The Old Coot takes note, of a notebook

I watched the Master’s Golf Tournament last week. In November! Not May! No fans! No azaleas! Just golfers, PGA officials, TV videographers, and members of the exclusive (for-profit) Augusta National Golf Club. It will forever be known as the Pandemic Masters. 

It’s always a treat to watch the pros demonstrate how the game is supposed to be played. You can’t help but notice the fat notebook in the golfers back pants pocket that they take out and study before each shot. The book contains a map of the course, showing key terrain features, the contours of the green, obstacles, and location of sprinkler heads and other useful points of reference. 

It’s a guidebook of the highest level; it also includes notes made by the golfers on each round. They learn from their mistakes as they progress through the four rounds of a standard tournament. 

I can’t imagine what it would be like to look down at a logbook, look up to get the lay of the land, check the wind, know how far you can hit each club in the bag and then execute a shot. The book wouldn’t do me any good. I never know how far I’ll hit any club in my bag. Truth be told, I could get by with less clubs. I pretty much shank them all with equal frequency.

My logbook, if I had one, would contain a single page. In big letters, it would say – “Keep your head down!” –  “Keep your eye on the ball (I tend to close my eyes at the last moment)!” And most important for me, #3, “Don’t try to kill it!” I never accomplish all three. My swing is in perfect agreement with the lyrics in Meatloaf’s hit song, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.” That’s why my game is so interesting. Each shot is a surprise.   

The golfers that wait their turn on the tee, while my foursome tees off, often break out in laughter when I pull out my driver. It’s over 30 years old and the head is made of wood. The head is so small it looks more like a modern-day putter than a driver. 

I bought new clubs two years ago, but returned them after one round. Then, I slunk back to the Owego Open Door Mission Outlet Store and bought back my old ones. I’d donated them when I purchased the new ones. Fortunately, they were still there. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me; who would want them? Other than an antique dealer.

Anyhow, I’ll stick with my old clubs and a one-page guidebook. If I decide to add a second page, it won’t contain golf tips – it will offer practical advice, suitable for an old coot like me. 

#1 – Your car is red and parked in the back row of the parking lot; don’t go looking all over for it. #2 – Take your spikes off before getting in the car. #3 – Tell everyone you shot par. (It’s not a lie; I always shoot par. Unfortunately, I reach that number at the 13th or 14th hole, not the end of an 18 hole round.) 

My friend Ray, who is a year younger than me, has been shooting his age every so often. It’s quite an accomplishment. I’m working on it, but I doubt I’ll make it. It’s not likely I’ll live to 150.   

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