Wednesday, 18 March 2015


I swear, it's a compulsion. It should be listed as a personality disorder. Lots of people have this tinkering affliction. My father had it. I have it. Even great players have succumbed to it.

The tinkerer just can't seem to help himself. Hit two bad shots, and the wheels start turning, and the tinkering begins. Maybe I need to turn my shoulders more, or swing more upright, or flatten it out. Maybe I need to try to swing it like Jack Nicklaus -- I'm dating myself now-- or Rory McIlroy.

The thing is with golf, tinkering is necessary as we learn the game. We must experiment with the club and the swing to find what works, what works better, what the ball can be made to do, but eventually we have to try to pretty much worry along with what we've got. At least we need to do that while we're playing. If we must tinker with our swing, we must save it for the practice range.

Rarely can I manage to play eighteen holes of golf without making a swing change. In fact, often I make several swing changes in a round. I start every round swearing I will swing my swing. Suddenly, I hit a double cross, a fat shot, or a hook, and the tinkering starts. We need to develop a pill for it. It's making me crazy. 

But oh, those days when I can just look at the target and hit it. No thoughts of swing plane, shoulder or hip turn, just target. That's real golf. For me, that's being in the zone. I had one of those days recently. At least for most of the day. I cruised out on the front nine, three under. I used the same swing and took dead aim at the target. It was easy. It was fun. I was back to playing golf.

On the back nine, I started over-thinking it a bit. No doubt because I suddenly became aware of the fact that I was playing golf. Before I knew it, I started second guessing club selection, playing more conservatively, and before I knew it, I was making bogies. After a double on seventeen, the result of a perfectly struck approach with too much club, I made a nice birdie on eighteen. I finished one over. Old Man Par beat me again.

The good news? I played eighteen holes without thinking about, or changing my swing. Now, if I could just take dead aim for eighteen holes. If I could just get in that zone. The problem is, I get in the zone, only to suddenly realize I'm finally in the zone. Then, I start thinking. I need therapy. There must be a pill you can take for this condition. 

I'm hoping to go out again today. Afflicted or not, I can't wait to give Old Man Par a run for his money. He usually wins, but he's not afflicted like I am. He just hits fairways and greens.