Tiger Woods, Rory Mcilroy, Ernie Els (and now the 2013 Masters' winner Adam Scott) make the game of golf look sooooo easy. Take it from a 19-handicapper, it's far from.
One day you think you’ve got the game cracked: you smash that little white ball long and straight down the fairway. But the next day, you’re playing military golf - left, right, left, right. You blast your shot into a bush on the left side of the fairway, then the next lands in the roots of a tree on the right. Grrrrrh!.
This is something that happens way too often. You're standing on the first tee. Your practice swings were great. Then you notice a gallery of fellow golfers watching through the clubhouse window. You pray you'll make a decent shot. You didn't pray hard enough. The ball scuttles 30 yards down the fairway. You hurry off the tee, grab your bag and walk as quickly as you can up the fairway with your face burning.
Just imagine what it's like having millions of TV viewers and spectators watching your every movement.
However, it's comforting to know that even the best golfers in the world mess up.
From the best players to beginners, it can be a frustrating sport. But the good shots we do from time to time keep bringing us back.
The great Arnold Palmer is quoted to have said: "Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated." And that about sums it up.
But when things go wrong: when we hook, slice, sky, shank or hack our way around a golf course, there’s a myriad of excuses we can pull out of the bag. People dream up the most weird and wonderful excuses for hitting a bad shot.
Here are a few of the ones I’ve heard many times – even used myself.
- A fly flew in my face just as I hit the ball
- I’m not used to these new clubs
- The wind nearly knocked me off my feet (and that from some very heavyweight golfers – as if)
- That blasted green keeper started his engine during my down swing
- My back is killing me from doing the gardening yesterday
- I thought I was going to sneeze
- Why does that train driver have to toot every time I’m in the middle of my tee shot?
- These clubs need new grips
- That nettle sting on my thumb really hurts
Some people never make a bad shot. They blame their equipment, the weather, sudden noises, the local wildlife, or mystery aches and
Noise excuses are very popular:
- A squirrel dropping an acorn 50 yards up the fairway
- A rabbit chewing loudly
- Flapping of wings from low flying birds
- Someone coughing three fairways over
- Someone whooping it up on a nearby green when they’ve sunk a long putt or got a birdie
Players suddenly develop mystery ailments after hitting a bad shot even though they'd been swinging without a care in the world minutes earlier. Here are some that crop up from time to time:
I've just had a flu jab. My arm's sore.
Ooooohhh! My leg, back, neck, ankle, face (take your pick) hurts.
My head's sore. I had too much to drink last night.
The weather also gets blamed. It's like the elements conspire to make you do an awful shot. For instance:
Where did that wind come from. It was calm a second ago.
It's too cold, hot, windy, wet, sunny, cloudy (take your pick).
I was blinded by the sun.
A quick canvas of my fellow golfers flushed out some dandies:
- I went to hit the ball and screamed. I thought I had a pin still in my shirt but when I looked it was a bee on my collar. I had pressed my chin on the bee and it stung me.
- My biorhythms are right off today
- My boobs got in the way
- My bra snapped in the middle of my swing, so I went behind a bush and took it off. I’ve never hit the ball as well.
- A fly went in my ear
But if it’s not the forces of nature, our equipment, or inconsiderate fellow golfers, it can also be divine intervention:
* Just the other day, my playing partner said: "I don't know how the ball got over here. I didn't hit it here."
* And another said: "What's it doing over there. I'm sure I didn't hit it over there."
If you can thing of any more excuses, please let me know via my contact page.
To round off. If the game is going badly or the publishing mountain seems too steep to climb, harken to Arnold. Mr Palmer is known for some inspirational quotes. Take heart from these:
"It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get."
"I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying: I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win."
Thanks for reading and don't forget to keep reaching for the stars.