By: Vanessa Forbes-Pateman
A Tiger walks onto the lawn with a metal club and an egg…No, seriously.
Tiger Wood has again proved why he is still King of American Golf. Did you guys see Tiger baby shark his way back to being King of The Hill in golf with that win in Atlanta? I’m not saying the winning numbers for the lottery will contain 80, but if I was a betting person, I’d chose some combination of eight and zero. It’s hard to digest that Tiger’s last win was 5 years ago; that’s 43800 hours previous to this win at the PGA Tour Atlanta. Yo, and he did it under par. Par is loosely defined in golf as “the standard or average number of golf strokes considered to complete a hole or course in expert play” (dictionary.cambridge.org).
So back to Tiger…I love watching him play, when he’s in top form, his precision is uncanny. And on a sunny Sunday this September, he just had the right crease in his chinos and his golf shoes were on fire. He opened his game with a 65, and maintained it with a 68, with a three-shot lead after 54 holes; Tiger looked like his old self as he meandered to victory (http://www.usatoday.com). The swagger, the crouch and eagle-eyed look to make sure that ball was lined up right and BAM, just like that, he proved why he’s so badass. I just mentally saw him doing the baby shark chomp with much darker music playing in the background (think Jaws) …do do do do do do do….and there it was, under par cruises to win number 80. Golf is like when all the nerdy smart kids do something cool and everybody gathers to watch, fascinated in a weird “so science is actually cool” pop-rocks-soda-experiment kinda way. It’s like Sesame Street and Bert does the pigeon, it’s so awkward that it works.
Golf is normally played on an out-door course, and it’s basically hitting a little egg-shaped disc into holes, with the least amount of hits to get it in the hole scoring you the greatest amount of points. Basically, grown folks dress in preppy colorful chinos with polo shirts and chase a little white sphere around on the grass, hitting it with a metal club. If they’re lucky, it doesn’t rain, it isn’t windy, and no animal thinks the white sphere is their egg and runs away with it. Think Harry Potter and Quidditch, specifically the Seeker Position (but with no bludgers, no animosity or trash talking, and damnit no brooms). Do you know that during the 2014 Australian PGA Tour, a crow flew off with Sam Evan’s ball? (http://www.golf.com/2014/12/13/bird-steals-samuel-eaves-ball-australian-pga). Don’t worry, he wasn’t penalized, there are rules for that: the crow was an outside agency and the ball was at rest.
Grab your besties and head out to the nearest well-manicured lawn and proceed to whack-a-mole. No, on a serious note, find a local course and grab your besties and your bag. I want to iterate here that a well-stocked golf bag should contain a maximum of 14 clubs (there’s no minimum), golf tees and of course golf balls. Ladies, this ain’t your MK bag, even though he did just buy Versace; there is an actual golf bag. Yes, you can match it to your Air-Force Ones. However, for the forward-thinking fashionista, you can get brightly hued golf sleeves for your gold clubs (since I live by everything Caribbean, my golf bag be decked out like a Rastafarian’s dreadlocks in hues of red, green and black or just pink depending on my mood). If it doesn’t matter, I’d just make sure you have all your clubs, because if you really get going you don’t wanna have to keep borrowing from a friend (this slows the game wayyyy down) or be that guy who rents them from the Pro shop. I usually insist my besties bring their own, cause you ain’t fitting to kill my vibe by slowing me down; this ain’t who want to be a millionaire, you can’t just be phoning a friend to borrow a club.
It’s best to call ahead to make a reservation or “tee-time”. Tee-Time/Tee-Off is how you’d start off the game or course: just fix your stance, whack-a-mole and make that little sucker fly. Although I am a righy-tighty, I actually find it more comfortable to tee-off from my left (awkward but hey it works for me). It might be because the person who taught me was left-handed and it looked/felt awkward to me to swing my club with my dominant hand. When you tee-off, you swivel your hips toward the direction you hit the ball, which makes for more solid contact. Imagine you’re at ballet, warming up at the barre, going from a half pique turn into a large battement but you don’t complete a full kick. Or imagine you’re watching one of those old 80s work-out videos with big permed hair, and highlighter colored thighs and thongs (egad, what were they thinking) …you know that move where they look constipated and they swivel their hips forward in a jerking tuck…yeah that super weird one…yeah do that but with a pelvic thrust. Remember to grunt attractively yet aggressively as you connect with the ball, it gives it that extra oomph to make it arc through the air. I will admit here that, due to my unusual golf swing, I probably look like a broken ostrich. I exist within the awkwardness of movements from dance, running, volleyball and AR/VR because life is a series of movement in spatial choreography for me.
You really, really want to wear proper clothes and shoes, although you don’t need the gloves and stuff. I just throw my workout gloves in my bag, cause some days ain’t nobody got time to be styling and profiling on the golf course. Ladies, don’t forget that baseball cap because golf is one long ass meandering walk over manicured lawn (think Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp), it fittin to get hot, but there’s no tea and cakes and you don’t want sunburn. To decide who goes first, you and your besties can just rock-paper-scissors. To tee-off, look for little white cones (called a tee), set your ball between them and give it a good hard whack. Game progression happens via the honor system, so the player with the best scores goes first, until everyone in your party has played, remember to keep in mind that ties carry over. Note that you would usually play the ball as it lies, don’t forget to keep up a good pace because groups either play ahead or behind you. If your game has slowed down, it is customary and considered polite golf etiquette to let the group behind you play through if they have caught up to you. Watch for water hazards and just enjoy the game. Don’t abuse the golf cart this isn’t Super Mario Bros and you shouldn’t chase down other drivers and for goodness sack please don’t play chicken.
The best part of a great game of golf is the camaraderie and of course the food and drinks after. Just so you know, The Rock Island Forrest Preserve has a golf course and you can test out your skills there or just stick to mini golf and have your friends cheer from the sidelines like it’s the PGA/LPGA depending on your crowd. I play a mean game of mini-golf too, I can do the righty-tighty on that because it less awkward and well who cares when you’re having fun.
Oh, yeah the Europeans effectively shut down the Americans by winning the Ryder Cup again in 2018. Yo, that’s six straight Ryder Cups on home soil and in Paris (my favorite city, it’s where I got engaged)!!!! What a time to be alive. Ian Poulter and the two rookies Thorbjorn Olesen and Jon Rahmso brought that play to a screeching halt, making the Americans look lame after they had cut the lead to one. So, on another note, did anybody see that the Pats beat the Dolphins in that weird mosh pit on Sunday? What happened? Ugh… Now all these Pats fans think Brady’s back…. Join me in this space next week where I’ll walk you through some other interesting sports mash-ups and other interesting highlights.