.

However, might I add I learned something about my unique sports talent—I am not ambidextrous in golf.  My friend said that we will rent me some clubs when we get there. That is when I expressed to him my need for just one club. He said that I can't just rent one club. I said, well sure I can. It’s very simple, you divide the number of clubs by the rental price and it will give you a value that each club is worth. Very easy indeed. That is what we will pay.

He argued with me that I have to get the whole set and reminded me once more that no one plays with one club. Seeing that I was getting frustrated at the thought of wasting the money on renting clubs, (of course, wasting money was not on my mind when I bought the wrong club and $300 for clothes to look "cute”) he said "let’s just see what they have." That satisfied me.

When we arrived at the pro shot he tried to sneak off and do this without me around. HA, I caught him in the nick of time. So, immediately he started shaking his head and getting this grin (apparently he already told the shop owner my dilemma) I started negotiating my price and cause. To my surprise it was easy. He let me use a one driver and I saved us all that money. I thanked the man got my one driver and headed out the door. Now it was time to get our cart.  I wanted the white cart and we got the green. The white one matched my skirt. Nothing I had on matched the green car. Never the less we begin our journey. Now that you have the background lets go back to where I left off at the beginning.

My friend wanted to play 18 holes; I told him that I thought nine holes would be pushing it. He insisted so I said ok. I want you to know, as luck would have it, there was no one behind us and we did not play through the holes. This is my normal way of playing due to my talent.  It goes something like this—I hit, I miss, and we walk.

My friend is a perfectionist and an avid golf lover that goes much deeper than playing. He loves the game, so the thought of playing through the holes was not an option. Hell no, he is going to make me do this right. I am quite sure that my strokes were on average 20 per hole, and that was from the ladies tee. Well they should not put the damn things so far out.  After about the fourth hole I began to see that I was not cut out for this and asked him to help me.

Finally, about halfway through the game he told me that I looked tired.

I looked at him and said "Let me tell you something, you have brought me out here and I have swung this golf club at least 250 more times than you. You will not let me drive, and you're making me try to use those screwed up clubs before you give me back my one driver, and you will not let me play through, you would be too. I have at least played enough energy for eight rounds of 18 holes."

He laughed at me as if he was amused and as if I was some sort of entertainment.  So, needless to say, he was not impressed with my effort to defend myself, and we continued.

The next part of Wiki's idea definition of golf states:

"Golf is defined in the Rules of Golf as 'playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.'"

It makes you wonder, what in the heck were they thinking?  Who in their right mind would have wanted to take a little ball and hit it into a pill bottle that you cannot see, surrounded by water, on an island of sand?

Here is where I learned an important piece of golf education. ALL BALLS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL.  Did you know that the dimples on the ball serve a purpose? That amazed me. I thought it was for looks but apparently a good golf ball is as important as the clubs.

It gets more complicated here because which type, weight, and density can vary among which course and conditions you are in. It is not just a golf ball. I began to ponder this and decided my best defense was just presented to me; I was feeling relatively sure why I was doing badly: it was the balls fault.

I forgot to mention to you at the beginning that I bought some golf balls before I went—it just did not seem like an important part of the story. But this is where my education in golf pays off, I now understand that the pretty balls in the brightly colored box may not be the best ball choice. The reason I bought these balls in the first place was simple: the brightly colored balls would make locating easier.  After all, I do manage to land it in some of the most amazing places—and since locating tends to be what I am doing most of the time, it just made sense.

Also note that I looked for some that had flotation devices built inside of them.  You would think that surely you could find a golf ball that would double as a buoy, but nope, that is not an option. I have decided, during one of my ADD moments, that I am going to invent and patent the buoy ball. Quite a catchy name, don’t you think? So you will hear more about that later.

Finally, finally, finally we are done. This man has more patience than anyone I have ever seen in my life. It took us nine-and-a-half hours to play 18 holes of golf. I managed to talk him into letting me play through the last five holes,  otherwise we would still be there.

However, I give you this story as I laugh at myself. It still does not negate the fact that I would really love to be able to play the game. The quote at the top of the page is how I imagine the game to be.

“... Just you... that ball... that flag... and all you are..."

So many times those dragons we sleigh are those we harbor. It has to be an amazing feeling to be able to lose yourself in something and let it lead you. That's the look you see on people’s face, and notice in their body expressions, as they are on the course. It’s as if you hand your thoughts to the gatekeeper and allow your entire mind, body, and soul to connect. That one perfect swing that chooses us.

I thought since the Masters was this week in Augusta, Georgia it would be fitting to offer this here. Who knows maybe Tiger Woods will read this and bring a new light to his game?  At the very least he can get back to loving the game for the game and allow everything about that connection to help him through his situation. If there were ever a sport that could help one get back in connection with all there is, it would be golf. Maybe he can forget golf as his job and remember how much he actually loves and respects the game.

Remember: ”golf is a game to be played….not won”

Golf may not be the game for everyone, but everyone can certainly respect the parallel of the golf game to life.