[This Commentary originally appeared in the May 10, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]
“Oh the weather outside is delightful!
and there’s nothing such as frightful!
as my tee shot…”
Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning – I am not a golfer. Sure, I play the links, but no more than four or five times a year. And don’t even ask me about my score. I stop counting after ten strokes – per hole. Heck, my aim in the game is what I call the low ball count – lose as few balls as possible.
As a kid, golf never fascinated me. The only club I swung had Willie Mays’ autograph and weighed 34 ounces. Golf seemed a remote game available only to people who lived in big houses. I always switched the channel when the TV had too much green on it.
Growing older opened my mind and on one hot Connecticut weekend, I found myself playing eighteen holes with the clubs of my friend’s mother. I had fun –and lost ten balls. All in all, the time was well worth it. I played another nine the very next day.
One of the more interesting aspects of golf lies in its unique vocabulary. As in any game, enthusiasts invent novel meanings to otherwise regular words. To help the novice’s out there, I’ve compiled a short glossary of golf terms. (To add to the confusion, I’ve neglected to put them in alphabetical order.)
Hole-In-One: An event just as rare as buying a winning lottery ticket. Getting one only counts if it’s witnessed by a Notary Public.
Golf Cart: The main reason why sixteen year olds play the game.
Sand Blaster: Something which is a lot of fun to practice but drives the groundskeeper crazy.
Golf Umbrella: An extra large raindrop shield created for two reasons. The first deals with protecting the golfer and his clubs.
Birdie: The feathered friend who leaves his mark on your newly washed car. Also, the second reason for the Golf Umbrella.
Woods (1): The densely packed forest fertilized by thousands of hooks and slices.
Woods (2): The long handled instruments commonly used to efficiently deliver balls into the above.
Irons: Metal sticks with numbers on them. The numbers mean something completely different to everyone. It’s rare to find a golfer with a complete set. They usually have only odds or evens.
Clubhouse: This is the place that has the old man behind the counter who always asks, “You want to rent clubs?” and makes you feel as welcome as a skunk in a perfume factory.
Shotgun Start: What the girl’s father does when he finds you two necking in the haystack.
Divot: Something you replace only if you didn’t make it in the first place.
Follow-Through: An impossible maneuver with that branch in your way.
Stance: The main impetus behind the recent increase in video camera sales.
Hook: A ballistic phenomenon most often caused by using the video camera to tape your niece’s birthday instead of reviewing your stance. Easiest way to fix: Overcompensate.
Water Hazard: The magic liquid that attracts your ball no matter how much you overcompensate your hook.
Fairway: A gentle grassy path I routinely avoid. (See “Hook.”)
Green: The color of my eyes. (Sorry, that’s all the relevance is has with me.)
Sand Trap: Perhaps the most enjoyable opportunity afforded by the game.
Slice: Opposite of “Hook.” So popular, they named a soft drink after it.
Bogie: A famous movie star.
Double Bogie: A famous movie star looking in a mirror.
T.O.A.D.: A whole lot of fun for a good cause. Put on by the Lima and Honeoye Falls Rotary Clubs at the Lima Country Club this Saturday. Registration starts at 7:30am and costs $40, including beverages, hot dogs at the turn and dinner.
[What is this and why is here? See Interested in Discovering My Time Machine? for more details.]