Golfing-in-Exile (2): Getting it off the Tee

Old men with golf clubs indoors

This is part of my Series on Golfing-in-Exile.

We’ll get deeper into this in subsequent posts, but here are some initial tips for the GIE who plays twice a year and suddenly finds himself in some version of the following. (Tell me you haven’t been a part of this classic situation!):                       

So your friends show up to the course late, they’re still yapping on their iphones about liquidation preferences and getting rid of the CEO and of course, no one could hit balls before the round started.  You’re as tight as a board and haven’t stretched in 15 months. You’ve just seen the people at the clubhouse ring up your card for a $130 greens fee and you had to buy a pair of golf shoes with soft spikes on sale for $110 because the last time you played, hard spikes were still allowed and no one told you this had changed.  You bought a dozen Titleists (most of which you will lose during the coming round) for another $50 and before hitting a shot you’re out about $300.

You step up on the tee, address your ball and VC #1 is still in the cart getting angry at someone he’s talking to on the phone.  Your other hyperactive entrepreneur friend is moving all over the place and clearly visible in your peripheral vision. He almost hit you with one of his practice swings a few minutes ago. VC #2 is wolfing down a sandwich and potato chips not five feet away from you. Since you’re on the East Coast and it’s April, it’s still freezing and you have no “cold weather” gear because again- you hardly ever play golf.

Reality: if you don’t have my “Golfing-in-Exile Rules” memorized- you have a 1% chance of hitting the ball in the fairway.

Here’s what you need to do off the tee: (GIE RULES OFF THE TEE)

  • Keep some movement in your body before you initiate the swing. Don’t just stand there like a statue and think you’ll suddenly uncork a 300 yard drive. Move a little, get some rhythm, swagger, etc. going- feel the legs and arms and waggle the club some. A golf swing is actually an athletic movement- so holding perfectly still at address will not help you accomplish this despite what you may think.
  • Kick your right knee, (if you are a righty), slightly left toward the target at address, keeping it cocked throughout the swing. This will keep you centered and over the ball with a controlled swing.
  • Take a smooth and deliberate backswing. Most disastrous shots (mine included) are born of the warp-speed at which people’s backswings travel, which consequently throws the whole body out of whack.

Ok- so you got it off the tee- it wasn’t great- but you’re out there and not speeding off in your cart cursing to yourself as you hurtle towards your horrific annual round.  VC friend #1 is having a fake heart-to-heart with a CEO he is “letting go” next to you. You can tell he really wants to assassinate the guy for costing him so much money. He sliced his ball into some thick bushes and obviously needs an aspirin.

 Now what? We’ll discuss in the next GIE post.

For Part 3 of this Series, click here.


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