Saturday, October 17, 2009

If I Were A Carpenter

If I had known that the ninth hole of the Goodwin Park North Course was going to be our last one of the year I would have stopped at the eighth. Whatever it is you are doing, you always want to end on a good note.

I scored par on that second to last green -- unusual for me, an above average golfer in the bad sense of the term. But it wasn't the number of strokes that made that hole worth stopping for. It was my second shot -- a one hundred and thirty yarder from a downhill lie in the short rough.

It stunned me. In fact it's been over a week since it happened and I am still trying to figure it out.

Here is what I have concluded. This year I've been working hard to make sure that all of my golf shots actually have a target. This may seem obvious but frequently in the past I would sort-of visually pick out a desired endpoint, then sort-of align my body to that goal, then hit the ball.

One reason was my impatience to just swing the club. But the principal cause was a feeling that, at my level of golfing ability, the target was a general area rather than a specific spot.

This whole approach also affected the way that I watched my golf shots. Normally I picked up the flight of the ball by briefly glancing at the mid-air spot at which I was trying to aim. Apparently I didn't expect to find it there because I immediately began scanning the surrounding ether in ever-increasing sweeps. Then I asked Mars where it went

This time I picked an actual target -- a maple tree behind the eighth hole. This time I envisioned the path to that tree. And this time, when I looked up, the ball was actually there, en route to the tree -- just the way I had planned it. And it continued on that aerial path until it landed on the green in exactly the spot I had hoped it would. This whole thing was a first for me.

As a twelve year old I watched my Uncle Al, a carpenter by trade, install a door that he had built into my parent's home.

I recall little if anything of the actual woodworking process. But I do clearly remember my uncle, cigarette in hand -- for a good thirty minutes -- simply sitting, smoking, and admiring his finished product. I have ever seen anyone happier or more proud.

But I didn't have either a chair, or a pack of Lucky Strikes in my golf bag. And Mars was now on the green, so it was my turn to putt.

We finished the hole and, following the protocol of the sport, I walked quickly to the ninth tee. Without thinking I picked out a very general target area and drove the ball to a spot within it -- barely

Maybe I should take up carpentry.

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