Thursday, May 3, 2007

Club House of Gloom

For many, many years, I had gone through this life happily engorged in misery. My golf game sucked. Even when I had the odd good round, I knew another lousy one was just around the corner.

I got to the point where I even reveled in physical pain. Advanced carpal tunnel in both hands? Great! A right knee that sometimes hobbled me so badly that I had to walk downstairs backwards? Fantastic! Of course, there was the innate ability to combust internally where people could watch my face turn red and see the blood rise like mercury in a thermometer. You could actually watch me come to a boil. All of this, you see, was a ready-made obvious excuse for yet another bad round. (Actually, I never used the word excuse. It was, I said, "the reason.")

As a lifelong cynic and skeptic, I greatly enjoyed morphing into a curmudgeon. It became a goal that I think I achieved, because I knew I was damned good at it.

Having comfortably settled into my cozy nest of thorns, I almost looked forward to the next bad bounce the golf gods would send my way. When I went to the practice green before a round, I'd tell my cart partner that I was going to practice my lip outs. Yessiree, I was well on my way to scripting another Indiana Jones flick for Harrison Ford; Jack O'Leary's Club House of Gloom.
I can't say that I enjoyed all the trappings of my curmudgeoness (Is that a word? Spell-check tells me no. I say it is for today), but I certainly accepted them.

Then three guys had to produce products that absolutely destroyed my merry march to misery.
First, there's John Allan at Q-Link. Actually, John who is now the president of the company gets a bye on this one. He wasn't sailing that ship when I first had this plastic and copper circle hanging on a string draped around my neck, but until I find the cur that did, John takes the hit.

The Q-Link is supposed to help control your stress level on and off the golf course. Sure—and if wrap two around my wrists, I'll wake up the next morning as Brad Pitt's double. Well, I did wear the one around my neck and after a couple of days, when I woke up, I didn't feel the pits. I guess that was a plus. On the golf course, there seemed to be a pilot light on my internal combustion for the normal course of misfortunes. OK, so I was able to override the pilot light in the direst of circumstances (that was too good a shot to hit the bank and bounce backwards into the water DAMMIT!). However, the Q-Link certainly took the edge off. It's still there today.

The next culprit is Jim Uno of Trion-Z and he doesn't get a bye; he's directly in my crosshairs.
Late last May, Jim and I were paired in a golf event in the Pinehurst area. Boy was he in for a treat. He got to see the "full O'Leary."

This was a day in which the carpal tunnel was in full bloom. On about the fifth fairway, I had all I could do to hold a club. Jim came over to me and put an elastic and plastic bracelet on my wrist. It was the Trion-Z. The plastic held two strong magnets while the cloth bracelet was filled with Japanese minerals. I learned later that the combination emits negative ions that lessen the effects of pain. By the time we got to the green, I felt a heat sensation in my hands. Jim said it was circulation that the carpal tunnel had inhibited. Within 20 minutes, the total discomfort had abated by more than half and was bearable.

My "reasons" were starting to fall by the wayside. Less stress and less discomfort in my hands were starting to bother me. What next? I found out.

Three weeks later with the Q-Link and Trion-Z adorning this temple of God, I had another "distressing" occurrence. As I got out of the car at the golf course, I stood up and noticed that something was missing. The pain in my knee that had been present for the past three years in some shape or form was gone. I couldn't believe it. The only thing I'd done differently was wear the band of magnets and minerals on my wrist. I kind of bounced up and down standing on my right leg only and there was nothing. That day, I played my first round of golf without a heavy knee brace in three years and I haven't worn it since. OK, the skeptic in me demands that I still carry the brace in my bag, but I haven't used it.

I'll get you for this Uno—if it's the last thing I do.

I was down to my last defense. I was still as negatively miserable as any golfer could be. If something bad could happen, it would and would always carry a two-stroke penalty. Enter Dr. Jerry V. Teplitz.

I know. Those of you out there in cyberspace, who know me, think it's time I see a shrink, but Dr. Jerry is a doctor of Holistic Medicine, not a psychiatrist—although he just as well could be.
Last week, I had to watch his DVD Par and Beyond: Secrets to Better Golf for a piece I was writing. Trust me on this; I've seen enough of this psycho babble to qualify me for my PHD (In my case that stands for Piled Higher and Deeper) on the subject. Prior to last Thursday, I was filing these entities under "You Can Fool Some of the People Some of the Time, etc." This was different.

Dr. Jerry's premise was set in Behavioral Kinesiology. I'd heard of that before. I didn't understand it, but I'd heard of it. In this DVD, he demonstrates tips on how to get out of whatever funk this dastardly game puts you in right there on the spot. He showed physical proof that the mind inhibits the body's performance and how to overcome it. He showed how the negative words of playing partners can effect you and what to do about it.

I've got to be going soft. I figured, what the hell? I bought into the Q-Link and I guess it's worked. I bought into the Trion-Z and I know that works. I've added a necklace to the bracelet in hopes that it will help a few other parts of the body, although Butch Harmon who endorses Trion-Z told me that this might not be what I'm looking for. I'll give Dr. Teplitz' advice a shot on Saturday.

Using the cues from Dr. Jerry, I bombed my first tee shot down the middle with a mind-released shoulder turn, hit my second shot to 12-feet and made the putt for a birdie. He had me. I was his winning fish in the bass derby. Hook, line and sinker baby!

The best was saved for last. An event occurred on the 17th green that in the past would have had me blazing a trail over the moon. A playing partner didn't get out of the way of my chip and the ball hit him, knocking me out of the hole. Instead, of becoming the personification of "The rocket's red glare" and launching my drive OB, I forgot about it by the time I addressed the tee ball. I ask you, what the hell kind of fun is that? Where's the misery?

I hit a good drive, a good second shot and a good putt to win some money in the weekly point quota game. Then it happened. I walked off the 18th green with a smile on my face. I didn't complain about anything at the 19th Hole. I was calm and in a great mood. Sorry guys, that's not golf. What am I going to do? My regular foursome is so accustomed to the sight of me riding to the green or tee with my arms folded and a frown resembling the mask of death etched in my face, they're not going to be right for a long time. Hell, they don't even know that I can smile.

Hey, before I leave, pour me another and keep pouring for those three guys until they can't take anymore. Someone has to be miserable. After all, this still is golf and I know for a fact, all the pendants, bracelets, necklaces and DVDs in the world won't do squat for a hangover. If I can't be miserable on the golf course, someone has to be tomorrow morning.



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