13 July 2005

Thwack!

There's something very satisfying about the thwack a golf ball makes when you hit it squarely. The driving range has been open for a couple months, but today was the first time this summer I'd been out to hit some balls. It was a really nice day for it: overcast, humid, but only 71 degrees. There were a few people driving over on the side that's open, so I had the row of roofed booths to myself. After about ten strokes, I thought wow, I haven't hit any into the cage, and immediately feared I'd jinxed myself. When I was in high school, a few misdirected swings always resulted in that embarrassing ricochet which made me cover my head and cower until the ball dribbled away onto the grass. Maybe luck was with me because no one was watching.

No, I'll give myself more credit than that; I was paying attention to form and generally keeping my eye on the ball. I was hitting about 100 yards for the first half of the bucket: for distance, nothing impressive, my consistency was the noteworthy thing. Nearly every stroke started straight and then curved right about two-thirds out veering the same amount each time.

In a recent episode of Queer Eye (I swear I just caught a few minutes of it), Kyan was telling a guy to line up with the ball between his feet. That's how I'd always done it growing up, but some other show or something got me to start lining up the ball with my left foot last year. Today I reverted to between the legs, but it didn't feel significantly better, so after about 20 balls, I switched back to the left foot line up and started hitting 125 yards.

What's awesome is that it's not all about how hard you hit the ball. A drive executed with attention, though it might appear to be a slow motion swing, can yield the same distance as a fast swing. It's great meditation: for each swing, I have to do my best to be in that moment without distraction if I want to hear that thwack. Now if I can just figure out what I'm doing to end up with a curve ball...

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