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Old Golf Axioms

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As an old mathematician, I like axioms, even if they are related to golf rather than to probability theory. I found the ones below in Robert H. K. Browning’s classic book, “A History of Golf.” Please excuse slight liberties taken in turning them into a rhyming poem.

Old Golf Axioms*

Here are three axioms I discovered in Browning.
Basic but true, please take them down,
That driving is strictly an art,
Approach play a science apart,
And putting’s an inspiration – this one is crowning.

Leon S White, PhD

*From Robert H. K. Browning’s “A History of Golf”

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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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Recite Golf Poetry

Recite Golf Poetryh

What do you think of my Father’s Day present? 

My golf secret is revealed in this week’s poem. It contains a tip that your won’t get from your golf pro.  

Recite Golf Poetry

Recite golf poetry
To lower your score
If one doesn’t do it
Recite two or three more!

LSW

It works for me. Let me know how it works for you. But remember, it only works for golf poetry!

 

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Golfing Truths

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I’ve been offering some of my four line golf poems for a while now. But such short verses of golf advice or “wisdom” certainly didn’t begin with me. Below are two on the same theme from an earlier time.

From the December 1875 issue of Blackwood”s Edinburgh Magazine:

The apple-faced sage with
His nostrum for all,
“Dinna hurry your swing, keep

     Your e’e on the ball.”

And from the English Golf Magazine of February 1891:

In playing strokes of every kind,
     This rule remember above all:

Let confidence possess your mind,
     And “keep your eye upon the ball.”

And we still have to be reminded today!!

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Shooting Your Age

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The week’s four line poem came to me after watching a recent HBO Special called “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.” The cast featured Carl Reiner who is 95 and a bunch of his friends (and a few others) who are 90 and over. Since I’m 81 and still an avid golfer, while watching I though about shooting my age. Here is what I came up with,

Shooting Your Age

To shoot your age
Stay out of the rough,
But just to make sure . . .
Live long enough!

LSW

 

Please tell your poetically inclined golfing friends about this Blog (golfpoet.com). And come back yourself next Monday for another brief excursion into golf poetry. Thanks.

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Jason Dufner on Putting

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It was reported today (June 5, 2017) that Jason Dufner, the winner of last week’s Memorial Tournament, has found a way to improve his putting. When over the ball, he concentrates on his breathing. 

“I’m just focused on my breathing,” Dufner said. “That’s a conscious thought for me and then I let the putt and the motion of the stroke be subconscious and natural.”

He may have something there, but then again . . . . .

Jason Dufner on Putting

Think about your breathing’s what Dufner says
Calls it “subconscious” putting, give it a spin
But while you’re at it, keep your head still
Then you really have a chance that your putt goes in.

Leon S White, PhD

 

Please come back next week for the next golf poetry Post.

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When Golf is not a Metaphor for Life

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Golf is often described as a metaphor for life. Well, recently I read an article in the Boston Globe that got me to thinking maybe there are exceptions. 

The story was about an employer who interviewed four your people for a job. He selected one and decided to be honest with the other three as to why they were not chosen. He told one of the unselected that she was disqualified because of her casual dress. In response the woman said that she would sue! Not sure for what, but the criticism was not well taken, to say the least.

That got me to thinking about responses to criticism. And here is what I came up with:

When Golf is not Life’s Metaphor

More often than not when criticized
The chance to improve is rejected
In golf when critical advice is offered
More often than not it’s respected.

Leon S White, PhD

 

Given Tiger’s recent problem and the reactions to it, the latest on the op-ed page of the New York Times today (June 3, 2017), I thought I’d add an additional four lines:

For Tiger

Tiger’s down but he’s not out
Haters jumped at the chance to shout
But quieter voices now have his ear
With heartening words he needs to hear.

LSW

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Help With Your Putting

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We’re back to four line poems with a focus on putting.

I’m sure that most of you have missed a putt and then later thrown down a second ball on the same spot and made that one. The poem below suggests a way to incorporate this experience into your putting routine.

Putting Help

To improve your putting without a doubt
And avoid the usual pain and chagrin
Pretend you’ve already putted and missed
Your “second try” will always go in.

Leon S White, PhD

With Father’s Day coming soon, let me suggest the most unexpected and entertaining gift you could select: One of my two soft-cover books, Golf Course of Rhymes – Links between Golf and Poetry Through the Ages or Opposite in Golf – Portrayed in Poetry as Opposed to Prose. Both are available on Amazon. Thanks for taking a look.

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Golf Secrets not Intel

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For the past four weeks I have posted four line poems. I plan to continue. However, since “secrets” are in the news, I thought I would interrupt the four line poems in favor of a poem that I wrote recently called “Golf Secrets.” 

GOLF SECRETS

Google “golf secrets” and what do you get?
Over 30 million sites to explore
All these “secrets” which are anything but
Guaranteed to lower your score!

Putting secrets, more than a few
Secrets that help with your short game as well
But why are all the experts who know them
So ready, willing  and eager to tell?

Full swing secrets are most numerous
And come in endless variety
Some intended to let you hit straighter
Others claiming to reduce anxiety. 

 The pros, I suppose, all believe in secrets
Untold thoughts that let them excel
Hogan kept his quiet the longest
Until semiretired he would not tell.

He finally did reveal his secret
In ’55 as Herb Wind reported
Not sure how many have understood
The details being descriptively contorted.

It may be that “secrets” is really a code word
A way of dressing up all those golf tips
Like calling a common seafood concoction
Something more esoteric than fish and chips.

But the problem is with all the secrets
That drowned us golfers from Jan to December
When out on a course and in need of help
We know there’s one, but just can’t remember.

Leon S White, PhD

(The “Herb Wind” referred to in the 5th stanza is Herbert Warren Wind, one of the top three golf writers of the 20th century. He wrote mostly for the New Yorker Magazine, but shifted to Sports Illustrated from 1954 -1960. Wind wrote at least one golf poem. Search under his name to find it and more information about Wind.)

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Par Four Golf Poems – 4: Gift Horse

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On this Blog, for the past three weeks, I have published four line golf poems with a similar characteristic: the last word of the third line is the same as the first word of the fourth line.

That’s Golf 

Step up to the ball
Stance just so wide
Swing with abandon
Abandon your pride.

Reality 

To the first tee
With the driver you trust
Follow your plan
Plan to adjust.

Thoughts

Game under water
Voices of dread
Running on empty
Empty your head.

I’ve written one more that is relevant but not limited to golf.

Gift Horse

When favored by luck
Don’t take a pass
Find the next step
Step on the gas.

Leon S White, PhD

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