Golf made easy
March 31, 2002
Craig Ziemba is a pilot who lives in Meridian.
Springtime means golf. I don't really consider myself to be a golfer since I only play a couple of times a year. People who play with me are surprised to hear that. They think I've never golfed.
Frankly, golf is too expensive to play very often. No, I'm not talking about the green fees; I'm talking about all the balls.
However, since Meridian may end up with a new public course in the Bonita Lakes area, I humbly offer here some helpful hints for the beginning golfer.
I've developed a different method of scorekeeping that greatly enhances my self-esteem and enjoyment of the game. Par means that I end the hole with the same number of balls with which I began. If I lose my drive off the tee into the woods, but find two more balls while hunting for the original, then I am one under par for that hole. If I hit three straight drives into the water, but find two balls in the shallows, then I'm one over.
Usually, a wicked slice actually improves my score by giving me the opportunity to scour virtually untouched expanses of woodlands. Sometimes, I get so excited that I'll shout "four!" for luck on a particularly bad drive in hopes of ending the hole three under par. That type of showmanship is generally frowned upon in staid, upper crust golf communities but would probably be acceptable on our public course.
Consideration for those playing behind you and meticulous observance of golf etiquette shows that you have class and helps plug you into the social pipeline. That's why rather than wasting everyone's time, if the putt is a gimme (less than 30 feet), I'll just pick up the ball and call it a stroke.
In addition to creating a bottleneck at the green, putting is highly overrated and can ruin your score, anyway.
I never really fit into the country club/golf scene before. I'm not sure if it was the rental clubs or my blue jeans and tank top. Face it: traditional golfing attire is completely unsuitable for the sport. The dress pants, polo shirts, and golf shoes worn by Tiger Woods certainly wouldn't survive the terrain I routinely encounter on the back nine.
I recommend L.L. Bean boots and snake chaps.
Young players should avoid the temptation of carrying too many clubs. All you really need is a driver, an iron and a putter. I reserve the rest of the space in my bag for a weed eater, a snakebite kit, and T.P. for those extra long walks in the woods.
The beginner might as well forget buying fancy golf carts as well. You're not going to fool anyone, and you'll need a four-wheeler (mine has a "Play Through" bumper sticker) to cross creeks and plow through thickets while hunting for your ball. Plus, you'll have a lot of fun tearing around the sand traps.
Hunters and fishermen will be glad to know that most of their gear can serve a dual purpose on the golf course and help maximize the return on your sporting dollar. You can usually hold a couple of dozen range balls in the pockets of your duck hunting pants, and crappie nets are ideal for scooping balls out of the water hazards.
Speaking of water hazards, if you are fortunate enough to have a well-trained retriever, bring him along. It'll be necessary to strap a dog box on the back of your ATV, but the money you will save in golf balls will be worth the inconvenience.
Good camouflage clothing is essential when you need to become invisible, like when your drive zings through the parking lot, or when the golf pro wants to talk to you about using range balls on the golf course or driving four wheelers in the sand traps, blah, blah, blah.