Played properly, golf is a great game. Played improperly, it is a frustrating waste of time. But with a few small tips and a little practice, you can turn a maddening afternoon on the course into a triumph. So breathe deeply into your ether-soaked rag and let’s begin.
When you’re on the tee, release the tension in your shoulders. Line the ball up in your stance. You’ll want to keep your weight slightly on your toes. The power in your golf swing comes from your hips, so be sure to start your swing from there. You’ll also begin to experience a tingling feeling spreading through your body as if you were slowly getting into a warm bath. Your face will begin to feel heavy and soft, like warm dough. Keep your left arm straight and swing through the ball.
As you walk up the fairway, visualize your next shot. Take a hit from the rag to help you visualize. One of the most important things to remember is that this game is simple if you let it be simple. Do not be distracted by the growing noise of a chainsaw in your ears. And don’t let yourself be rattled by the frequent bouts of spontaneous blindness. Think of it as a way to cut out the visual distractions. Also know that these distractions will get more vivid and alarming.
It’s also important to be aware of the course conditions. When you reach your ball, take a moment to appreciate the texture of the fairway by lying down and putting your cheek against it. Do not rush this process; take the time you need. Whisper to your ball that you aren’t afraid of it. Your ball may reply with angry racial slurs, so put it in your mouth to show it who’s in charge. When you’re ready, get up and select a club. You might need more ether for this.
Your ball will have learned its lesson by this point, so it’s safe to spit it out. Once you’ve selected what you’re fairly certain is a golf club (taste it to make sure), gauge the distance to the hole. Wind is often a factor, as is that black wolf on the green that keeps eyeing you. Do not try to yell at it, as you have most likely lost the power of coherent speech. Take off your shirt and wave it over your head to scare it off. Take off your pants as well because the sounds they’re making upsets you. Line up your ball and swing.
At this point it’s best to select a single club that you will use for the rest of the hole, as your golf bag will weigh several hundred pounds. It may also be engulfed in cold blue flames. Leave it behind. The best players often only use one club anyways. Gary Player won the 1961 Masters with only a 7 iron and a pocketful of mescaline. A 6 iron would be appropriate given its versatility and the fact that the other clubs have grown fangs and are trying to bite you.
As you walk onto the green, painful personal memories might begin to manifest themselves physically. Your father will begin walking beside you. He’ll tell you that the greatest disappointment of his life was your inability to get into medical school. He will then begin listing your more notable failures in chronological order. Do not let this ruin your putting. Some more ether will improve your concentration.
Upon reflection, you’ll find that more ether will not improve your concentration. But golf is a game of risks. The green will begin to tilt crazily in an attempt to dump you into a sand trap. Drive your 6 iron into the ground to stabilize yourself. If you do go into the sand things will go badly. Jack Nicklaus was known to spend hours rolling around in the sand screaming about giant crabs. You do not want this happening to you.
By now a crowd will have started to form around the green. Do not acknowledge their presence, even if they ask you to come inside or to stop urinating on the course. Just finish off the ether and focus on your putt. Approach your ball and line up your shot with what’s left of your club. Aim for a spot six inches in front of the ball, vomit copiously and remember to follow through.
Was that so hard? You’ve finally made your father proud. He looks so happy. But now the wolf’s attacking him. Now they’re kissing. But that’s just part of the game.