Declaring Open War on my Golf Slump

If you've been reading my fledgling blog, you may have noticed a mention or two of my ever-rising GHIN index during this slump I've wallowed in for 18 months. A blogger I admire gave me some good advice about how to climb out of it, but even more appreciated were his kind words about hating to see a good golfer with a passion for the game hit that long of a rough patch.

I can make light of my "slump:"

  • I now know how many times the handiap-scoring machine will ask "This score is higher than your normal scores. Do you still want to enter it?" before it stops asking

  • I get a couple of extra strokes in our Old Pal match (however, since I need them, the fun in that only lasts while I'm studying the scorecard on the first hole).

  • I get to sleep in a little later on the mornings of competitive tournaments (for you non-golfers, that's because they send lower handicap golfers off first)

  • I get alot more use out of my Bushnell rangefinder (because I keep re-measuring distances on the range to get past my disbelief that I only hit my 7-iron 115 yards!)
But the sad (and scary) truth is that I've begun to "expect" that I will score poorly every time I go out to play. I always try my best and but lately the high scores aren't "getting" to me the way they always have. Having spent months utterly frustrated and near tears, I find myself beginning to simply accept them. Until....

Got the new GHIN report this week. I've gone from a 3.2 in March (up from a 2.3 last year) to a 5.7 . Editor's note: for those who might think I shouldn't whine about being a 5 handicap, it's not the number that's relevant - it's the increase and the golf behind it . And while my beau doesn't have the GHIN system at his course, he dropped from a 6.8 to a 5.6 as of August 1.

Dayna 5.7 - beau 5.6. Hmmmm. Competitive juices are beginning to bubble.

I'm thrilled for him because he's worked so hard to make some big swing changes over the past 12-15 months and he's waiting patiently for it to become ingrained and translate on the course. But..hmmmm. Competitive juices starting to boil.

I sit here drumming my fingers on my keyboard and clenching my teeth. Dare I say it? No more excuses if I do.... Ok, here you go, world.... I am ready to expect more of myself. It's time to care again. It's time to get pissed off about shooting in the 80s. It's time to play the game I know I'm capable of playing. I can't run now - it's time to play.


Making Sense of the Game of Golf

How did I make a twelve on a par five hole? It's simple. I missed a four-foot putt for an eleven.
- Arnold Palmer

I'm not entirely sure what to think of the round I played a couple of days ago, but maybe that's because it was a bit of a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde sort of round. I shot yet another bad score in my 18-month slump which has seen my index jump by 3. Doubles, a triple, no birdies. But - get this - the LOWEST number of putts, and hence, the most up and downs, of any round I can recall! Technically 21 putts, though I had an additional 3 putts from the fringe.

A much more "Zen" golfer than I would be happy with that accomplishment. Some pretty amazing up and downs and the putter was magical. But how good does it really feel to one putt for a double bogey? One putting for a bogey when you've had to take a drop from a hazard is one thing. But one putting for a double after dropping your third shot on a long uphill par four in a bunker and leaving it in there on the first attempt is an entirely different matter.

How many bittersweet emotions can playing one game elicit in a lifetime? How can we desperately want to quit the game "for good!" yet be unable to imagine our lives without it? Are golfers just hardwired differently than other folks?

I can't explain it. Nothing about my passion for the game of golf makes a lick of sense. In fact, if I had to guess, I'll soon be writing and expressing my frustration about a decent scoring round in which I had my HIGHEST number of putts. Go figure.

Arnold Palmer explains it best, in the words all golfers have likely read before....
Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening - and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.
- Arnold Palmer