Sunday, May 17, 2020

The eight foot putt

Pandemic or no pandemic it's golf season again. And with it comes all the thrills, tension, and dodgy personal integrity that I can see out at my local recreational country club golf course.

For our first episode of the season, my dear golf fans, we are going to hear the thrilling tale of the eight foot putt. For those of you who have ever wielded a 9-iron it will surely evoke all your vast memories of golfing pain. For those of us who have never much dabbled in the game it's a grander story of the human struggle with adversity.

The Eight Foot Putt

From where I am I can't see the drive, and I'm not paying attention as it comes down the hill. But I do know where it lands, and where our real story begins, in the light rough to the right of the fairway. Not a terrible lie for our easy par three hole. Our golfer need merely clear the sand trap to make their way onto the generous green.

But alas nothing is easy for anyone in golf.

Underestimating the richness of the rough, our golfer hits the ball square, but with the head of the club much slowed by the grasses, and the ball arcs nicely, but weakly, and dies in the sand. 

Par suddenly looks very misty and distant through the fog of golf.

But our golfer does not give up. Our golfer does not despair. The ball sits up in the sand. With enough focus this golfer can surely put a clean shot towards the hole.

The golfer plants, balances, focuses, steadies, and settles. The golfer practices, lines up, and backs away. The golfer becomes aware of the other three players in the group starting to get a little impatient. The golfer plants, focuses, practices, and swings!

It's a beauty! It lands ten feet onto the green. It bounces. It's straight. It rolls. Can this be it?

It heads to the hole, quick and pure, an unforgettable shot. It dives at the hole. Pure, yes, straight, yes, clean, yes, but alas too quick, too strong. Not unforgettable after all, except maybe late at night when the golfer thinks of what might have been. The ball bounces out of the hole it hit, and manages to roll surprisingly far. 

Eight feet to be precise.

Pregnant pause.


An eight foot putt is very doable. Nothing too tricky on this green, straight and a little downhill. Surely a manageable bogey. Yes, bogey is a little bit of a dirty word in golf. But most golfers, your average golfers know, to bogey every hole, all 18, would be a not particularly terrible day for them. Par is a triumph. The bogey is meat and potatoes.

An eight foot putt.

Let's go get that damn bogey!

The golfer lines it up. The golfer takes a few swings. The golfer plants. And the golfer hits it square.

It's right on line!

It's perfect.

But oh, the golfer forgot about the downhill lie.

And about the sunny day with the dry afternoon greens.


It's too fast again.

It's the sand trap shot all over again. It hits the lip of the cup, bounces at a neat, aye perfect, right angle, and it rolls eight feet. 

Once again exactly eight feet.

It's an eight foot putt.

Long pause, but really just one breath long as well.

The golfer walks over, holding the hurt feeling inside, stoic, unmoved, at least on the surface. The golfer bends and scoops up the ball in one hand. An eight foot putt? That's a gimme. Double bogey.

We'll win it back on the next hole.

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