Monday, September 03, 2007

Projectile Dysfunction

Among the things that we learned on our Golf Elderhostel at Penn State University were: (1) white asparagus, while it may look different from conventional green does not (to us) have a discernibly different taste, and (2) our shafts were too rigid.

Neither Mars nor I had ever tasted the colorless version of Asparagus officinalis - or even seen it. That same lack of familiarity was present in the five other Elderhostelers with whom we shared dinner that night. Nor did anyone know how it was that the tender young shoots lost their color, or if they ever had it. Some opined that it was a special breed. Others thought that it was probably deprived of light at critical stages of its upbringing.

A check of Google when we got home confirmed the latter explanation. It "is grown covered in mounds of sandy soil so that it never sees the light of day until the moment it is unmercifully hewn down. Green asparagus grows freely in flat beds, and, exposed to the sunlight, develops the chlorophyll that turns it green." ( In short, the ashen asparagus is the natural result of an unnatural growing process.

The stiff stick realization had occurred that morning on the driving range. Mars asked one of the Golf-Pro instructors, Mary, to watch her hit a ball with her driver in an effort to find out why that shot perpetually angled to the right. Since I also have the same problem with the same club, (only farther to the right and more consistently - like 110% of the time) I paid close attention as the coach made her analysis.

After a couple of swings, both of them to the right and both outwardly perfect, Mary took Mars' driver, placed the head on the ground with the shaft upright and tried to bend it. "There's nothing wrong with your swing. It's your club. It's not flexible enough. Even I couldn't hit it straight with that club."

A little while later she showed the club to Steve, another instructor, who concurred. I gave him my driver to check and he diagnosed that one also as afflicted with the same fatal flaw - Projectile Dysfunction. To prove it Mars and I were, for one round of golf, each equipped respectively with a "demo" set of "Lady's Flex" and "Senior Flex" shafted clubs. Although neither of our sets were the correct length for us, and we were totally unfamiliar with them we both hit the ball better and more consistently. Point made.

This condition is the result of clubs that were sold to us eight to ten years ago when our bodies had within them enough pliability to move the club-head into the proper position, at the proper speed, during "impact". Now, aging and other things being what they are, they don't. Unfortunately the clubs weren't intelligent enough to become more resilient as we became less so.

Not being gourmet cooks (or even eaters), or devotees of television cooking shows we knew nothing about white asparagus except that it existed. Being good New Englanders we made do with what we knew and had. Now that we are more aware of it we will probably try to incorporate it into our lives.

Likewise with golf equipment. We might have heard the words "Lady's/Senior Flex" but, not being interested in "gadgets" and not caring about having "the latest" equipment we instead dedicated ourselves to conquering the course with what we currently had in our bags.

Still our best shots at the Elderhostel came with our old clubs. Like the asparagus, outside intervention can pretty much always alter the outcome - but can improve it only if the plant (or animal) already knows what it is doing. In other words no matter how white it becomes, a carefully buried weed is still just a weed.

No comments: