Friday, September 24, 2010
My younger Dad had all sorts of obligations that kept him from the game, but I remember his biggest obstacle was a wife that viewed yard work as a religious experience. No one can out-labor my mom - No one - and if you were not out there helping her burn brush piles, rake leaves, mow grass, clean chicken coops, muck horse stalls or just tidying up in general, you were relegated to a lower social caste.
This arrangement restricted Dad's visits to the local country clubs, but it did have the benefit of improving his short game, because when the chores were done, he went out with a pocket loaded down with golf balls and proceeded to chip them back and forth in the front yard with a lob wedge.
This behavior was passed on to my brother, Chester.
Chester now lives across town, so my son and I often make his place a stop on our bicycle travels.
I stopped by the other day and while our kids horsed around in the front yard, my brother pulled out a lob wedge and a couple of golf balls. He then began to knock shots back and forth to the corners of his property. I joined in with a 56 degree club and we took turns hitting shots to one another - his strokes were fluid arcs of perfection - mine....... not so much. He gave me pointers, though, and I improved, but the biggest challenge we faced was getting the golf balls back from Sweet Pea, my brother's bulldog, who pounced on them when they landed and scooped them up in her shovel of a mouth and carried them away.
(On a side note, I jokingly would open my front pants pocket and tell my brother to pitch his shot into it from twenty yards - he missed by mere inches - yeah, he's that good).
I finally realized that my Dad and brother are on to something when it comes to pulling out a lob wedge at the end of the day and chipping golf balls high into the air. It's a meditation of sorts and the best results come with the less effort you put into it. Don't think - just do.
By the way, Dad finally figured out a way to get more golf into his life. He introduced the game to Mom and now they play together.
I imagine the thought came to him while working on his short game in the front yard late one afternoon.