Archive for Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Game comes down to confidence

July 19, 2000

I guess the genesis and legitimacy of my sad tale depends on whether you buy into the Big Bang theory.

Can one moment in time one action start a chain of events that leads to something great, or in this case, something woefully sick and wrong?

Or is our fate sealed are we merely passengers aboard a ship sailing on a course we sadly have no control over?

Pretty philosophical, huh?

Especially for this space, which is usually reserved for stories of golf course futility.

Believe me, there is plenty of futility to speak of. However, my Big Bang theory is a highfalutin attempt at an excuse for the recent round I had at Alvamar Golf Club, the pride of Lawrence.

For the front nine, I pretty much managed to stay within my goal of shooting bogey golf (hey, you have to walk before you can run). If you took off that nasty little triple bogey on the ninth hole, I accomplished my goal for the first half.

I followed that up with a bogey on 10 and a par (who-hoo) on 11, meaning I was just a single stroke of fulfilling a dream. My triple bogey on the par-3 12th set me back, but then came the Big Bang.

After a nice (by my standards) tee shot on No. 13, I stood about 210 yards from the pin on the left side of the fairway. I chose a 4-iron an effective club for me merely as a means of getting it close and keeping it on the short grass.

I hit it squarely, but the sound that emitted from the contact told me something was not right.

Neither was the fact that the shot sent two things flying forward the ball and the head of the club.

The ball struck the golf cart some 40 yards ahead and the club head sailed left into the fairway, but what brought attention my way was that horrible noise.

It sounded like a tuning fork a high-pitched wail that seemed to extend for several seconds.

Maybe it seemed prolonged to me because the graphite shaft the origin of this putrid wail continued to vibrate in my hands. It was loud. Dan Simon a.k.a. The Big Sigh started laughing.

Guest partner Chris Abel, on the other side of the fairway, stopped and stared.

Even the foursome on the green abandoned their putting to turn back and investigate.

We searched in vain for the club head, which we were certain was in the middle of the fairway. Thankfully, the marshal found me two holes later and presented me with the severed-off head to my once-beloved 4-iron.

OK, here's where my excuse starts.

When you break a club, there is a fear that you're going to break another. It's something that creeps into your head and is pretty hard to shake. Trusting your clubs is a large part of golf (or so I'm told). Having confidence that the club in your hand is going to get the job done is a huge part of the mental aspect of this game.

Without that confidence, I shot a 10-over for the last five holes. My dreams of playing bogey golf from the blue tees vanished and I had to settle for a round of 98, which would have been gladly accepted at the start of the year, but not now that I have been hitting the ball with much more regularity.

I suppose we could have blamed it on the heat. It was in the 90s out there with matching humidity. I'm no weather forecaster, but my guess is the heat index was somewhere in the neighborhood of, say, 175 degrees.

The heat actually had more of an adverse impact on The Big Sigh, who turned in an incredible front-nine score of 40, but wilted in the hot summer heat to finish with an 89. Meanwhile, Mr. Abel shook off a few bad holes in the middle of the round to finish strong and post a score of 90.

As for me, I'm trying to determine whether to have the head of my 4-iron reshafted or to buy another and use it as a paperweight.

Decisions, decisions.

Pat Sangimino is editor of the Eudora News.

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