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People You Might Not Want to Play With Again

By: Bob Spiwak


Right from the top, anyone reading this knows that professional golf is not what we play. Some golfers have peculiarities that make them, shall we say, not desirable as playing partners. For example . . .

As technology has advanced in equipment, so has the techno-babble on the golf course. Now that we have entered the age of acronyms where the two have combined for some really boring company.

“Yeah, Paul. I got this new putter with an MOI of 413,” says Homer.

“What’s an MOI?” asks hapless Paul, looking up from his putt as he prepares to stroke it.

“Moment of inertia, I thought everyone knew that. It’s real important if you’re gonna play good golf.”

Paul nods and proceeds to can a 13-footer with his ancient Cash-In putter.

Homer carefully sets his ball down 5 inches from the cup and picks up his marker. He looks at it, waiting for Paul admiring comments. Paul doesn’t even notice, so Homer tells him it is an authentic ball marker from St. Andrews. Paul notices a black dot atop Homer’s ball. Figures it’s his mark. But then he sees a red “H” on the side. Before he can ask about the dot, Homer stands and announces that he got this device that gives you the true point of balance of the ball. Very important in putting, he says before jerking the tap-in to the right.

They move to the next tee. Homer inquires as to the volume of Paul’s driver. Paul pleads ignorance. Homer tells him to look on the bottom where it lists the volume. “It says ‘Pittsburgh Persimmon,’ “ notes Paul.

“Oh, that’s an oldie. That used to be a good, first metal wood used on Tour. Obsolete now. My driver,” continues the sage, “is 460 cc’s, beta titanium with a cup face.”

Paul has honors (again) and knocks the ball a bit over 220 yards. “It would’ve gone further if you’d teed it up higher,” says Homer, who then places his ball – black dot up – on a 6-inch-long tee and swings mightily. He ends up on his back foot as his ball airmails Paul’s on its way to the adjacent fairway. “See, these new babies can knock the crap out of it.”

Paul is by this time trying to fake a coronary, or even a miscarriage, in order to get away from the relentless guy he’s paired with. Getting to Paul’s ball first, Homer examines it and exclaims, “Good God, this is a Staff. These are crappola, man! Now I play an Astro Flyer, 497 double-demophoric titanitized dimples. Man, look at the carry I got!”

Paul protests, “But it’s in the other fairway.”

Homer smiles, “Hell man, that’s the way Tiger and Phil and Bubba play. It’s nuevo golfo, amigo.”

It takes three shots for Homer to get back onto the correct fairway. Both players have a wedge to the green. “I like to use a club with a loft of 49 degrees for this shot,” proclaims Homer, “With a bounce of 11.5 degrees.”

“Sounds good,” agonizes Paul as he bumps a nine-iron to within 2 feet. Homer takes dead aim, and bunkers.

Are you getting the message?

Homer, you may think, is a composite, and he probably is. But there are individuals out there who are one-person composites, just like Homer. The guy who has a swing tip every time you pick up the club or fail to hit a decent shot. “Did you see Peter Kostis’ analysis of Tiger’s swing?”

Peter Kostis’s slo-mo commentaries are, to me, the worst thing that has happened to golf since beer was banned from the course. Not only does he make experts out of idiots, he introduces stuff a lot golfers do not want crowding their already overtaxed cerebrums.

I am one of these, and I know others.

It’s not that Homer is a bad guy, even if you’d like to bash him in the noggin with your 200-gram, 427-cc driver with a coefficient of restitution (COR) of 817. He’s like the guy with the cell phone, a family man and hard worker who comes to the course not to play, but to talk and display his importance.

Well, this digression has worn me out just remembering these types. When I’ve recovered we may examine the golfer off-course.

“Hi Ed, how’s it going?” “Well Ted, I hit my drive 300 yards on No. 1, 280 on the second, took a 5 and got it on the green and had a left to right downhill 30-footer and . . .”

Enough already.

Bob Spiwak took up golf in 1953 as a respite from the rigors of selling bibles door-to-door in North Dakota. Though suffering a four-year lapse, he’s back to being a fanatical golfer. Spiwak has written articles for almost every golf magazine in the Western world. Bob’s most treasured golf antiquity is a nod he got from Gerald Ford at the 1990 Golf Summit. Spiwak lives in Mazama, Wash., with his wife and several pets next to his fabled ultraprivate Whispering Rattlesnakes Golf & Flubbers Club.