Golf Digress

Physically cultured commentary on Sport and Wellness

That’s Golf! Jan. 26, 2014

Will any of these gentlemen be wearing Vibram Five-Fingers with "abrasion-resistant Coconut active carbon?" I doubt it.

Will any of these gentlemen be wearing Vibram Five-Fingers with “abrasion-resistant Coconut active carbon?” I doubt it.

IT BEGAN AS A RUMOR. I DIDN’T BELIEVE IT AT FIRST, BUT I SHOULD KNOW BETTER. SOME MAY SEE IT AS YET ANOTHER SIGN OF THE ADVANCING APOCALYPSE. I DON’T KNOW. I’LL LEAVE THAT TO YOU.

YOU KNOW THOSE TOE-SHOES YOU SEE SOMETIMES ON RUNNERS? GET THIS: THEY’RE BEING ADAPTED TO GOLF, AND POSSIBLY COMING TO A GOLF COURSE NEAR YOU. I KID YOU NOT. GOLF TOE SHOES.

THIS FROM THE PRESS RELEASE: QUOTE:

“Built for the everyday wearer the Speed XC Lite helps keep it light and airy while continuing to give you traction when needed.”  A WHOLE LINE OF TOE-WIGGLY GOLF SHOES.

BE AFRAID. BE VERY AFRAID.

THE GREAT THING IS THAT SOME KNUCKLEHEAD COMPETITOR IS GOING TO WEAR THEM INSIDE THE GATES AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL DURING THE MASTERS. AND THE LATE CLIFFORD ROBERTS IS GOING TO RISE UP FROM HIS GRAVE TO ATTACK THE TOE-WIGGLING, FLORESCENT-WEARING FASHIONISTAS.

VIBRAM FIVE-FINGERS: “abrasion-resistant Coconut Active Carbon in the upper for natural breathability, 4mm EVA in the midsole for plating protection, and a lightly cleated Vibram® performance rubber outsole for extra traction on a variety of terrain.”

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

OH. DEAR.

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING DOWN! WITH NO FIST-PUMPS, ARM RAISING OR CHEST THUMPING. THE SHOW THAT’S NEVER BEEN FLAGGED FOR TAUNTING, IT’S THAT’S GOLF!

WE CALL THIS MEETING OF THE FAT SHOT AND OH NO SOCIETY TO ORDER. LET ME EXPLAIN. I KNOW IT’S EARLY. THE ENDEAVOR IS TO ENHANCE OUR COLLECTIVE APPRECIATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE GAME BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE SAME PEOPLE WHO GAVE US BAG PIPES… A PLEASANT GAME PLAYED IN PLEASANT PLACES, MOSTLY BY PLEASANT PEOPLE.

ONE REASON FOR ITS UNIVERSAL APPEAL: “GOLF,” WROTE HENRY LONGHURST, “IS IN ESSENCE THE SAME ALL OVER THE WORLD, HOWEVER MUCH COURSES AND SCENERY MAY DIFFER. THE GOLFER WHO MISSES A FOUR-FOOT PUTT AT ST. ANDREWS FEELS EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE MAN WHO DOES IT IN JAPAN OR NEW ZEALAND OR HAWAII.”

GOOD MORNING. YOUR GOLF AP, WRITER-FOR-HIRE AND BIKINI POKER DEALER BACK AGAIN WITH A VICARIOUS WELCOME. WE’RE LIVE, DEEP INSIDE THE SHAG-ENCRUSTED CONFINES.

TOPICS WE WON’T BE COVERING THIS MORNING: NICK SABAN, PLASTIC SURGERY HORROR STORIES, LATRELL SPREWELL, THE SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH AMENDMENTS, OR MR. MOSELY. WE WILL, HOWEVER, BRING YOU INSTRUCTION TIPS AND SAGE ADVICE AT GOLF WRITER PRICES.

ONE ASPECT OF MODERN GOLF, THE GOLF CAR CONTINUES TO EVOLVE. YOU’VE GOT YOUR DUESENBERG FRONT, ALL MANNER OF INNOVATIONS. I WOULDN’T BE SURPRISED IF AIR BAGS ARE NEXT. SOME HAVE HEADLIGHTS AND USB PORTS. LATER I’LL TELL YOU ABOUT ONE MODELED ON A SURFBOARD. YOU LITERALLY CRUISE YOUR WAY AROUND. IT GOT A RARE ‘BEST IN SHOW’ AWARD THIS WEEK, SO IT’S NOT A SPOOF. REGARDING CONVENTIONAL CARS, HERE’S JUST A SAMPLING… A NEW MODEL FROM CLUB CAR, A LEADING MANUFACTURER: QUOTE:

The newest Precedent model comes standard with a 10.1-inch screen mounted in the car, enabling golfers to receive information such as weather alerts and other messages from the golf shop.  As part of the standard offering, courses will have access to information regarding the status of their cars’ batteries and service notifications. They also can pre-set messages to send to golf cars entering restricted areas. The 20-14 Precedent features a new, advanced electrical charging system. The system boasts an efficiency rating of 91 percent along with reliable sealed housing, intelligent charge monitoring and a USB connection that enables two-way data transfer about battery status and system updates.

DOES THAT HONESTLY ADVANCE THE GAME?? REALLY?

BOTH OF YOU MAY RECALL THAT I HARBOR STRONG OPINIONS ON THE SUBJECT OF GOLF CARS. I’M NOT HERE TO ARGUE. I CONCEDE THE BATTLE HAS BEEN LOST. THEY BLOT THE LANDSCAPE. WHICH BRINGS US TO OUR INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE FOR THIS BRIGHT SUNDAY MORNING.

A PRESENTATION OF SPORTSTALK AM 1300 THE ZONE AND YOUR AUSTIN AREA CHURCH OF THE INVETERATE DUFFER, WE TURN TO A MUCH MORE RATIONAL VIEW OF THE “BUGGY.” THIS ALSO FROM HENRY LONGHURST AND HIS 1966 BOOK, ‘TALKING ABOUT GOLF.’

THE GREAT BRITISH OBSERVER AND BROADCASTER WROTE: “I THINK AMERICAN GOLFERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO LOSE THE USE OF THEIR LEGS THAN WE ARE, OR AT ANY RATE TO LOSE THEM FIRST. IT IS AN ABSOLUTE FACT THAT GREAT NUMBERS OF THEM HAVE ALREADY LOST THE USE OF THEIR LEGS AS FAR AS GOLF IS CONCERNED AND WOULD NO MORE WALK ROUND A COURSE THAN FLY.

“IN THE EARLY DAYS IT WAS THE CUSTOM OF THE GENTLEMAN GOLFER TO HAVE A CADDIE. THE CADDIES SEEM TO HAVE VARIED FROM BOTTLE-NOSED OLD CHARACTERS OF UNCERTAIN TEMPER – PARTICULARLY, I THINK IT MAY BE SUGGESTED WITHOUT OFFENCE, IN SCOTLAND – TO EAGER LITTLE BOYS AT SIXPENCE A ROUND, LIKE J.H. TAYLOR 80 YEARS AGO.

MANY OF THESE GOLFERS WOULD NOT THINK OF PLAYING WITHOUT A CADDIE. THEY WOULD RATHER NOT PLAY AT ALL. AS GOLF BAGS AND SETS OF CLUBS GOT BIGGER AND BIGGER AND CADDIES GOT FEWER AND FEWER AND MORE AND MORE EXPENSIVE, GOLFERS WHO WERE EITHER UNWILLING OR IN SO MANY CASES UNABLE, TO LUG AROUND THIS VAST MASS OF MAINLY UNNECESSARY EQUIPMENT WERE FACED WITH TWO CHOICES. THEY COULD EITHER LIMIT THEMSELVES IN THE NUMBER OF CLUBS THEY WERE CAPABLE OF USING – ANYTHING FROM FIVE TO TEN – AND CARRY THEM ROUND IN A DRAINPIPE BAG, OR HAUL THEM ROUND ON A SPECIAL PERAMBULATOR.

“FOR MYSELF,” HE CONTINUES, “I HAVE CHOSEN THE FORMER CHOICE. I CARRY NINE CLUBS AND AM IN THE PROCESS OF DESIGNING FOR THEM WHAT I HOPE WILL PROVE TO BE THE PERFECT DRAINPIPE CONTAINER. FRANKLY I NEVER THOUGHT TO SEE THE TROLLEY ‘CATCH ON’ BUT IT CERTAINLY HAS DONE AND I DO NOT LOOK DOWN MY NOSE AT THIS FORM OF TRANSPORT THOUGH NOTHING WOULD INDUCE ME TO USE IT MYSELF – QUITE APART FROM ITS TENDENCY TO SLOW DOWN A ROUND OF GOLF BY ANYTHING FROM TWENTY MINUTES TO HALF AN HOUR.

“I ADHERE TO MY ORIGINAL BELIEF THAT IT IS REALLY RATHER RIDICULOUS FOR ANY YOUNGISH ABLE-BODIED MAN TO PLAY GOLF FOR FRESH AIR AND EXERCISE AND THEN DELIBERATELY DO AWAY WITH THE EXERCISE BY RIDING ROUND THE COURSE IN A BUGGY. IN THE PAST MONTH, HOWEVER, I HAVE COME VERY MUCH ROUND TO THE POINT OF VIEW THAT THESE LITTLE CARTS MAY PROVE A REAL BLESSING TO ALL MANNER OF PEOPLE.”

HENRY LONGHURST, FROM TALKING ON GOLF.”

I THINK HE WAS 57 WHEN HE WROTE THOSE WORDS.

 

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Magical thinking about the belly fat putter

What? No precision milled specs?

What? No precision milled specs?

How dire are golf’s fortunes? So bad that Donald Trump has been enlisted. The litigious and bankruptcy-happy megalomaniac mogul, noted for bullying rural Scots and for his devotion to conspiracy theories and failed presidential aspirations, is the absolute last persongolf needs. To those struggling for answers, The Donald must seem like a ray of sunshine. The most recent bad news: 2013 marked the eighth year in a row where course closings outpaced course openings. It wasn’t even close: 14 openings to 157 closings, a rout.

The Donald appeared as part of the PGA of America's "Forecast Appears Brighter" panel.

The Donald appeared as part of the PGA of America’s “Forecast Appears Brighter” panel.

An everyman of the people like The Donald would naturally be sympathetic to the plight of public golfers. The National Golf Foundation also noted that 66 percent of the closings were those charging $40 green fees or less – the bottom end of the public golf pyramid. As with those at the economy’s upper end, private golf bastions at the game’s pinnacle, the Oakmonts, Baltusrols, Olympic Clubs, Champions, etc. will ride out the rough seas. It’s the bottom end that bears and will continue to bear the brunt of golf’s malaise.

One notable deck chair on golf’s Titanic is the continuing debate over the fate of the belly or anchored putter. PGA president Ted Bishop renewed calls last week for the repeal of a proposed ban on the club that Adam Scott deployed most notably in winning last year’s Masters. Let’s review:

As our mission is to grow the game, on behalf of our 27,000 men and women PGA Professionals, we are asking the USGA to seriously consider the impact this proposed ban may have on people’s enjoyment of the game and the overall growth of the game.

Would someone please trot out the golfer who has quit golf because he was denied the use of a club deemed non-conforming? There isn’t one. Not a soul, certainly not enough to statistically reverse golf’s declining fortunes. And will these tormented, distressed and aggrieved golfers, those denied the enjoyment to which President Bishop refers, be entitled to redress for “pain and suffering?”

No one “needs” the belly putter to enjoy golf. And no one under the age of, say, 84-and-a-half should be allowed to use it. I once shared a round with a man on a lovely city course in Portland who putted croquet style. He’d taken lessons from one of the style’s last proponents, Bob Duden.

“I thought that was illegal,” I said to him. “Who cares?” was his entirely proper response. He was not competing, nor establishing a handicap, nor playing the game by the game’s established rules. He played for his own amusement and recreation, and showed no outward signs of anarchy or revolutionary spirit. Might we add that with respect to any club wielded by those paying a green fee, or, in this case, the belly fat putter, no official ban will deny anyone its use. Sadly, for the aggrieved, if you choose to play by the rules you will have to do so.

Obviously, there is no shortage of putter options. Choice is hardly an issue. Garages are filled with putters that were once thought to be imbued with magical qualities. Room will soon be made for the belly fat putter once its time has passed. The proposed ban has absolutely nothing to do with ‘growing the game’ and nothing to do with making golf “fun,” the latter a perplexing way of describing golf that would surely have confused its early proponents.

But, if indeed golf is to be “fun,” whatever that means, looking to the future I would suggest two words: miniature golf. Can we agree that children enjoy mini golf? Have you ever heard a child complain that his putter was not milled, face-balanced or properly fitted? That the game was less enjoyable because his putter contained no thermoplastic elastomers or heel and toe circular sole weights?

If children can enjoy diverting themselves with the most modest equipment, the argument that golf is not “fun” without a club that the USGA, the game’s steward, finds inconsistent with golf’s spirit and standards falls apart. Denying the use of the belly putter has nothing to do with anything other than magical thinking and profit.

The way to improve golf, to help it grow, is simply to make those new to it welcome. This continues to be a major failing, neatly described in what has been described as the “intimidation factor.” New golfers must be taught how to swing and chip and putt. More importantly, they need to be shown the courtesies, responsibilities and traditions that have made golf a social activity for centuries. The emphasis on making golf easier or more fun is, to my way of thinking, misplaced. The only way for golfers to find their way and their place in the game is to understand what is expected of them. Only then can the delights of the game be revealed. The equipment is incidental.

Rather than enlist Donald Trump, the PGA and others concerned would do far better than to listen to one of their own. Jack Burke, the celebrated Masters and PGA Champion, a Ryder Cup captain, and the son of Texas’s first golf pro, has long advocated on behalf of the amateur golfer.

He wrote that good players inspire others, particularly the young. “They add immeasurably to the atmosphere,” he writes in ‘It’s Only a Game.’ “Usually the top players are aware of their standing and live up to it in the way they dress, their behavior, their modesty, and their good sportsmanship. They set a positive tone for everyone.”

Something else that should be digested by all those bleating about any perceived injustice regarding the belly fat putter: “A good putter can putt with anything.”

“The sky is the limit. Really.”

quill penFrom Actual Craigslist Writing/Editing ads:

F.A.Q.

“Does it pay?”

– No, But there is potential down the line. That being said, you are getting in on the ground floor by joining now. The sky is the limit.”

TRANSLATION: Potential? Check. Ground floor? Check. Only limited by the sky? Check. Cliches? Check. No pay? Check and mate.

And this:

“Value to you: Being a part of something amazing from its launch/inception through its international growth. As we grow, your opportunities and recognition will grow.”

TRANSLATION: Value? Who said anything about value? There is no value. Plenty of “potential.” And “international growth.” And, “as we grow:” recognition. Amazing. And don’t forget “opportunities.” But value? No, no value.

And this:

“In the beginning I won’t have the ability to pay you for your writing, however if we work well together I promise that this will become a paying gig within as short a timeframe as I can manage. I do value your time and your talent. I will also try and become a helpful resource for you for finding other paying writing jobs, as you can use me as your reference and portfolio.”

TRANSLATION: In the beginning, God created “helpful  resources” like references and portfolios. Thousands of years later the minimum wage is still controversial. God certainly values your time and talent, so enjoy a piece of this delicious helpful resource while you wait. God will get back to you “within as short a time-frame as I can manage.” God out.

And this:

“Unfortunately, this is not a paid gig. I know you’re thinking that sucks and I’m aware that it does. I wrote for free for years before I got a paid gig. But I promise you will have your work put on the site if it’s up to snuff, and I will work with you to make it the best it can possibly be. Also, if and when the site becomes profitable and I do hire permanent staff I will be choosing from the pool of people who have already worked with me so this could be an opportunity.”

TRANSLATION: Unfortunately, I will work with you to make sure you don’t get paid.

The Magical Contents of Abe Saperstein’s Suitcase

The Hawk as a young Trotter, c. 1966.

The Hawk as a young Trotter, c. 1966.

Those “Magicians of Basketball,” the Harlem Globetrotters are in town. Two nights. The occasion sent me, once a card carrying fan club member, to a 1966 program. (You got team photos and a red flexi disc, 45, of “Sweet Georgia Brown,” which worked. England, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy, Lebanon, Isreal, Greece and Turkey were on the itinerary. “The Hawk,” Connie Hawkins was once a Trotter, and part of this 40th anniversary team of “standard bearers.”

He’s posed kneeling in the player introductions between Meadowlark Lemon and J.C. Gipson, “Here’s one of basketball’s wonders,” the liner notes inform. “Breaking all Trotters scoring records. Did likewise the season and a half of recent American Basketball League with Pittsburgh Rens. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he left University of Iowa after freshman year.”

Owner Abe Saperstein shares personal travel tips “by one who should know.”

The contents of his suitcase, for some reason, are also featured.

“Abe says the majority of the boys on the team prefer to carry their personal wardrobes in a garment carrier type of bag.

Meadowlark, "Fred" Neil, J.C. Gipson and Hubert Ausbie, who trailed only The Big O and Elgin Baylor in collegiate scoring, were '66 "standard bearers" for the Globetrotters.

Meadowlark, “Fred” Neil, J.C. Gipson and Hubert Ausbie, who trailed only The Big O and Elgin Baylor in collegiate scoring, were ’66 “standard bearers” for the Globetrotters.

He asks them to take no more than 40 pounds of personal luggage. They carry their essential toilet articles and extras in an air lines bag or something comparable.

“Abe himself prefers a suitcase. He has a two-suiter that he uses whether it’s a one-week trip or a month or more. He does his own packing according to such a well established formulaa that he can walk in his hotel room in the dark and find any article he looks for.

“The usual contents of his suitcase for a European or far eastern junket (31 countries, 60,000 miles) are:

A black cashmere or mohair suit

2 pairs of black slacks

4 colored silk sports shirts with short sleeves

A pair of swim trunks

16 handkerchiefs

A pair of tan shoes

8 ties

8 Dacron shirts

1 sports jacket

An extra belt

4 Dacron shorts and tops

2 pairs pajamas

12 pairs black sox

A set of suspenders and brown and black shoe laces

A case containing medicines, drugs, shaving equipment, tooth paste, brushes, colognes, soap, and laundry powder.

“His answer to problems of replacement is that it’s usually possible to replace essential items. If the laundry service is poor or delayed he suggests asking a hotel chambermaid to do your personal laundry – you’ll probably find the rate not bad and the service speedy.”

That’s Golf! Giant cod edition

"I've been the golf pro here for 20 years," head pro Peter Evans told The Sun, "and never seen anything like it.’"

“I’ve been the golf pro here for 20 years,” head pro Peter Evans told The Sun, “and never seen anything like it.’”

That’s Golf! Script January 19, 2014  SportsTalk AM 1300 The Zone, Austin, TX

HERE’S A FISH STORY. THE HEADLINE: “GIANT 12 LB FISH WASHED UP ONTO SEASIDE GOLF COURSE BY MASSIVE WAVES.” THIS IN WALES. A MAGICAL PLACE, PORTHCAWL. THE MAIL HAD THE STORY.

A BIG COD. THEY DIDN’T WEIGH IT BUT IT LOOKED LIKE ABOUT 12 POUNDS. ROYAL PORTHCAWL, A WONDERFUL, HISTORIC COURSE. AS IT HAPPENS THE MEN’S ENTRANCE IS ON ONE SIDE OF THE CLUB, THE FRONT. THE WOMEN’S ENTRANCE IS AROUND THE BACK, AND THE COMMON AREA IS IN THE MIDDLE. I ACTUALLY HAD LUNCH WITH A GROUP OF MEN IN THE LADIES LOUNGE, FOR SOME REASON.

THE GIANT COD APPEARED ON THE THIRD GREEN. SAID PRO PETER EVANS:  “The tide came over onto the fairway of the third hole. We went to clear up and saw this huge fish lying there. It was a decent size – we didn’t weigh it, but it looked over 12lbs. I’ve been the golf pro here for 20 years and never seen anything like it.’ THEY HELD A WALKER CUP AT PORTHCAWL, ONE OF MY FAVORITE COURSES. AS THE U.S. RYDER CUP TEAM AT CELTIC MANOR LEARNED, WELSH WEATHER IS NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH.

…DID YOU SEE THE COMMENT EARLIER IN THE WEEK FROM PHIL MICKELSON?

“I can’t recall,” SAID PHIL, “the last time I had a round without a birdie.”  He’s in the United Arab Emirates. HIS LACKLUSTER 70 WAS FOLLOWED BY A SPARKLING 63. HE FINISHED TIED FOR SECOND WITH RORY MCILORY A SHOT BACK. “But,” HE ADDED OF THAT ROUND WITHOUT A BIRDIE, “didn’t make a bogey there until the last.”

I’M SURE 26 MILLION AMERICAN GOLFERS CAN EASILY RECALL THE LAST ROUND THEY HAD WITHOUT A BIRDIE WITHOUT MUCH DIFFICULTY.

THIS WEEK WE ALSO LEARN THAT 2013 MARKED THE EIGHTH STRAIGHT YEAR THAT MORE COURSES CLOSED IN THE U.S. THAN OPENED. ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL GOLF FOUNDATION THAT DOES THE MATH, 66 PERCENT OF THE CLOSINGS WERE COURSES WITH GREEN FEES BELOW $40.

…ON THAT HAPPY NOTE, GOOD MORNING. THE ENDEAVOR IS TO ENHANCE OUR UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF GOLF….

APPARENTLY, IT’S AWARDS SEASON. QUICK THANKS TO BOTH OF YOU FOR THE WRITE-IN VOTES IN THE RECENT AUSTIN CHRONICLE POLL. I AM A LITTLE PERPLEXED, HOWEVER, WITH THE NOMINATION FOR BEST NEW RAP/HIP HOP ARTIST. I WAS LEANING  MORE TOWARDS “AVANT GARDE/EXPERIMENTAL.” NEVERTHELESS…

…YOU SHOULD ALSO KNOW THAT ‘THAT’S GOLF’ WILL NEVER COLLECT, TRACK, MINE OR HACK YOUR GOLF META-DATA. YOUR GAME IS YOUR OWN PROBLEM. THAT FOUR-PUTT IS NOT BEING ANALYZED HERE IN THE SOPHISTICATED SHAG-ENCRUSTED CONFINES BY A TEAM OF COMPUTER NERDS. (BUT HONESTLY, IF YOU DON’T MIND MY SAYING: IS THAT REALLY WHAT YOU’RE HAVING FOR BREAKFAST??? AND, FOR GOD’S SAKES, PUT ON SOME PANTS. AND…THERE’S SOMETHING ON YOUR CHIN. YOU MIGHT WANT TO WIPE THAT UP. THAT’S IT. MUCH BETTER.)

I’M GLAD YOU COULD MAKE IT.

HERE’S SOME OF THE TOPICS WE WON’T BE DISCUSSING THIS HOUR: DENNIS RODMAN, BENGHAZI, PAINFUL ITCHING AND SCRATCHING, AND FOURTH-QUARTER HOUSING STARTS.

OUR INSPIRATIONAL TEXT COMES FROM THE BOOK, “CONSCIOUS GOLF,” THE THREE SECRETS OF SUCCESS IN BUSINESS, LIFE AND GOLF.

THE AUTHOR, DR. GAY HENDRICKS, HAS A PH D IN COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY FROM STANFORD, AND HAS WRITTEN MORE THAN 30 BOOKS, INCLUDING TWO WE’LL TALK ABOUT WITH HIM NEXT SEGMENT. NEVER TOO SOON IN THIS NEW YEAR TO DELVE BETWEEN THE EARS.

HE WRITES:

WHEN I WAS FIRST STUDYING BREATHING IN THE EARLY 1970S, I RAN AN EXPERIMENT WITH A GROUP OF SIXTH GRADE GIRLS WHO WERE PLAYING BASKETBALL IN GYM CLASS. WE LET ONE GROUP SHOOT FOUL SHOTS WHILE A SECOND GROUP SAT WITH THEIR EYES CLOSED. INSTEAD OF ACTUALLY SHOOTING BASKETS, THIS SECOND GROUP REPEATED THE FOLLOWING MIND-BODY SEQUENCE: TAKE A DEEP BREATH, AND VISUALIZE

A SUCCESSFUL FOUL SHOT. AFTER TWENTY MINUTES, WE HAD EACH GIRL IN THE CLASS TO THE FOUL LINE AND SHOOT TEN SHOTS IN A ROW. THE BREATH-VISUALIZATION GROUP GREATLY OUTPERFORMED THE GROUP THAT HAD BEEN ACTUALLY SHOOTING BASKETS. THE GIRLS ON THE COURT WERE AMAZED, AS WAS THEIR PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER, BUT IT WAS THE EXPERIMENTERS WHO WERE REALLY THRILLED. THIS LITTLE EXPERIMENT LET ME KNOW THAT MIND/BODY SKILLS LIKE CONSCIOUS BREATHING AND MENTAL IMAGERY COULD BE OF BENEFIT TO PEOPLE WITH MINIMAL ATHLETIC SKILL.

AND THANK GOODNESS, BECAUSE ALTHOUGH I AM ENTHUSIASTIC, I AM DEFINITELY IN THE UNNATURAL RATHER THAN NATURAL ATHLETE CATEGORY. AS MY GOLF TEACHER SAID UPON OBSERVING ME FOR THE FIRST TIME: I DON’T KNOW IF THERE’S SUCH A THING AS A NATURAL GOLF SWING, BUT IF THERE IS, YOU DEFINITELY HAVEN’T GOT IT. SO PLEASE DO NOT THINK YOU NEED TO BE A WORLD-CLASS ATHLETE TO BENEFIT FROM CONSCIOUS BREATHING.

…DR. HENDRICKS FROM “CONSCIOUS BREATHING.” WE’LL TALK ABOUT IT NEXT SEGMENT.

PLEASE DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH UNTIL THEN – CONSCIOUSLY OR UNCONSCIOUSLY.

Stalking Points Memo: Lindsey Vonn, vegan marathoners, Med diet strikes again

#1 “Serious patience”                           Lindsey

From Details Magazine:

“Golf is different. You need to have serious patience. It’s like a long chess match. To be honest, before Tiger, I probably wouldn’t have said    that I didn’t understand the sport very well. But now, even standing there as a spectator, it’s brutal. Four days of extreme mental pressure. You’re grinding, you’re working, you’re fighting. That’s the same in my sport – but mine only takes two minutes.” Lindsey Vonn

#2 “Gatorade Mobile Game Referred to Water as ‘the Enemy’ ”

From ABC News:

“The campaign, which ran most of last year, featured a mobile game app called Bolt!, starring Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt. Gamers navigated a Bolt avatar going through an obstacle course and picking up bottles of Gatorade along the way to make him go faster and avoiding drops of water that would make him go slower.

“Nancy Huehnergarth, a food activist and blogger for civileats.com, stumbled across a short video describing the game and marketing campaign on Interactive Advertising Bureau’s website, where it had won an IAB Mixx award for mobile marketing.

“Huehnergarth said when she first saw the video, her jaw dropped.

“The video said the goal of the game was to ‘drive home the message that Gatorade is better than water.’ That was just unbelievable to me,” she said. …

“Michael Jacobson, the executive director of the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, said he also thought the marketing campaign was misleading.

I think the basic strategy is to make people think they will become better athletes if they drink Gatorade, but the average consumer’s health and wallet would be better off if they stuck with water. …

AND:

“Water is by far the best way to replenish fluids in the body after exercise as long as you’re not doing a long workout under extreme conditions like very hot weather,” said Felicia Stoler, who is a fellow at the American College of Sports Medicine, as well as a registered dietitian. “For the average person who is doing an average workout, water is the best choice.”

Gatorade better than this???

Gatorade better than this???

#3 Thirty bananas a day!

From: The Telegraph: “Vegans powered by raw food complete year of daily marathons”

“A couple in their 60s have finished running a marathon each day, every day, for the past year. The pair ate up to 30 bananas each a day as they completed a trek of almost 10,000 miles around Australia. The couple, both raw vegans from New Zealand, ended their journey with an extra marathon to their home in Melbourne at 5am on New Year’s Day to set the world record.

“Janette Murray-Wakelin, 64, and Alan Murray, 68, rose at 4 am each day and ran 366 consecutive marathons with no days off, covering almost 10,000 miles as they ran around the Australia mainland and the island state of Tasmania. …

“The couple’s standard day involved rising at 4am and eating 10 bananas, a grapefruit, and a date smoothie for breakfast, then another 10 bananas at 8am, a green smoothie at 9am, a fruit salad at the 19-mile mark, three oranges at the 23-mile mark, before finishing at 4pm and eating an avocado, vegetable juice and a salad for dinner.

Memo to marathoners: don't slip on discarded peels.

Memo to marathoners: don’t slip on discarded peels.

From their site runningrawaroundaustralia.com: “Our typical daily menu may include:

* On rising and before a short (15km) training run: 10oz pure spring water, 1 banana

* Breakfast and after short run: Green smoothie (fruit, greens & water), 5+ bananas

* Lunch: Either 20+ mandarines, 10+ oranges, 1 melon, 1 pineapple, 5+ bananas and/or other fruits

*Dinner: Either a large green salad with savoury fruits; tomato, cucumber, courgette, capsicum etc. or a large fruit smoothie, or 1 large fruit such as a melon, papaya, pineapple etc.

* Snacks: Any fruit or a freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice
Before a long (15+km) training run: 20oz water, 10oz fruit smoothie, 2-5 bananas

During a long (20+km) training run: water, dates

After a long (20+km) run: Breakfast plus extra fruit especially bananas

#4  “Mediterranean Diet Alone May Lower Diabetes Risk”

From: Web MD:

Adults at risk for heart disease who eat a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil can lower their chances of developing diabetes, even without restricting calories or boosting exercise, new research suggests.

In the study, Spanish researchers followed more than 3,500 older adults at high risk of heart disease. The researchers assigned them to one of three groups: a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a low-fat diet, which served as the comparison. They did not get special instructions on losing weight or increasing their physical activity.

A Mediterranean diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish, besides the olive oil. Those in the nut group were allowed about an ounce a day of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. Those in the olive oil group were allowed a little more than three tablespoons daily.

The researchers followed the men and women, aged 55 to 80, for about four years, between 2003 and 2010. During the follow-up, 80 in the olive oil group developed type 2 diabetes, while 92 in the nuts group and 101 in the comparison diet group did.

After adjusting for other factors affecting diabetes risk, the researchers found those in the olive oil group reduced diabetes risk by about 40 percent compared to the comparison diet group. Those in the nuts group reduced risk by 18 percent, which was not statistically significant.

The new research, published online Jan. 7 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, is good news, said Dr. Christine Laine, editor-in-chief of the journal and an associate professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

The study “suggests it is possible to reduce the risk of diabetes by changing the composition of your diet. It is another piece of evidence that the Mediterranean diet has health benefits,” said Laine, who was not involved in the research.

She hopes the findings don’t discourage people from diet and exercise. Excess weight is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, she said, and diet and exercise can help control weight. Adding diet and exercise to the Mediterranean diet could theoretically reduce the diabetes risk even more, she noted.

Everything?!

The world according to GolfNow.Com (“GolfNow.com tees off on expanded push to transform clubhouse experience,” Michael Smith, Street & Smith’s Sportsbusiness Journal, January 6-12, 2014):

”The golfer will drop off clubs and be greeted at the curb by a course employee with an iPad. If the golfer hasn’t paid yet, he will be able to swipe a credit card with the iPad. The golfer is checked in there – no need to to into the pro shop or carry the receipt out to the starter. With a card on file, the golfer can buy food and beverage on the course without cash and buy merchandise in the golf shop. Through all of these activities, the software will develop a profile of the golfer for the course operators.”

"This round is too important to allow you to jeopardize it with your puny action. Sorry, Dave."

“This round is too important to allow you to jeopardize it with your puny action. Sorry, Dave.”

They’ll know everything from what kind of beer you like to what kind of ball you play, said Jeff Foster, senior vice president of GolfNow.com new media.

Curls and flats?

The notebook was neat and well-organized, no stains, which reminded me of an old book belonging to Harvey Penick. By contrast, it had a perfect coffee cup-sized ring worn into the cover. Page upon page of the notebook is devoted to various curls and flats, bunches, drives, verticals, nakeds, gaps and springs, smashes, out and corners, double squares, play action, intermediates, empty, quicks, deceptives and, finally, the smallest entry – about six plays, as I recall – designed to successfully complete a two point conversation.

Would Walter Camp have any clearer idea of modern football shorthand than the average fan today?  I don’t think I’m relinquishing any great secret by adding that the above refer to pass plays in high stakes collegiate football. I spent a few minutes with the 2005 Longhorn playbook the other day, a bound notebook of some sophistication, clearly worthy of a wider readership – among fans and critics alike. Maybe next time I’ll take a picture, assuming there’s no Freedom of Information Act difficulties.

Button hook or slant?

Button hook or slant?

 

Christie: “To use the vernacular, the ball was on the tee.”

THAT’S GOLF! JANUARY 12, 2014     Script, SportsTalk AM 1300 The Zone, Austin

GOLF IS, ARGUABLY, I’LL GRANT YOU, ONE OF THE MINOR SPORTS. BUT, AS I’VE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, IT HAS SEEPED INTO SOCIETY IN INTERESTING WAYS, INTO THE LANGUAGE, FOR INSTANCE, AND INTO THE CONSCIOUSNESS AND CULTURE. AND OF ALL THINGS WE GOT ANOTHER EXAMPLE THIS WEEK – FROM NO LESS THAN THE CENTERPIECE OF THE BIGGEST NEWS STORY OF THE WEEK.

I HAPPENED TO LISTEN JUST LONG ENOUGH TO NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE’S MARATHON PRESS CONFERENCE, FOLLOWING THE BUSINESS OVER THAT MARATHON TRAFFIC JAM – ONE IN WHICH MY MOTHER AND SISTER, IT TURNS OUT, WERE STUCK IN. AND GOV. CHRISTIE SAID THESE EXACT WORDS: QUOTE: “TO USE THE VERNACULAR, THE BALL WAS ON THE TEE.”

Teed up, or off? And now out. A bit of oratorical golf foozling from the New Jersey governor, ready to scramble.

Teed up, or off? . A bit of easily-overlooked oratorical golf foozling from the New Jersey governor, ready to scramble.

DON’T KNOW IF HE PLAYS GOLF, BUT HE OBVIOUSLY KNEW ENOUGH ABOUT THIS USEFUL PHRASE OF THE ROYAL AND ANCIENT GAME TO ENLIST IT IN HELPING DIG HIMSELF OUT OF THE DOGHOUSE. FUNNY HOW GOLF FINDS ITS WAY INTO THE LARGER CONTEXT.

…GOOD MORNING.

IT’S THAT’S GOLF! NEVER A  COVER CHARGE. HALF PRICE DANCES… NO, YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE ME DANCE. …ANOTHER DISEMBODIED YANKEE VOICE ASSAULTING YOUR SENSES THROUGH THE RADIO.

THE HOUR’S ENDEAVOR IS TO ENHANCE OUR APPRECIATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF GOLF. YOUR HOST, SHAG BOY, AND SCRIBE: 5’ 9” 150, 16-YEAR, LIFETIME  CATAMOUNT, THROWS RIGHT, BATS RIGHT. STILL PLAGUED BY THAT NAGGING GROIN STRAIN. AS DUANE THOMAS ONCE NOTED, WE’RE ALL DAY-TO-DAY.

WE EXTEND A VICARIOUS WELCOME AGAIN TO THE CONGENIAL SHAG-ENCRUSTED CONFINES.

OUR TOPIC: THE GAME THAT – EVENTUALLY – ENDS… WITH A TAP-IN.

THIS IS, ODDLY ENOUGH, THE LONGEST-RUNNING GOLF RADIO SHOW IN THE STATE. THANKS TO BOTH OF YOU FOR TUNING IN. WE’RE CLOTHING OPTIONAL. ALL WE ASK IS THAT WHATEVER IT IS, PLEASE JUST KEEP IT ON.

IF THE NAME OF THE PROGRAM CONFUSES YOU – I REALIZE IT’S EARLY – HERE’S HOW IT WORKS: WE TALK ABOUT THE GAME OF GOLF’S MANY FAUCETS, ALL OF THEM TURNED ON.

AND HERE’S JUST THE SORT OF HELPFUL HINT THAT WE PASS ALONG KNOWING THAT NO ONE WILL EVER TRY IT. BUT SINCE IT COMES FROM THE ONLY BOOK I KNOW OF THAT FEATURES A MAN SHINING A SHOE WITH A BANANA ON THE COVER, I FELT IT WORTHWHILE TO PASS ALONG. PERHAPS YOU’RE STILL IN A RESOLUTION, GET-THINGS-DONE FRAME OF MIND.

THE SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, “HALEY’S CLEANING HINTS” BY GRAHAM AND ROSEMARY HALEY. IT’S ALSO THE ONLY BOOK I CAN RECALL WHICH SUGGESTS THAT A PAIR OF MEN’S OLD COTTON UNDERWEAR MAKES A GREAT LINT-FREE DUST CLOTH. NOT SOMETHING, I CONFESS, I’VE EVER CONSIDERED.

BUT, FOR OUR PURPOSES, THE HALEYS OFFER THIS TIP FOR WHAT THEY PROMISE  “GLEAMING GOLF BALLS:”

IT’S A RECIPE. MIX A SOLUTION OF A GALLON OF WATER WITH ONE CUP AMMONIA. LEAVE YOUR GOLF BALLS IN THE SOLUTION OVERNIGHT.

TRY NOT TO KICK THE BUCKET EN ROUTE TO THE BATHROOM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. OR ANYTIME. I’M GUESSING YOU DON’T WANT TO SPEND TOO MUCH TIME INHALING THE CONCOCTION….THOSE ARE JUST MY OWN HINTS.

A GALLON OF WATER, A CUP OF AMMONIA, DEPOSIT YOUR GRIMY GOLF BALLS, AND IN THE MORNING: GLEAMING GOLF BALLS.

…JUST THE KIND OF TIP YOU WON’T GET FROM THE LAMESTREAM GOLF MEDIA.

TYPICALLY, SINCE OUR MOVE TO SUNDAY MORNINGS, WE TRADITIONALLY OPEN WITH A MESSAGE OF INSPIRATION.

OUR TEXT TODAY COMES FROM JACK BURKE JR., THE VENERABLE HOUSTON SAGE, A FORMER MASTERS AND PGA CHAMPION. HIS SUBJECT: “THE EYES OF OTHERS ARE UPON YOU.” I SUPPOSE, IN OUR CASE, IT IS LITERALLY THE EYES OF TEXAS.

THIS FROM HIS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED CHRONICLE: “IT’S ONLY A GAME:”

“TO SUCCEED AT GOLF,” HE BEGINS, “YOU HAVE TO MASTER THE ART OF NOT BEING EMBARRASSED. YOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR EGO OUT OF THE EQUATION AND JUST PLAY. IT’S INCREDIBLY HARD TO ERASE THOUGHTS OF HOW YOU’RE GOING TO BE PERCEIVED BY OTHERS, AND THE CHALLENGE NEVER CEASES. YOU THINK ARNOLD PALMER DOESN’T FEEL EMBARRASSED WHEN HE YIPS A FOUR-FOOT PUTT IN FRONT OF A BIG GALLERY? SURE HE DOES. HE MASTERED THE ART OF NOT BEING EMBARRASSED YEARS AGO, AND NOW HE’S LEARNING IT AGAIN.

FINDING THINGS THAT DON’T INTIMIDATE YOU IS A FULL-TIME JOB. MOST PEOPLE ARE AT LEAST A  BIT FRIGHTENED OF MANY THINGS. GOLF CAN BE INTIMIDATING. BUT YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT ON. IF YOU DO THAT, YOU VERY SOON WON’T BE INTIMIDATED AT ALL. THERE IS ENOUGH TRULY SCARY STUFF GOING ON IN THE WORLD THAT NOTHING CONNECTED TO GOLF SHOULD BE.”

PLEASE BE SEATED.

“GOLF CAN BE INTIMIDATING, BUT YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT ON.”

WORDS TO LIVE BY FROM JACK BURKE. ‘IT’S ONLY A GAME,’ WORDS OF WISDOM FROM A LIFETIME IN GOLF.

Al Geiberger’s sensational sixth tip?

Al Geiberger's sensational sixth tip is SKIPPY!

Al Geiberger’s sensational sixth tip is SKIPPY!

A touch of recent rainy weather conjured up a memory. Al Geiberger was playing in the Legends of Golf here in Austin. His son, Brent, would follow him onto the tour. This day Brent was caddying for his old man. They had a cart but I remember ‘Skippy’ pointedly telling Brent to get the rain gear ready and keep in handy at a moment’s notice. It stuck, I guess, because I sensed an exchange of tour wisdom from father to son. (I didn’t realize Brent would win two events, Hartford and Greensboro, but shouldn’t be surprised. His dad played on two Ryder Cup teams and won a bunch, 11, including several big tournaments.)

Cleaning, the next day the above ad appeared in an envelope about to be tossed. The 1966 PGA Champion, later known as ‘Mr. 59,’ got a Skippy Peanut Butter endorsement back when there wasn’t much for pro golfers, or to any professional athletes, for that matter. I honestly don’t remember the ads, nor do I suspect they would have made much of a difference, not that I was the intended audience. Years later I did later watch those goofy Sybervision tapes that detailed Skippy’s silky swing in slow-mo.

Of course, Skippy was ever-present. Later, during those annual brief stops in Austin, when things weren’t nearly as severe with senior golf as they seem today, Al took the nickname in  stride. As he says here: “Skippy Peanut Butter is great for quick energy. And I prefer Skippy because it’s got more peanut flavor.” You tell him, Skippy.

Given the continued preference for PB&J among the triathlete and century-cycling crowd, Al was clearly ahead of his time.

Al’s Five “Fabulous Golf Tips to Help Lower Your Score:”

1)     Slow your swing down – Think of swinging easy during the entire backswing and most of the down-swing, and use your speed in the hitting area. A fast backswing means a slow hitting area.

2)     Use your body more – Think of your body as the main source of power. Use a good turn of the body and shoulders throughout the entire swing.

3)     Putting – Try striking the ball on a downward stroke. This will keep you from coming up off the putt and allow you to strike the ball much more solidly.

4)     Improve your balance – If your balance is bad try straightening up your back a little and crouching in the legs instead.

5)     Tip to the beginner – Learn the fundamentals from a qualified professional instead of teaching yourself and forming bad habits.