Fundamental Truths About Golf

Editor’s Note: Here are some fundamental truths about golf, provided courtesy of Gary Leach. Note also the section entitled, “Coping with the Fundamentals,” which outlines how you can take advantage of the rules. Drop us a line if you have additions to either list.

· If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.

· The game of golf is 90% mental and 10% mental.

· Since bad shots come in groups of three, a fourth bad shot is actually the beginning of the next group of three.

· When you look up and cause an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

· Any change works for a maximum of three holes and a minimum of not at all.

· No matter how bad you are playing, it is always possible to play worse.

· Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

· When your shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls.

· If you're afraid a full shot might reach the green while the foursome ahead of you is still putting out, you have two options: you can immediately shank a lay-up, or you can wait until the green is clear and top a ball halfway there.

· The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share ideas about the golf swing.

· The inevitable result of any golf lesson is the instant elimination of the one critical unconscious motion that allowed you to compensate for all your errors.

· If it isn't broke, try changing your grip.

· Golfers who claim they don't cheat also lie.

· Everyone replaces his divot after a perfect approach shot.

· A golf match is a test of your skill against your opponent's luck.

· It's surprisingly easy to hole a 50-foot putt when you lie 10.

· Counting on your opponent to inform you when he breaks a rule is like expecting him to make fun of his own haircut.

· Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

· It's not a gimme if you're still away.

· The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree.

· There are two kinds of bounces: unfair bounces, and bounces just the way you meant to play it.

· You can hit a 2-acre fairway 10% of the time, and a 2-inch branch 90% of the time.

· Every time a golfer makes a birdie he must subsequently make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.

· If you want to hit a 7-iron as far as Tiger Woods, simply try to lay up just short of a water hazard.

· To calculate the speed of a player's downswing, multiply the speed of his back swing by his handicap. Example: back swing 30 mph, handicap 20, downswing 600 mph.

· There are two things you can learn by stopping your back swing at the top and checking the position of your hands: how many hands you have, and which one is wearing the glove.

· Hazards attract; fairways repel.

· You can put "draw" on the ball, you can put "fade" on the ball, but no golfer can put "straight" on the ball.

· A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.

· If there is a ball in the fringe and a ball in the bunker, your ball is in the bunker.

· If both balls are in the bunker, yours is in the footprint.

· Don't buy a putter until you've had a chance to throw it.

Coping with the Fundamentals

Editor’s Note: All too frequently the above “fundamentals” torture golfers. But, thankfully, scientific “rules” exist that are intended to ease our pain. Here are a few of them.

· A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be lifted and placed in the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into the rough. Such veering right or left frequently results from friction between the face of the club and the cover of the ball, and the player should not be penalized for erratic behavior of the ball resulting from such uncontrollable mechanical phenomena.

· A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed not to have hit the tree. Hitting a tree is simply bad luck and has no place in a scientific game. The player should estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree and play the ball from there, preferably from a nice tuft of grass.

· There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course somewhere and eventually will be found and pocketed by someone else. It thus becomes a stolen ball, and the player should not compound the felony by charging himself with a penalty stroke.

· If a putt passes over the hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The law of gravity holds that any object attempting to maintain a position in the atmosphere without something to support it must drop. The law of gravity supercedes the laws of golf.

· Same thing for a ball that stops on the brink of the hole and hangs there defying gravity. You cannot defy the law and, thus, the hanging ball is deemed to be holed.

· Same thing goes for a ball that rims the cup. A ball should not go sideways. This violates the laws of physics.

· A putt that stops close enough to inspire such comments as, “You could blow it in,” may be blown in. This rule does not apply if the ball is more than 3 inches from the hole, because no one wants to make a travesty of the game.