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A Poet’s Approach to Fixing a Slice

golf-slice

When you look up “slice swing,” Google provides 1,540,000 results! But, then, the number of slicers is still far larger. So this Post is aimed, sympathetically, at all of you who seek to straighten out your swings.

The truth is that golfers have always been frustrated with balls that veered sharply right (for a right-hander). And instruction books from the beginning have tried to help duffers find a cure. Take, for example, the famous book The Badminton Library: Golf, written and edited by Horace G. Hutchinson and first published in 1890. In a chapter titled “Out of Form,” Sir Walter Simpson, member and once captain of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, writes,

“Whether in the case of a beginner or an old player, the ball when driven has a great tendency to curve off to the right. There is perhaps nothing more difficult to get rid of than this form of bad driving. … It is very evident that to enable him to correct the result the player must know what is its cause or combination of causes.”

Simpson then goes on for more than six pages describing the causes and then suggesting cures. One hundred and nineteen years later, the number of book and magazine pages devoted to slicing has only dramatically increased.

Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959), who was born in England, worked as a writer for the Detroit Free Press for more than 60 years. Guest described himself as a “newspaper man who wrote verses.” Over his career he wrote more than 11,000 poems with a number devoted to golf. Among his golf poems was “A Golfer’s Wish,” his personal plea to escape slicing.

A Golfer’s Wish

I have no wish to dress in silk,
I do not care to wear a crown,
I do not yearn to bathe in milk,
Or champagne wash my dinner down.

(But) should a fairy, kind and good,
Grant me one favor, without price,
I’d made this golfer’s prayer, I would:
“Oh, kindly rid me of my slice!”

Enough to eat, enough to wear,
And strength to do my daily task,
With now and then a chance to fare
On pleasure’s ways, is all I ask.

You that have never swung a club
And drawn its face across the ball,
And muttered to yourself, “You dub!”
As in a curve you watched it fall,

May never guess the rage that lies
Within that shortened arc of flight,
Nor how men curse the fall that flies
With loss of distance, to the right.

But every golfing fiend will know
Why gold and fame I’d sacrifice,
If but some fairy, good, would show
Me how to drive without a slice.

(The above poem is a shortened, slightly edited version. The complete poem is in Lyrics of the Links, compiled by Henry Litchfield West and published in 1921.)

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Comments

  1. Great…

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