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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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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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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

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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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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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Par The Last

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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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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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Reflecting on the 2017 Open Championship

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July 24, 2017

If you saw yesterday’s final round of the Open, I hope this week’s verse may reflect your feelings as well.

Reflecting on the 2017 Open Championship

Viewing an awesome Open finish,
Like the one we saw today;
Other reminders not really needed,
Why it’s golf  we watch and play.

Leon S White, PhD

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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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