Dec 25

Christmas Spirit and Golf This Year

Golf Better the Christmas Spirit of Universal Acceptance

At least on the commercial side of Christmas spirit, the national feeding frenzy, the global avarice hour, the materialistic melee has come and gone. All over the world, some form of golfabilia has appeared under the tree, in oblong, ribboned boxes and cartons, in magazine subsciptions, in the form of putting gadgets and computer simulations, wiffle balls and nets, great rubber-banded gadgets that strap around shoulders to hold swings in the track, Medieval braces to hold the head down, on and on, then on some more.

christmas 1 Yes, we spent a lot of money on the tools of the game this year, not to mention lessons and driving range coupons, and perhaps even tickets to a PGA or LPGA event. But what about the Christmas spirit on the more personal side of the game, the part that makes us enjoy it so much…sometimes? Where did the Christmas spirit go when we came home from the course acting as if we just came home from a war? Why didn’t all those new super-futuristic clubs and gadgets cure all of our golfing problems like we prayed they would? Why are we still ticked off when the quadruple on 13 ruined what might have been the best round of our lives, if it hadn’t also been for fifteen and seventeen as well?
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Being fully aware that in about a week, New Year’s resolutions are due, it might go easier on some of us to lighten up now. New Year’s resolutions are grim, bitter things if you arrive already grim and bitter. Better to treat yourself with a dose of Christmas spirit early than to throw yourself against the brick walls of unreachable goals – better the Christmas spirit of universal acceptance.

For starters, I’m going to take a moment to appreciate the group of playing partners I was able to put together for the first round of January. I’m going to slow down my swing and shorten the backswing on the first driver of the year, abandoning the idea that I’ve got to out-drive these idiots, or die trying. In the first round of January, I’m going to be liberal with mulligans for my fellow man – “Oh, sorry, I was talking,” I’ll say. “The wind took it,” I’ll say – “Hit another.”

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For the first week of January, I’m going to turn the other way, the other cheek, at my opponent’s…uh, that is, my friends’ surreptitious “foot wedges.” I’m going to take one, maybe two strokes off their desperate ten minute swing frenzy in the woods. I won’t even ask them,,,I’ll just put it on the card, and let my halo shine. My Christmas spirit will add six…no, maybe eight inches to every gimme between January 1 and 10. I’ll forget that I had the honors, and let my colleagues go before me. It won’t matter. I’ll still annihilate them in distance, and by splitting the fairway perfectly. I’ll let them drive the new golf cart, and let all three try out my new X-31BBZ death ray Darth Vader driver, loan a new ball to anyone who needs it for a water hole they’ve never cleared in their whole life, and commit to their daughters’ violin recitals next week. And, at the end of the day, I’ll buy the first round, and disagree with all the moaning about how horrible their games are, even though it’s absolutely true. Next, I’ll muster all the Christmas spirit I have left, and go home, smiling and saying “Well, dear, I hit some good shots and some bad shots, but it was a lot of fun…even though my score was 25 strokes over my handicap, and I’m capable of major felonies in the moment.

And, when my Christmas spirit begins to falter around the 10th of January, all bets are off. I’m going to beat those three so-and-sos until they go home in a barrel, and I’ll tear myself apart for the quadruple on thirteen. How I wish this holiday could last longer.
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