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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

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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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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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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