Boulders, AZ (Sports Network) --
Have you ever seen the "infamous" WW (Weekend Warrior), the fellow in the foursome before or after yours, or the loner that the starter just asked you about and whether you would mind if he joined your group? You know, the guy wearing black socks with brown pants, the somewhat muddy shoes and the shirt with the logo of his bowling team? What, you met him last week? And, worse still, he was wearing blue shorts instead of the brown pants? Of course, that could mean he is a European warrior and, unless you are teeing up at the Old Course at St. Andrews, what the heck is he doing here?
As for the fellow that just had his Bentley parked, how does he run an office that likely has forty or more on his management staff, manage millions of dollars in assets and not get his socks to match either his pants or shoes or, at the very least, get one of them right? I guess you just have to wait until he sets up and takes his first swing. Then it might not matter at all and, for all intents and purposes, you could discover that the answer lies within. Don't start calling your tailor yet especially if you snuck a peak and discovered that his putter had a wood shaft.
For the moment, however, let?s follow him into his typical Saturday morning regimen. It begins with getting up as early as possible, going through a series of stretching exercises that were in his last issues of Golf Digest, GOLF, Travel & Leisure and Links. The response to that from this corner of the tee is "Not!!" Three cups of coffee and a bagel or two later, he reads the sports section, logs on to www.sportsnetwork.com for more golfing updates and the latest clues on how to possibly improve his game. It is not long before Mr. Eleventh Hour is out of the house, rushing off to the local golf course, arriving just ten minutes prior to his tee time. Sound familiar? Do you have a mirror handy?
As Vic Braden, the tennis guru, used to day, "It's not really how you play the game that counts when you arrive at the courts, it is how you dress and the look of the equipment you are carrying. If you chose correctly, it could be 30-Love before you step and was wearing cut-off jeans, a multi-colored shirt and scuffed sneakers sans socks. But, it is, and was, a beginning.
Moving on to the practice tee, our non-candidate for the next cover of GQ is likely to be heard muttering under his breath, ?Hit a few wedges to warm up, rotate those hips, check the book for the yardage on the first hole and...yup, I'm ready." It isn't long before he throws sod over the first striped egg, then "Clang!" and follows with two thin, shaft vibrators, tooth filling shakers. ?Getting better? he thinks, without pausing to dispute that thought for a second. Something about beauty being in the eyes of the beholder speeds through his brain at warp speed.
Experience shows that the next step is likely advancing to the seven iron, a pull, fade, top, somewhat straight semi-clanger and "Aha!?, said aloud, ?I think I?m onto something."
Although he had debated over the new Callaway Fusion model driver earlier that week, and still does not own one, he can reach for ?Sparky,' the new shiny model 2006 turbo driver, kryptonite shaft, velvet grip, with head the size of a nuclear missile. Twang! A scorcher down to the 250 yard marker. ?C?mon, buddy, we?re up on the first tee in a few moments.? WW?s loyal golfing buddy moves along with him, patiently. Every warrior has one, Each group is incomplete without one, the faithful golf companion who endures WW?s mood swings, bursts of anger, bouts of depression and helps celebrate the few flashes of brilliance. Those are, indeed, rare occasions but thoroughly enjoyed whenever they surface ? usually one shot a round and remembered until the next time out...and beyond.
Picture it - our WW stands on the first tee, trees left, out of bounds right. Aim left, play the customary fade. Let?s get into his head, what little room there is. ?Don?t look back at the line forming behind the tee. Try not to think of the veteran advanced golfers gazing out of the clubhouse window, some small degree of wagering hastily taking place on where the anticipated errant shot will land.
It is, admittedly, difficult to ignore the watchful and discerning eye of the golf pro, he of the analytical laser that is only missing the dot of red on your heart or the center of your forehead. "Oh my God he is looking right at me...and not smiling or nodding approvingly." Deep breath now, slow backswing, reach back, left arm straight, cock that right wrist (none of this works if you are left-handed), not too slow...just smooth and easy, finish the backswing, bump the hip, transfer your weight, retain the wrist cock, release and, above all, relax and stay loose. Memorizing the first book of the Encyclopedia Britannica would be easier with less pressure.
"Sparky" bounces off the ground six inches behind the ball, nicks the very top of your new Pro V1, and it dribbles 45 degree right, a whopping thirty yards forward. ?Whew, at least it made it past the ladies red tee markers." Not exactly the consolation prize you were seeking at that precise moment. The good news is that the round is underway, the game is on and you have left behind the first tee, as well as the fun-filled porch of the clubhouse.
"Nice one, Buddy? as WW shuffles self-consciously towards his second shot, thinking, 'better take a five iron, play it safe, and get the ball in play.' "Whack!? says that the ball is where it can be found and play is underway.
"We?re off. Let?s get away from those snickering weekend critics playing behind us." The virtues of patience and tolerance are clearly lacking as the cart lurches forward.
The final episode of this trailer shows WW hitting another five iron, close to the green, skulling a wedge to the back of the putting surface and draining an unlikely 40-footer for bogey. ?Not bad, five on the first, could be a good round???
You gotta love this guy. Have you met him recently?
Donald Crawley, Director of Instruction at the Boulders Golf Academy at the Boulders Resort & Golden Door? Spa in Carefree, AZ, and the President of GolfSimplified. Crawley, a veteran of 29 years of teaching experience, is a regular features contributor to The Sports Network that range from tips on improving your game to etiquette at the course. He has established 40 golf school sites in the United States since 1980, previously as vice president and director of instruction at John Jacobs? Golf Schools, consultant to the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, and presently at the Boulders Golf Resort in Arizona.
Crawley is recognized among the "Top 100 Teachers in America" by Golf Magazine and one of the "Best Teachers in Arizona" by Golf Digest. As both a Class A U.S. PGA member and a British PGA member, Crawley has been recognized for his outstanding teaching abilities. In 2002, he won the Southwest Section PGA?s Teacher of the Year Award. He also received the Horton Smith Award for education in 2000. In addition to teaching over 60,000 students, Crawley has co-authored video instruction tapes with John Jacobs and BBC/ABC golf telecaster Peter Alliss.