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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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Cost of Putters

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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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The Impossible Shot

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A golf game can be described as a series of disappointments interrupted from time to time by an opportunity for rejoicing. For most golfers those opportunities occur just frequently enough to maintain the illusion that with a little more practice and some luck we can become more proficient players. This week’s verse focuses on a success amid failures.

The Impossible Shot

From time to time we make that shot
Instead of just imploding;
Then brief delight is our lot
And we make like Vesuvius exploding.

Leon S White, PhD

 

This Blog has been active for almost nine years and contains more than 200 Posts. If you have time, search though earlier years for a variety of longer golf poems. If you are an avid golfer, I’m sure you will relate with feeling to what these golf poets wrote.

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Guitar or Golf

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Last week I posted a verse with a universal observation about the challenge of practicing properly. After another week of serious guitar practicing (at the expense of golf practice), I offer the following:

Guitar or Golf

Practice is practice,
But with guitar a rub;
It’s the music that swings
Instead of a club.

Leon S White, PhD

 

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The Shakespeare Connection

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I thought I’d give this week’s Post a little class by linking it to a real poet.

 

The Shakespeare Connection

Just as Shakespeare
links to bard,
So does “Swing easy”
To “Hit it hard.”

Leon S White, PhD

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Par The Last

Hole in One

Shakespeare wrote “All’s Well that Ends Well.” In psychology there is a precept called the “peak-end rule” which states that the way an experience ends determines the happiness we ascribe to it. In golf, the effect of the rule might be described as,

Par The Last

Bogey after bogey,
You’re failing the test,
Par the last hole . . .
And you forget the rest!

Leon S White, PhD

 

Please come back next week for another poetic observation on golf.

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Trapped

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How many times have you heard or read “It’s easy to get out of a trap” or “Bunker shots are easy.” Here is my view,

Trapped

If you’ve found that your ball
Came to rest in the sand;
Were the rules more obliging
You’d remove it by hand.

Leon S White, PhD

 

Hope you will come back next week for another break from the prose of golf.

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Roughly Speaking

 

Pic for Roughly Speaking

Last week I mentioned my book, Opposites in Golf.  It consists of a series of 32 poems. Each takes a golfing term or expression and then embarks on a poetic adventure seeking its opposite. Here is an example.

ROUGHLY SPEAKING

What is the opposite of rough?
Smooth an answer, not too tough.
But golfers might say, “Wait a minute,
Rough, we’d rather not be in it.
The fairway that is our suggestion.
The opposite of rough, no question.”

Leon S White, PhD

 

Please come back next week for another golf poem to remember when you are in the rough!

 

 

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Understanding Golf in Four Lines

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I recommend that you memorize this week’s four line advisory. It will come in handy the next time anger gets the best of you on the golf course. And if you have friends who need this advice, please feel free to recite it to them.

In all seriousness, these four lines will help you to enjoy golf more, if you take their meaning to heart. 

Understanding Golf

When on-course failings
Set your mind aflame,
Try to remember
Golf’s just a game.

LSW

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Tee It Forward

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Last week I played behind a foursome of 60-some year olds who were playing from the white tees. Over nine holes I would bet that none of them ever reached a green in regulation. It seems that for some men teeing it forward (playing from the tee that gives you a decent chance to make a par) is as difficult as adjusting to a receding hair line. Golf course designers offer closer tees so that men (and women) who drive shorter distances can still have fun and sometimes make a decent score. Failure in golf is the rule, but to insure failure by playing from the wrong tees just doesn’t make sense and slows down the game for the groups following. 

With these thoughts in mind, I offer the following verse, which reduces the above paragraph to four lines (the beauty of poetry),

Tee it Forward

When you’re coming up short on every hole,
and not lighting any cigars;
When you’re totally frustrated with how you play,
Tee it forward and start making pars.

LSW

If you want to pass on the idea at your club, post this four-liner on the bulletin board. (Attribution is not required.)

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