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Teed Off (09-09-2012)

Update: September, 11/2012 - 22:53

with Robert Bicknell

Golf is probably one of the most frustrating games on the planet because you have absolutely no idea how you will play on any given day. You roll out of bed in a great mood, stretch a bit and grab some breakfast then head to the course feeling like a million bucks.

Unfortunately, once you hit that first shot, everything that follows is uncertain and to make matters worse, you can swing and feel the same way on two days and come away with very different scores.

This is golf and it is a four letter word. Many pundits have theorized that the reason why it's called "golf" is because all the other really good four-letter words were already taken. Yes, you can spell it backwards and come up with "flog" which is apt as well, but the words I am thinking cannot be printed in a family newspaper.

Yes, I played a tournament recently. Can't you tell by my cheerful demeanor?

I whipped around Dalat Palace GC the week before and shot 71 in 90 minutes. Yes, it was all 18 holes and the only gimmies were well inside the leather. I was hitting all the shots I wanted and felt great.

Then I went to HCMC for the "Swing For Life" charity golf tournament last Friday and was ok through seven holes and after that everything went downhill.

I know you are waiting for me to blame my caddie for not knowing her right from her left or not being able to read a comic book, much less a green, but that wasn't the real problem. When it comes to green reading, the caddie only gives you her opinion but the player is responsible for making the decision on what line to play and pulling the trigger.

What I realized is that, despite my fitness craze (who is shared by another pro who shall remain nameless but was razzed about it by another pro in the group) I am getting old.

Yes, I said it. I am getting old. Man, that truly sucks to admit.

The reason I play well at Dalat Palace or Royale City has nothing to do with my swing or the course conditions, although I freely admit I feel more at home on bent grass greens, but because I use a buggy when playing there.

During the Swing For Life event, we all walked. The temperatures were, of course, much higher than I am used to in Dalat, but that was easily compensated for by eating a lot of fruit and drinking a lot of water.

It was the walking that killed me.

I have become a gym rat and suck down enough health supplements to fill a dumpster, but no matter how strong I get (which is considerable compared to before I started weight training), it doesn't cure arthritis. Except for this, I am as healthy as a horse.

In the past, the glucosamine / chondroitan pills helped a bit, but not any longer. Cortisone shots in the foot helped a bit before as well, but wear off too fast now and Ibuprofen doesn't make a dent in the pain. Narcotics are out of the question for many reasons.

I am not looking forward to surgery and have been putting it off as long as possible in hopes some miracle cure will appear on the horizon. Yes, believe it or not, I am an eternal optimist (and that sound you just heard were my associates snorting derisively).

There really is no way to describe the feeling of playing golf when you can barely stand up, much less building torque on the back foot. Once I hit the 8th hole, the pain begins to build and by the end of the round, I am shuffling along like a demented geriatric.

What I find ironic is that for many years I have advocated against the use of buggies in tournaments but now I find myself looking for that magic loophole called "medical condition."

In the past, we didn't allow buggies except for elderly players and those with a medical condition, so now you can bet that in future events I will show up with a doctor's letter.

There is no reason to torture yourself out there, unless you are me and enjoy having something to complain about. — VNS

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