Going Mental

In anticipation of our usual cold, foggy and rainy winter months, Johnny the Grip set up a golfers’ book club that would meet twice a month. I immediately knew that sitting around with friends, drinking coffee and discussing books would be much more my style of golf than all that physical activity that makes one sweat, get muddy shoes and flat hair from wearing funny hats. I signed up at once.


February’s book is Extraordinary Golf by Fred Shoemaker. Who could resist a book that has a recommendation by RAM DASS (aka Richard Alpert) on the very first page of endorsements??? Check it out–“A superb road map for those who love the wonderful elusive and mercurial game of golf, and who seek to imbue our game and our lives with deeper awareness.” Is this Boomer lingo or what? No sports analogies or real words with meaning–no, this is ‘mercurial’ and a ‘road map.’ Ram (“Be Here Now”) Dass comes through with 60ies terms that are more foggy than the days outside. Does the response, “like, groovy, man” come to mind? Somehow I don’t think Ram Dass ever watched Robin Williams’ monologue on golf.

Golfer Shoemaker makes the case for getting outside of one’s head and being in the NOW. Enjoy the beauty of nature he writes. Clear your head of all those “fix it” hints you’ve been given. He writes, “…increased awareness allows the body’s natural instincts to come into play, and these instincts make the swing more powerful and efficient. Awareness thus leads to improvement.” (Wasn’t that what pot was supposed to be for?)

Shoemaker thinks the average golfer doesn’t truly concentrate on just one thing for even two to three seconds! I quote: “It’s fair to say that anyone who can keep his or her mind focused for two or three seconds will be an excellent golfer.”

Well of course I can’t do that! I didn’t spend all those years learning to drive, drink my coffee, put on lipstick and hold my cell phone between my ear and my shoulder to limit my skills to one thing at a time now! He muses about focusing for a full two seconds on the T in the Titleist label on his golf ball. So I tried it.

He was right! This was very difficult. I grabbed a Titleist and stared at the T. In two seconds I’d thought about the capital T, wondered what font that was and if it was a red or black Titleist and if maybe I’d have better luck if I used a Calloway. Two seconds seemed like a very long time. I think when my hands heal up I’ll try the driving range rather than golf ball gazing to improve my game.

Or, in the ever-favorite words of Johnny the Grip, “Swing and hit the damn ball!”


About mamatoc

A Baby Boomer learning to live in a retirement community in California.
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