Many Christmases ago, Frank Costanza went to buy a doll for his son George. He reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As he rained blows upon him, he realized there had to be another way. And that is how the holiday Festivus was born. Now if you’ve never watched the show Seinfeld, I have totally lost you as you have no idea what I’m talking about. But I’m not sure I even want you as a reader if you’ve never seen a Seinfeld episode. I kid, all are welcome. Especially this time of year and especially for this topic. Some of the off-the-wall traditions that came with Festivus are the pole instead of a tree, and the feats of strength; which meant the strange holiday wasn’t over until the head of the household was pinned. But everyone’s favorite activity is the airing of grievances. You gather around the table and voice your complaints or tell everyone how they let you down and disappointed you over the past year. In this edition I’ll be airing my golf grievances, the things that annoy and bother me within the game that I love. I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me, and I’d love to hear yours as well.
Hitting out of a divot Of all the idiotic and unreasonable rules within the game of golf, not getting a free drop out of a divot in the fairway has to be the one I loathe the most. If anything should be labeled as “Ground Under Repair” shouldn’t it be a freshly cut divot from the group in front of you or perhaps the day before? I mean, it’s clearly under repair. It’s either been filled with sand, replaced, or not touched at all. And yet to reward you for your well struck tee-ball down the fairway, you get to hit from a half-assed spot of dirt, where an inch to the left or right is perfectly manicured fairway.
Having your name on your bag As a golf professional I have many golf bags with my name on them. When you sign on for a staff deal the manufacturers actually prefer it. Which is cool. I am proud of the work I’ve done within the game and the perks that come along with it. But I had a personal goal that I wouldn’t carry or use a bag with my name on it until I broke 70. This should be something everyone should instill with themselves. If you can’t break 80 and you have a giant staff bag with your name on it, and you place it on the back of the cart so your name shows for the world to see……..we are probably gonna throw hands. Nobody cares who you are if you just shot 93.
Iron covers This one goes hand-in-hand with the above grievance. Iron covers are the tackiest and dumbest golf accessory under God’s hot sun. What makes it even worse is if you use them on a gorgeous set of forged blades. I know, I know……bag chatter. Get lost. And not just because I hate them, but they can actually be harmful to your clubs. Iron covers can trap moisture and create surface rust on your iron heads. No bueno. Now I know I’m in the business of selling equipment and all things golf, but we’ll survive if we never sell another set of iron covers again. If I am playing with you and you leave one in the cart, I’m throwing it in the pond. And if you drop one, I’m not picking it up.
Johnny towel-clipper That metal clip ring that comes with a lot of golf towels, is for your bag not your belt loop! You look like an idiot and you’re embarrassing everyone. You’re not a mechanic, and if you are, you’re on the course not at the garage. Hang it on your bag, and if you bring it to the green, throw it on the ground like the rest of us!
Hitting in front of tee markers Ugh. It’s even in the rules of golf that you are required to tee off behind the markers, and in fact you have two club-lengths. I know that inch or two forward isn’t going to make a speck of difference in the overall outcome of your score. But it’s irritating and shows you have no self-awareness, or that you have the attention to detail of Helen Keller.
Only hitting driver on the range Sadly I’ve encountered this many, many times. A patron heads to the range with a bucket of balls and only their driver in tow. “I gotta get this driver straightened out” they mutter. Well beating just the driver for an hour won’t do it! Have a clear and simple game plan when practicing or working on something. Just like on the course, have a purpose. Start with a wedge and hit some pitch shots working your way up to 75 or 80 yards. Hit maybe 10 or so then go up to an 8 iron. Do this and work your way to your driver. Get in a good rhythm and feel crisp contact and see well struck shots. This gets your blood going and your confidence up. It also gets you loose and builds speed. If you just beat driver after driver you are going to develop a lot of bad timing habits and sequence woes. There are times where I may hit 5 or 6 drivers at the end of a range session, unless I’m working on something. You only hit your driver 10-14 times a round. You hit your irons on every hole. Now I’m not saying it’s not important, but if you can’t hit your 8 iron consistently, you definitely won’t be able to hit the big dawg!
Post round recaps, of every shot! Every grillroom in every clubhouse on league night sounds the exact same throughout the world. “On 1 I sliced my drive behind the pine tree and hit a gorgeous recovery just short of the green. On 2 I shanked my wedge off Darryl’s elbow and it ran up to about 14 feet from the pin. Of course I three putted that. On 5 I hit the best hybrid I’ve ever hit from about 230 out. And so on. Now imagine 50 guys all telling that same story, at the same time, just in different words. Maddening! Don’t get me wrong, if someone threatened the course record or made 6 birdies in a row, we all want to hear about it. We just don’t need to know how it happened. If a ufo landed in the middle of 14 fairway and E.T. got out and gave you a mulligan, we want to hear about that too. But other than that it’s all the same monotonous, repetitive commentary.
Woulda, shoulda, coulda After you get hit with the shot-by-shot recap of their entire round, now you’re gonna get hit with the ole’ “I should have shot 75 but I had 6 3-putts” or “I could have easily shot 80 today but I slept on my hand weird and I didn’t like the way my pants fit today.” There’s a difference in saying you could have shot 72 but you missed a 2-footer on the last hole and tapped in for 73. Golf is a game that will never be perfected and we always leave a shot or two out there. A 65 could always be a 64 or 63. But the golf gods taketh, and sometimes they giveth…….because thanks to a pretty awesome recovery shot on 12 or a chip-in on 9, you turned 82 into 80. Even if you birdie all 18 holes, you probably lipped out one for eagle.
PS If you are guilty of any of the above……brush it off, laugh at yourself, and please keep playing this wonderful game. Just do us a favor and stop it! All of it!
Merry Christmas, and I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday with the people you love. Festivus for the rest of us! Just don’t forget the feats of strength. Show grandma who’s boss.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Written by Seth Zipay, Head Golf Professional
Design and Published by Craig Walton