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Narin Golf Club – 1986

Narin

I just looked at the clubhouse pictured on the Narin Golf Club’s website. It is much larger and more extensive than the one I remember from a family golf trip to Scotland in 1986. Then, if I remember correctly, it was just a single room with a long counter and an elderly proprietor to welcome us. This recollection inspired the four lines below. (Many of today’s golfers may find it hard to relate to the word picture I have drawn.)

Narin Golf Club, Scotland – 1986

The old proprietor ‘s greeting
On a windy cloudy day;
Nothing fancy, nothing false,
You couldn’t wait to play.

Leon S White, PhD

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Tiger’s Back

TigerWoods1997

Today Tiger begins yet another comeback from back surgery. The scenario has become familiar. The question is whether the outcome will be different. I have tried to recast all of this in four short lines.

Tiger’s Back

Tiger’s back?
Two questions in one?
Will it hold up in play?
Is his winning done?

Leon S White, PhD

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Golf’s Wonder

stand in awe

Ben Hogan once said, “[Golf] is a game of misses.” Search through this Blog and you will find many poems about the agonies related to such “misses.” So, this week, I offer four lines devoted to the rare shot that is not a “miss.”

Golf’s Wonder

When you see a golf ball fly
Exactly as you planned,
Then you briefly sense golf’s wonder
As you watch it land.

Leon S White, PhD

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The Agonies of Golfing

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Edgar A Guest, born in England in 1881, worked for the Detroit Free Press for more than 60 years. He was also a popular poet and a golfer. In part, he used his poetry to agonize over his inability to play better golf. In December 1921 Guest published a poem called “Golf Experience” in Golfers Magazine.  Here are a few excerpts.

I’ve golfed throughout another year,
Drifting snows will soon be here,
And now I view with discontent
This season that so soon was spent;
Once more I dubbed the whole year through,
Nor did I make an eighty-two.
……….
I blundered all through early June,
I could not use my trusty spoon,
But hope still stayed–ere summer fell
I knew I should be playing well
……….
August still found me keeping on
With scores unfit to look upon
……….
The same old dub that was am I,
I don’t improve howe’er I try;
Lessons and practice all in vain,
With me the hook or slice remain
But still to hope I fondly cling,
I know I’ll play the game next spring.

Proses can’t compete with poetry when it comes to extolling the agonies of playing the game and the never-ending hope of improvement.

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A Year Without Tiger

TigerWoods1997

Tiger Woods recently announced that he will return (again) to playing competitive golf. He has not played on the PGA Tour for almost a year. For those of us who have watched Tiger play for many years, this announcement is welcome. Maybe he will regain form and remind us of how great he was years ago.

But, for me, this year of golf with no Tiger was not often compelling.

Tiger Missing

Didn’t watch much golf this year
Not a lot to cheer about
Spieth had his moments, Thomas too;
But I missed Tiger -What about you?

Leon S White, PhD

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At the End of Another Golf Season

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Each golf season, at least for me, has begun with hopes and expectations of improvement. By the time a season ends, a keen mind can recall a few instances when improvement was evident. A compassionate mind will overlook other cases where expectations were dashed by inelegant play. 

Yet perfection is the hope of many golfers. For me the idea of “perfect golf” and the true enjoyment of the game are antithetical. I tried to explain this viewpoint in the following poem.

Perfect Golf

If,
in every game all greens were hit
and each was then one putted
would golf as a game
still be the same
its mystery all but gutted?

Errorless play may be the goal
but when you come down to it
to play the best
would end the test
so . . .
would you want to do it?

Leon S White, PhD

 

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With Thanks to Richard Wilber

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Last year I published a book called Opposites in Golf. The 32 poems in the book were all based on the idea of taking a word (in my book the word was related to golf) and then going on a poetic search for its opposite. The idea was originated by the great American poet, Richard Wilber. Wilber passed away a few days ago at age 96. 

One of Wilber’s shortest opposites poem may also be one of his best,

What is the opposite of two?
A lonely me, a lonely you.

 In my book, I also included a two line poem,

What’s the opposite of flub?
To hit it flush with any club.

When I first began to write opposites poems, I sent a few to Mr. Wilber. He wrote back, “Tennis has always been my game …but I see enough golf … to understand you very well, and to know that a number of words like putt and tee are waiting to claim your attention.” And they did and here’s one of them,

What is the opposite of tea?
It’s coffee we would all agree.
But avid golfers might start yelling,
Insisting on a different spelling.

For them,

A tee is wooden; its top is round
To place a golf ball above ground.
Remove the tee and then alas,
A tee’s opposite must be grass.

May Mr. Wilber’s memory be an abiding blessing.

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Rough

Carnoustie-Golf-Club-wildflowers-rough

Yesterday, my wife and I went to the funeral of a very close friend. It has often been said that golf provides metaphors for life.To which I would add … from beginning to end.

Rough

A close friend could not escape the rough;
One of a kind, that was him for sure.
His handicap was just too high;
Hit with an illness without a cure.

Leon S White, PhD

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Not With a Bang

TigerWoods1997

When asked at a President’s Cup press conference last week if he would play again, Tiger Woods responded, “I don’t know what my future holds.” Recently it was also reported that in his attempt at recovery he had gone beyond putting and was now hitting shots with his wedges. These reports led me to the following (with apologies to T.S. Eliot),

Not With a Bang

If Tiger is through,
Then so ends our riches –
Not with a bang,
But 60 yard pitches.

Leon S White, PhD

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Cost of Putters

Golf_Improve_Swing_Joke (1)

Periodically, you hear the story about a pro who sours on his/her putter. Before the tournament begins, the pro goes to the pro-shop, picks a putter out of a barrel of used putters, and then goes on to win the event. It does happen.

But most pros and the rest of us add to our collection of putters, from time to time, by buying a new one … that feels just right. New putters today seem to be getting more expensive. Hence my observation:

The Cost of Putters

Have you noticed the price of putters?
Many $200 and more;
They could be considered a bargain
If only they lowered your score.

Leon S White, Phd

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