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Golf Humor: Dear PAR

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Dear PAR,
Recently I was playing my favorite course when one of our group hit a particularly ugly shot that could have put a lot of hurt on another player playing a different hole. It missed by a fraction but caused this guy to hit the deck. If someone hadn't yelled out FORE! In time it could have been bad. Normally this would cause unrestrained snickering among us but the person who was almost hit had such a hissy-fit that we had to hold back. My question is this: If the ball does not actually hit someone is it ok to bray like a donkey?
—Laughing In Longview

Dear Laughing,
My advice to you is to wait until you see the victim's reaction before you let loose with your hilarity. Sounds like this guy didn't think it was very funny. While you may be laughing with relief that no one got hurt, it could be mis-construed as a joke that came at their expense. Anyone who has ever been clobbered by an errant shot knows that it hurts like heck and you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy. Some dimples are considered cute but not the red, painful ones.

Dear PAR,
The other day my playing partner and I had a match with a twosome that we were paired with by the starter. We got beat real bad and ended up paying two complete strangers the money we had budgeted for lunch. They weren't THAT good. Why is it that every time we get paired with someone we don't know we try to play a game with which we are not familiar, i.e. swinging out of our shoes and missing short putts we would almost always make?
—Hungry in Houston

Dear Hungry,
Now let me get this straight – you put up your lunch money against two guys who turned out to be better players – or did you just fold like a cheap suit at the first sign of trouble? If , as you suggested, this is a regular occurrence you may want to slip the starter a few bucks to find you some hackers. Next time keep your eye on the guys tuning up on the range before you start so you have some idea of who you are dealing with in case they end up paired with you. If you can't do this and they come on you cold just make sure you have enough funds to lose without going hungry. Only guys like Trevino can get away with playing a $5. buck Nassau with $1. in their pocket.

Dear PAR,
My course at home has a par 5 with a lake on the left that I always seem to hit into off the tee. I hit a fade 99% of the time and on this hole I seem to always hit a duck hook. It makes me furious! I refuse to lay up short of the lake because I know I can get there in two with a good drive. Why is it that on this particular hole my ball is drawn to the hazard like steel to a magnet?
—Wet in Wisconsin

Dear Wet,
Well, it sounds like you are setting yourself up for failure right from the get go. You didn't specify that there might be trouble on the right as well so I will assume that there is some room in that direction. Everyone has certain holes that give them fits and it's the good player who knows how to deal with them. Next time you are faced with this situation ask yourself this question: Can I sacrifice some distance with the tee shot to make sure I don't go in the drink? If so, set up to hit the ball so far right that there is no chance of going into the hazard. If that is not an option close your eyes at impact and hope for the best.

Dear PAR,
I have a problem with lost balls. It seems like every time I hit one in the rough I end up having to drop with a penalty because I can't find the darn thing. It costs me an average of four strokes per round and is getting expensive. Most of my playing partners find their balls even if they are hit so far off-line as to be ridiculous. Is it just my bad luck or is there some other explanation?
—Lost in Louisiana

Dear Lost,
Luck doesn't have much to do with it. Some guys are able to find their balls just because they are so far off-line that no one is around to tell otherwise. In some circles this may be termed cheating but I would hesitate to accuse anyone of that. You might try to keep an eye on the line of flight instead of reacting with disgust and turning away from these errant shots. My advice is to not worry so much about lost balls – they will be returned to you in like-new condition on the first tee of Pearly Gates CC.

Dear PAR,
My handicap is 14 and I have been making some progress with improving it but in a tournament situation I can't even come close to playing to it. I know this is probably nerves but I don't feel THAT nervous when I tee it up. My friends tell me that I have a completely different swing under pressure but I feel like I am playing my usual game. I hit some good shots but end up with a high score due to some really big numbers, especially on the easier holes. What can I do to reverse this situation?
—Turned Off in Tournaments

Dear Turned Off,
This is a problem that has plagued golfers since Tom Morris was in diapers. It may be that you are putting so much pressure on yourself to perform that your normally decent swing develops glitches that only manifest themselves in tournament play. If it is any comfort you are not alone – even really good players experience this. Of course, it's possible that you will never overcome your nervousness and that you are doomed to this malady for life- sorry! If all else fails, work on RAISING your handicap- so high that even on your worst days you can play to it.

Dear PAR,
It seems that my foursome is always behind the worst players on the course. We end up waiting and waiting and waiting some more and it is driving us all crazy. Then the course marshal ends up telling US that we are out of position because we hang back to give these hackers room. There have been many occasions where we can't finish the round because we run out of daylight. These people don't seem to have a clue about what they are doing out there, endless practice swings, hitting another ball, parking carts all over the place, you name it. My group always tries to play ready golf- to heck with who is away- and is always aware of players behind us. Why is it that my friends and I are cursed with morons playing in the group ahead?
—Waiting In Williamsburg

Dear Waiting,
Ah, the age- old question of slow play. What causes it and what do you do about it? If I had the answer to that I could make a zillion bucks! I use the analogy of the person in the fast lane on the freeway that barely goes the speed limit and won't move over for anyone or anything. Why do they do this? Ego? Stubborness? Who the heck knows. All I know for sure is that these types of people have managed to take a great game and ruin it with their lack of courtesy to others – and a simple refusal to realize that there are other people out there besides themselves. My foursome used to employ the "fire a shot across their bows" method to get some attention but this is a dangerous approach and should only be used as a last resort. Too bad we can't just declare them "movable obstructions" and get on with our games.

Dear PAR,
The other day I was enjoying my usual mediocre round of golf with some friends when I found a $10. bill near the 8th green. I put it in my pocket and proceeded to the 9th tee with a smile on my face. I hadn't quite decided what to do about this new-found wealth, turn it in or use it to buy a round at the turn when lo and behold I looked down and there was a twenty! I do consider myself a lucky person but this was ridiculous! I half expected to see more bills floating around as I walked up the ninth fairway but that seemed to be the extent of it. I decided to up my bets at the turn since I was flush with extra cash but that's when things started to go wrong. Long story short, I lost what I had found and then some. To make matters worse some guy approached me in the parking lot later and asked if I had found some money. I ended up giving this person thirty dollars and ended the day pretty much in the hole. Should I have kept my mouth shut and kept the money or did I do the right thing?
—Lost It in Louisville

Dear Lost It,
I guess a lot depends on how you felt after you gave the money back. Did you feel good about it or did it just add to the lousy feeling you got after playing like a schlump and losing your bets? If it made you feel better after returning the money to its rightful owner then you have one answer. If you find out later that one of your playing partners set you up with a phony victim to fleece you of this thirty bucks then you have more than enough reason to feel bad about the whole thing. Either way you may have learned an important lesson about found funds – the best way to double your money is to fold it twice and put it in your pocket.

Dear PAR,
I have this annoying habit of losing clubs. Besides being expensive to replace when I can't find them it is really annoying to have to hold up my group by going back two or three holes to locate a wedge that I laid down by a green somewhere. I do this almost every time I play and it is embarrassing to say the least. The last time I mis-placed TWO clubs and one of them was my favorite 7-iron. Even when my playing partners ask me if I have all my clubs before teeing off on the next hole I still have this problem. It has become so bad that the lost and found barrel in the pro shop has my name on it! What can I do to remedy this unfortunate habit?
—Clubless In Seattle

Dear Clubless,
Mis-placing a club is one thing but doing it every time you play is a very sad situation indeed. It not only makes you the butt of many jokes but reflects a character flaw that probably shows up in other aspects of your life – not just on the course. Do you lose your car keys often? When you come out of the grocery store are half of your purchases still sitting on the counter? Assuming that you are wise enough (based on past experience) to have your name and address on each club you may want to try this: post a sticky note on your golf bag that asks this question: hey dummy! Have you got all your sticks?

Dear PAR,
Recently I was invited to play in a member guest event at a friends club. My partner and I were paired with another member and his guest and we teed off on a beautiful day of sunshine and blue skies. It wasn't long before I noticed that the other member was improving his lies and doing some things that were definitely against the rules, local or otherwise. My partner was either oblivious to this or was looking the other way and on a few occasions these "moves" cost us the hole. At the turn I had had enough and I brought this matter to the attention of my partner. He reacted in a way that took me by surprise by saying that he knew all along what was going on but was reluctant to say anything because this member just happened to be his boss. I suggested that we confront him immediately but my friend refused, saying in effect, that it was only a game and that he could be hurt by bringing accusations against this guy. So, not wanting to get my friend in trouble I shut up and as a consequence we ended up losing when we should have won easily. Should I have said something anyway and jeopardized my friend's job or was it wise to keep my mouth shut about the whole thing?
—Cheated In Chandler

Dear Cheated,
No one likes a cheater and in situations like this it is difficult to know the right thing to do. One of the things that make golf so great is that it is a self-regulated game and most people adhere to the rules. Unfortunately there are those who bend, or in some cases, break those rules and this type of behavior is reflected in their personal life as well. It should be enough for you to know that you play the game honestly and let the rub o the green fall where it may. Actually your friend was put in a more difficult situation than you were by knowing what was going on and not being able to do much about it. Had it been my boss I would probably have matched him move for move and made sure he lost anyway!

Dear PAR,
I have this friend that I play with occasionally that is a terrible golfer. He is a nice guy normally but he has this really annoying habit of giving me unsolicited swing advice every chance he gets. I routinely whip him by more than 20 shots every time we play but he just can't resist the urge to "instruct" me when I hit a shot that doesn't come off the way I want it to. If I do this it causes that and if I don't do this, blah, blah, blah. I often catch myself before I utter a profanity when I hit a bad shot because I know what is coming, good ol Bill is going to tell me exactly what went wrong. Without pointing out the obvious to him by saying, "what is a lousy golfer like you got to say that will have any bearing on MY game" what can I do to stop him without hurting his feelings?
—Sick Of Bill in Billings

Dear Sick of Bill,
Boy, this is a tough one. You must be a saint to put up with this. When I hit a bad shot I am usually mad at myself and it wouldn't take much of that type of "advice" for me to lose my cool completely. What is his reaction when he hits one of his lousy shots and you point out some on-course cure? Does he listen to you or just say he is having a bad day? Or maybe you are so put off by his un-asked for advice that you don't offer any of your own- not that it would help that kind of player anyway. I suggest you not worry about hurting his feelings because guys like this usually don't have any – they are such know-it-alls that anything you say will not have much of an effect anyway. Next time this happens just throw down your club and yell SHUT THE HELL UP.

Dear PAR,
I love to play golf but some of the guys in my regular foursome are a bunch of whiners and complainers. EVERY single shot that is not perfect (which are most of them) they start in on "what's wrong with me? – I NEVER play this bad, what am I doing WRONG?" That type of thing. It drives me crazy. When I hit a bad shot I bear down and try to hit the next one better. Also, I don't blame the greens for being bumpy, I don't blame the wind for being windy and I don't blame the superintendent for "unfair" pins. AND, I don't complain that somebody or something moved in my backswing. Is it just me or do other golfers experience this? It has gotten to the point where I don't want to play with these guys any more. Whining seems to be a congenital problem these days and nothing is anyone's fault. If I say something that contradicts their belief that something other than themselves CAUSED their bad shot it is met with a cool silence. I like these guys and off the course they are pretty normal. How do I cope with this?
—Whined Out in Washington

Dear Whined Out,
So, do you enjoy playing with a bunch of lawyers? Just kidding! If these people are friends it may be something that you just have to live with, and some people are just more comfortable thinking that outside influences are causing their bad shots. In my foursome we had this problem for a time but after we stopped reacting to the complaints they kind of just went away. Of course it may have had something to do with our shunning these kinds of guys for a game too. Nobody likes to listen to a whiner, especially on the golf course. Next time this happens, calmly sidle up to the offender and whisper, "could be worse, I hear tomorrow it's supposed to rain."

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