Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered....was He

Anyone will tell you that golf is a psychological game as much as a game of skill.  In my opinion the really great golfers are able to consistently achieve an almost zen-like state on the course - they play in the "zone".  This requires immense focus and sometimes the smallest, stupidest distraction can interrupt your "chi" for the whole day.  I watched first hand yesterday as this happened (thankfully not to me).
We played a pretty course in a beautiful forested area just outside Myrtle Beach called Conway.  Tall Carolina pines lined the fairways and long winding trails through the swamps linked some of the holes.  Driving through the misty swampy areas on your golf cart made you glad you were on a cart as the swamps were spooky and mystical, likely explaining why they named the course - The Witch.  The witchy theme ran throughout the club, from the pointy peaks on the club house (see photo) to the tee box markers made of pointed gnarly painted spikes of driftwood stumps gathered from the swamps.  At one point at an intersection in the layout, the pine pollen was thick and drifting across the greens and fairways creating a haze like a dry ice machine set into motion - all smoky and eerie.  This place was "witchy".
But perhaps the witchiest thing about the day was the spell I cast on one of the fellows in our foursome.  Doug and I were paired with two guys (a father/son in law duo) from Virginia Beach.  Over the years, it has become quite apparent to me that some men are uncomfortable golfing with a woman in the group.  I can usually tell if this will be the case from the first handshake and their thoughts may as well be written across their ball-capped heads.  The first thing they are thinking is "great, a broad - she's gonna slow us down".  The next thing they are thinking is "damn, gonna have to watch my potty mouth and how the hell will I be able to piss in the woods with her around all day?"  But the grandaddy of thoughts is - "she better not be better than me"!
Knowing all this, I do by best to keep any obvious girly behaviour under wraps (no squealing at the sight of an alligator on the edge of the pond on the seventh hole - I calmly took my camera from my bag and casually snapped a photo).  I only re-apply my lipstick in the bathroom at the turn and I never complain about a broken nail or sand in my eye.  Short of smoking a big fat stogie after my first birdie of the day, I pretty much keep my feminine side under the radar.
However, the one thing I never hold back on is my golf game.  Fortunately, yesterday was a particularly good day for me.  Unfortunately, for Mike from Virginia Beach, such was not the case.  
For once all my drives were long and straight up the middle, my fairway shots equally amazing (if I do say so myself)  and other than a few flubbed sand shots, my chips and putts were fairly spot on as well.  The Witch was definitely on my side.  I couldn't help wondering if there wasn't some sort of voodoo magic going on as Mike hit one shanked worm-burner after another from the tee.  Then I started to notice that he would always root for Doug at every tee box - "C'mon Doug - crank one out there!" (as though my husband ever needs anyone to encourage him to do just that).  Although Mike never said anything negative to me, not once did he say much of anything to me at all.  What he did do as far as my female intuition could tell, was beat himself up all day long over his poor play, and what I did was try to suppress my guilt over my great play.  
I hate to admit it but when I am playing better than one of the males in the group, it kind of pumps me up - like little jolts of testosterone.  I'm on the team!  I can play with the big boys!  I can have a guffaw with the guys. (Did you know that if a guy tees off and his shot doesn't make it past the ladies tees, he is supposed to pull down his pants to prove he is a man - it's a guy- golf joke)  Even I thought that was pretty funny.  For the record, I do not use the ladies tees.  Last year I started hitting from the white tee boxes as I found I could keep up distance wise. (I still hit from the reds when it's an extra long par 5 or I don't like the distance from a par 3, but only when it's just Doug and I and we are pretty loosey goosey with the rules).
There's just no getting around the fact that men and women are and always will be polar opposites in so many ways.  The trick (especially on the golf course) is to not let those differences get in your "zone".  I'm sure Mike regrets letting me affect his "zone" yesterday and I'm just glad The Witch wasn't called The Warlock, or I may have actually been "that broad who slowed down the game all day". Score one for the ladies.

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