Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

January 16, 2014

VALLEY: To play the game, play their game

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I’m subscribed to a golf magazine. I love golf but I might as well be subscribed to a quantum physics magazine as far as absorbing something useful by simply reading it. When it comes to learning from the how-to-improve-your-play articles, I have a better chance of figuring out what makes Dennis Rodman tick. 

But I like to look at the pictures. It’s a habit I picked up as a teenage boy.

I think that many 20-plus handicap duffers such as myself have the delusion that by merely paying for a monthly subscription, your name will get back to the who’s-who in the industry, and they will somehow pass it on to the golf gods who administer talent.

After subscribing, and because you laid down a buck or two in the name of the game, you’ll be hitting longer and straighter drives as a reward. (And thus, you will no longer have the need to carry around that enormous eraser on the course, telling everyone who asks that it’s just an energy bar.)

I’m convinced it’s no coincidence that anyone who hooks and slices the ball like he’s using a 16-pound ax instead of a three-wood has never bought a copy of Golf Digest. You literally “gotta pay your dues” and placate those in “higher places” when dealing with something beyond your earthly control. At least, if you have any desire to be feared on the links for your accuracy instead of your inaccuracy. (Like my sharpshooting friend, “Bullseye Buck.”)

And for me, golf is definitely beyond my earthly control. In fact, I’m the only guy around who has to yell “Fore!” after a putt. That’s why I have several five-foot tall stacks of old golf magazines in the garage. I’m taking no chances. If it takes supernatural powers to lower my handicap, I’m in. I can’t imagine how bad I’d be if not for them.

You have to play the golf gods’ game to play the game.

Honestly, I have no idea what the magazine articles are even talking about. It’s like I’m reading the Dead Sea Scrolls. I’ve searched Craigslist for an Enigma machine just to see if it could decipher and unscramble the terminology being used.

“Inside-out swing,” “out-side in swing,” “rotate,” “setting your wrists early,” “hinging,” “cupping,” “too steep,” blah, blah, blah ...

Here’s another true example of what I’m dealing with: In one issue, Phil Mickelson explained how to hit a specific shot. His instructions said to keep the front “heel down (on the ground) for better arm extension.” Simple enough.

But two pages later, golf instructor David Leadbetter explained his technique on the very same shot: Many players “would be well-advised to raise the left (front) heel.”

What do you do?

I know what I do: I pay for the subscription, look at the pictures and stack the magazines in the garage.

And hang on to my “energy bar.”

And that’s the way it looks from the Valley.

Tom Valley is a confused individual from Medina who would be totally dismayed if all was right in his life and he had nothing to complain about. Reach him with comments at: Tvalley@rochester.rr.com.