Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Teeing Off With The Gob Stopper

© 2010 Leighann Lord

I don’t know anything about golf. Well, that’s not true. I know that adulterous scandals notwithstanding, Tiger Woods has made the sport perplexingly popular. I also know that I’ve actively despised golf ever since I was forcibly exposed to it in high school. On the unwanted gym class scale, I’m not sure what I hated more: track, square dancing or golf. Hmm . . . golf.

So it is in rather surreal astonishment that I find myself going to a driving range. My husband has recently taken up golf. Even after nine years of marriage I still dig the guy and like doing things with him, so I’m golfing. Well, I haven’t actually had to go to a golf course yet. That would cut into my mall time.

At my first outing to the range I was content to sit on the bench and watch my Husband hit the ball.

“Do you want to hit a few?” he said.

“Um . . . sure,” I said, looking up from my paper. “Why not?”

“Do you know which club you want to use?”

Yes. A seven.”

“Really?” he said, impressed with my quick and decisive response. “How come?”

“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “I just like the number seven.”
I’ve never watched a golf match, so the best I could do was imitate what little I could remember from Caddy Shack. Let’s just say my form was a little off. I swung the club like it was a baseball bat. And it would have been a home run if I had actually hit the ball. Swing and a miss.
“Two more and I strike out, right?”

“That’s baseball,” he said.


“May I?” he said, offering help.


“Ok: bend your knees, keep your eye on the ball and line it up with your left nipple.”
So that’s why men have nipples. I was still missing the ball, but now I looked better doing it.

I barely passed golf in high school, and my Husband hasn’t played since the Clinton administration. Watching us futz around with our discount Craig’s List clubs must have been very painful for the older gentleman in the bay next to us. Despite posted signs that say “No Teaching” he came over to give us a few pointers. He didn’t mention the nipple thing but he did tell us to stop bending the left elbow.

A few more practice swings and I actually began connecting with the ball.
“You’re pretty good at this,” my Husband said.
Of course I am, I thought, because I have no desire to be. I only went to the range to spend time with my Best Guy, but I have to admit there is something surprisingly satisfying about hearing the loud thwack of the club against the ball, and watching it sail far and away across the field. (Bonus points if it hits the ball cart.)
“Do you want to try another club?”

I’m learning that clubs have names as well as numbers indicating vitally important, and specific functions. There are drivers, putters, wedges . . . My Husband knows that I’m not bothering keeping it all straight, but it tickles him if I ask.
“What’s this one called?”

“A trap shooter.”

“Ha-ha!” I thought he was joking. “What’s that, the club you hit someone in the mouth to make them be quiet?”

“No,” he said. “That’s a gob stopper.”
And thus, my club of choice was born.

If I had any sense, I’d stop now. I know me and this could easily get out of hand. Whenever I do something, even if I don’t care much about it, I want to do it well. Such is the fate of an achievement oriented, obsessive-compulsive, workaholic, perfectionist, control freak.

For instance, I can’t help but notice the transferrable skills from my martial arts practice. True, there’s no kicking, punching, or wrestling going on at the golf range – at least not on the days that I’ve been there – but proper breathing is important.
  • Breathing helps you focus and relieve the tension in your body. Under stress, people tend to hold their breath as if they’re waiting for something to happen. That something is usually passing out.
  • Specifically, breathe out on the strike. That exhalation seems to put a little extra power in the swing, the same way it does on a punch.
  • Relax your shoulders. I got this advice early on in kick boxing because I was holding my arms like a cranky new born baby. Amusing, but not very intimidating unless my opponent happened to be a sleep-deprived parent.
  • And lastly, even when frustrated, it’s probably not a good idea to kick the golf bag, even if it was only $50 on eBay.
I’m worried I might start drawing comparisons to other sports I enjoy, like shopping (persistence, patience, pacing). Worse, it’ll be another reason to shop. It’s all fun and games until you start picturing yourself next to a sexy red leather golf bag with matching shoes.

Yes, if I keep this up, it’ll be harder to maintain that I have no interest in golf. But what’s not to love about lining up nipple shots, and thwacking the ball with your gob stopper? My high school gym class was never this much fun.

Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian. May 22 she'll be performing at Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn. Check out her other upcoming shows @ www.VeryFunnyLady.com. Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

1 comment:

Fredi :-) said...

Hey... don't malign the golf gym class in high school! I got an A in that high school gym class... actually hit an "ace" on the test! Probably the only gym class I passed with an A! lol!