I have a list that I look at before I go golfing. It’s a list of things I need to take to the course. I put the list together because on different occasions I have forgotten, at least once, most of the items on it.
For example, one item is “14 clubs.” I left my putter at home once. Took it out of the bag to practice with and forgot to put it back in. I’ve left my sand wedge home. Same reason. Forgot a towel once. It’s pretty hard to hit a decent shot with dirt all over the clubface. Forgot my golf shoes several times. That wasn’t too critical, I got by with it. After a while I stopped looking at the list because I thought I had it all down. Big mistake.
I’ve been playing golf lately with my wife and sons on alternate Sundays. We go to an 18-hole executive course, bat the ball around, and have a great time together. My wife drives, I take a nap along the way, and we meet our boys there.
When we arrived at the course the last time we played, I got out of the car and walked back to the trunk to get my golf shoes. As I did, this terrible feeling came over me that I had left them at home. Sure enough, they weren’t there. The reason that I had a terrible feeling, and not just a feeling, is that the shoes I had on weren’t really shoes.
They were a pair of moccasins.
That would be OK, I thought. I could walk around the course if we didn’t go too fast. You see, I got the moccasins on sale and they were a size too big, so I can’t walk fast in them without walking right out of them. But I could manage.
So we all teed off on the first hole, which is on a hill about a hundred feet above the green. We walked down a gravel path to the ground below, and it hit me. It had been raining lately, and the ground was soaking wet. Not only that, it was early in the day and the grass was covered with dew.
I just thought if I walked carefully, my moccasins wouldn’t get too wet. Silly me.
By the eighth hole my socks were soaked through and by the twelfth the moccasins were entirely soaked. It was not comfortable. Did I mention it was less than 50 degrees out and my feet were kind of cold?
But in the midst of this travail, I found the cloud with the silver lining. Since I had no spikes on and was supported by wet socks inside wet shoes that were too big, and the ground was wet and slick, I couldn’t take my usual swipe at the ball. I had to swing . . . easy. Of course I had to, or I would have fallen down.
And you know what? Out of eighteen full swings I took that day, there were seventeen beautiful shots and one, just one, clinker. Seventeen shots that took off straight, high and with authority. Shots I might hit half the time on a good day, I was hitting every time. I had not hit the ball that well all year. All because of the easy swing which I had no choice but to make.
After the round I bought a new pair of socks from the pro shop and had a pleasant ride home with my feet jammed up against the heater vent. When we got home I put the moccasins out to dry. Mistake #2.
Wet leather shrinks when it dries out. I had forgotten this. I should have put some shoe trees in them. By Wednesday the moccasins were completely dry and one size smaller. But that’s OK, because remember how they were too big? Now they fit just right.
Somehow, even after pulling two real boners, I came out smelling like a rose. Just goes to show you. Someone up there must love me. Even so, I’m back to checking the list before I leave for the course.
The Fates forgive honest mistakes, but they don’t suffer fools, especially ones who don’t learn from the best golf swing lesson they ever had.
My new book, The Golfing Self, is now available at www.therecreationalgolfer.com. It will change everything about the way you play.