I don’t play that much golf. Not really. But somehow (I’m not sure exactly) I got on the golf gift list. Somewhere down the road I got put on a list that says that I would be happy to receive golf-related items as gifts for all occasions. I would like to be removed form that list now. Please.
I play golf about a dozen times a year. I play reasonably well, which to me means that I’ve never hit anyone else with a driven golf ball, yet. It also means that I’ve never lost my temper to the point where I caused damage. I have no interest in getting any more serious about golf, honestly.
It is my belief that no one should be serious about golf.
Because, it’s golf.
And yet, everyone else would really like to see just that happen. It is absolutely amazing how nice, how giving, even total strangers are when it comes to golf expertise. Every time I play, people always want to tell me how I could play better, if I’d just move my shoulder in, turn my hips this way, and maybe take a lesson.
I play golf a dozen times a year.
I’m not going to get serious about it.
You can all stop trying.
I know why I’ll never be much better at golf. I’m unwilling to take that next step, which would be subscribing to a golf magazine. I don’t think I’ll ever subscribe to a golf magazine. I’m not here today to criticize those of you who read this sort of thing. Do you get joy by sitting in a hammock on a Saturday, reading “How to Correct that Nasty Slice,” “Nine Iron Magic,” and “Bunker Blues”? Have at it. I’m sure that some of my interests and habits are a snore to others. But I’m just not that committed to golf.
Besides. The only place I ever see golf magazines are at my dentist. Now the sight of them makes my molars ache.
If you do subscribe to a golf magazines (or several, if you’re my dentist) you automatically get placed on the Golf Gift list and will receive nothing but golf-related gifts for every holiday for the next millennium. Congratulations.
The way it happened to me was that my boss gave me golf clubs. It was a rare and wonderful gesture on his part. And they’re very, very nice golf clubs, about as expensive as they get. They’re some sort of Berthas. Big Bertha. Wide Bertha. Fat Bertha. Bertha Butt.
Who knew that Jimmy Castor was a golfer?
The power of the new Berthas was such that I actually spent one summer, two years ago, playing golf. I must have played fifteen times before I caught myself. I was actually setting the alarm one night at bedtime, on a Friday night, planning to get up early on a Saturday morning so that I could get to the golf course before all the old guys and get a round in before it got really hot. I realized this just before bed on a Friday night.
A Friday night!
I was setting my alarm on a Friday night!
Thank goodness I caught it in time and stopped, cold turkey, right then and there. I did not set my alarm. I did not get up the next morning. I did not play golf the next day. And I have not played golf since.
But I still have these Big Berthas. Don’t ask me which ones, okay? When it gets to the point where the name of your golf club sounds like it should be a character from the Flintstones and that still isn’t enough information for your friends, this is a problem. As it turns out, from what I can gather, there are not only Big Berthas, but Great Big Berthas, Really Great Big Berthas, and now, Thelmas. I saw an ad for those Thelmas the other day. They have heads the size of a football, but are made from some sort of space age material that’s as light as a piece of toast. It’s guaranteed to add 11 percent to your drive.
My drive is fine, honestly. It’s good. Eleven percent is not gonna make that much difference.
My boss was just trying to be nice. Someone had told him that I was a golfer. It was a lie, of course, but it’s better than mentioning my other habits. What would have happened had they told him what I really liked to do with my spare time?
Imagine his embarrassment, having to give me a bottle of Jergens and a towel.
Once I received these really, really bigger Berthas than anybody else had, it was impossible not to golf at least once. And so I did, at a really, really nice golf course in the Mecca for such things, South Carolina.
I could tell that it was really, really nice, because we had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to get there. Golfers, like hunters, will brag endlessly about how early they had to start just to get 18 holes in.
“Oh yeah,” they’ll gladly confess, “Me and Ernie? We got up at 3:45 just to
get Piney Beaver by 4:30 so we could sign up and get a tee time for 8. We didn’t get home until 5.” This means something to somebody, but unfortunately for Ernie, I’m not impressed.
There are two reasons to be up at 3:45 in the morning.
One is to make a lot of money doing morning radio.
The other is to be coming home from Eat n Park, just sober enough to pass out.
A lot of fellows named Trent and Brick and Cullen were there at the really, really nice golf course in the Carolinas, and they could not wait for the pro shop there at the course to open so that they could all rush in and buy some more stuff. That seems to be the main idea in playing golf. Accumulation of stuff. I once bought a golf bag when I got that gift of clubs. That and my shoes were about all I had, really. But all the other boys had all kinds of junk hanging from their golf bags. Tools and towels and expandable aluminum something-or-others were in abundance, all, I’m sure, featured in an article in a golf magazine, titled “How Going Expandable With Your Aluminum Something-or-Other Can Take Four Strokes Off Your Game!”
I hesitate to mention the fact that I am so poorly equipped, accessory-wise. If word gets around?
It’ll be years before I get a gift that I like again.
I hate to seem picky. Especially when it comes to gifts. I love gifts. Who doesn’t? And I’m grateful for any gift that I get. There’s really nothing that I need. Your company alone is fine. A nice phone call. A card. A beer. A burger. That’s great. There’s really no need to buy me any golf related item. Really. I’m serious now. I must point out, to any and all of those who have an occasion to buy me a gift. Please do not make it a golf gift.
I realize that waltzing into the golf superstore and picking up the last minute whatever is on sale is a perfect solution for someone who appears to be hard to buy for. But just because I have played golf twice a year for my entire life, please do not think that you get off the hook for birthdays, Christmas, and National Morticians Week by picking up a ten way combo yardage calculator / divot replacer / whiskey flask. Oh, no. You don’t get off that easily. If I’m going to receive something to open, falsely admire, and put somewhere, never to be seen again, I want it to be something that was an effort. Buy me a revolutionary war chess set. Show some effort.
Don’t buy me anything golf, ever, please. Actually, as I’ve mentioned, there’s no need to buy me anything at all. But especially, don’t buy me anything from the golf store. I beg.
And if you’re going to be buying someone else on that gift list a golf gift? Let me warm you. Once you start buying someone golf accessories, it puts them on a giant list. Once word gets out that they’ve accepted a golf gift, they had better prepare themselves. It’s going to be a long run. The golf gift is the only type of gift that they will then receive, no matter whether or not they actually play the game, for a period of not less than five years.
It’s similar to the mailing list I got on when I signed up to learn taxidermy at home. Suddenly, I was outted as a bird stuffer and started receiving all sorts of odd mail from right wing splinter groups whose main objective seemed, as far as I could figure out, oust the current President from office through mental telepathy. I just wanted to stuff a beaver.
Don’t get me wrong.
I don’t have a problem with golf. Everyone needs a hobby, whether it’s golf, jigsaw puzzles, or model trains, or building those little boats inside the bottles, or developing spy photos of the neighbors in your basement darkroom. I have no problem with golf as a hobby. I’m just here to warn you, as a friend. Don’t let anybody know that you play golf. Because once they know, they’ll want to buy you golf-related crap.
Once you’re on the golf-related crap-buying list, it’s very tough to get your name removed.
I don’t know anyone who truly wants to own a framed poster of the 18th green at Augusta. If you do, or if you already have that sort of thing adorning your office wall, or your den, or study, or bathroom, that’s fine. It’s none of my business. If it makes you happy, stare away. I’m just making this blanket statement now, because I know that my name is on that golf gift list. Please stop before it gets to the point of buying me any representation of a golf course hole that needs to be hung on a wall.
And the little furry stuffed animal heads that you place over your great big sonofabitchin’ Bertha to protect it from getting scratched? You know the ones I mean? The cartoon characters and fuzzy bumble bees and furry sharks? There are lots and lots of people in the world that need those under their Christmas tree. I am not one of them. As funny as a set of fuzzy titties is, complete with pink nipples, I don’t need them on my golf clubs.
Even if you love me enough to spend a fortune, please do not buy me any golf apparel, of any kind, shape, form, or size. If you really must spend four times the normal price for a shirt, go to a Penguins’ game. But please, no golf wear. Tiger can survive one more day without your money. If you were to pick a person you would most like to look like, would any of the current group of professional golfers make that list? Yeah, I’m going out tonight and I want to look good. Gee, I wonder what David Duval is wearing?
There are two items that must be worn when I’m playing golf. Sunglasses and cutoffs. This, and this alone, is the fact that prevents me from ever truly developing a need to golf. If it cannot be played in sunglasses and cutoffs, tennis shoes, no shirt, then what’s the point of playing at all? If I have to buy an outfit to play the game, I might as well be ballroom dancing.
If golf is your passion, if you read golf magazines and have little plastic topographical models of famous fairways around the world cluttering your shelves, if behind your desk sits a plaque, hand carved that reads “19th Hole,” good for you. Good for you. At least you’ve found something that can challenge you, excite you, inspire you. Golf is a wonderful game. If you have little plastic topographical models of famous fairways and plaques about golf, but really don’t care about the game one way or the other, than I must warn you.
You somehow got on the golf gift list.
And it’s a bitch trying to get your name removed.