Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Plan of Action

After giving it some thought, I realized today that while I do have an ultimate goal of getting my game in shape to enter a local qualifier for a US Open, I need to determine ways of defining intermediate goals along the way to make sure that I’m making progress.

This, of course, is an issue as well. Everyone knows that golf is a funny game: you can shoot lights-out one round and then have no idea what you’re doing the next. My handicap index will be the ultimate barometer of my progress, but until I start stringing together consecutive low rounds, I know my handicap will not change. Due to the nature of calculating a handicap, it can be hard—as everyone knows—to lower or even to RAISE your handicap without a few LARGE numbers thrown into the mix.

I suppose the one advantage I have right now is that I do not have a formal handicap. That means that once I start playing every weekend, I might start out with a handicap lower than a 6, and I will already be that much closer to my goal. Or, it could mean that I’ll have 10 bad rounds in a row, and my handicap will be higher. I guess only time will tell.

Either way, one thing I need to figure out is if I can find a local course around the area that will “sponsor” me to some degree. Let’s face it, with the economy where it is, I couldn’t afford to play every day if I wanted to. But, if the golf course is willing to cut me a deal for the sake of this little experiment, that would give me more of an opportunity to play and lower my handicap. So I guess my first order of business as I begin my conditioning routines is to construct a proposal for local golf courses to see if I would be able to get any free rounds or range time. Even a reduced rate would be helpful. The tough thing, however, is that with gas prices where they are, my travel radius is a wee bit smaller than I expected and I don’t have a lot of course options. In that case, I suppose I should make my proposals pretty convincing. Here are a couple of samples that I’m considering:

SAMPLE #1

Dear Golf Course Owner,

You lucky bastard. How dare you own a golf course and get to play on it any damn day you want while the rest of us have to work for a living. No, I’m just kidding. I know running a golf course can be hard, especially when 90% of your staff would rather be playing golf than WORKING anyway. I ought to know: I used to work at a golf course.

My reason for writing to you today is simple: I want to play golf for free. I mean, it’s a free country, isn’t it? Why shouldn’t I be able to hit a little white ball on some land you manicured for that exact purpose at no cost to me? I mean, I DID buy my own clubs and balls, right? Right. I knew you’d see it my way. You lucky bastard.

Sincerely,

Tom Collins

Well…perhaps I need to take more of a business approach. Something that a savvy golf course owner could relate to: like dollars and cents. And overt compliments.

SAMPLE #2

Dear Extremely Handsome and Skilled Golf Course Owner,

I am writing to you today to propose a mutually beneficial business relationship whereby you will obtain a constant stream of free advertising and positive course reviews in return for free use of your driving range and available tee times.

As an avid golfer and online content provider, I have created a site which will document my daily and weekly struggles to lower my handicap in an attempt to be eligible for a US Open local qualifier. Through a combination of text and banner advertisements, it is my hope that your golf course will receive more business and exposure on an International scale for assisting me with my objective.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Tom Collins

That’s a little better I guess. But I still like the first one better. In addition, I suppose if it came down to it, I might volunteer some time to help them on the weekends working at the bag drop or cleaning carts. I mean hell, I’ve done it before. Then again, that would take time away from focusing on my golf game. So I’m not so sure I want to subject my busy schedule to that kind of commitment.

In the meantime, I’m stretching every day now, and I have to say, it really doesn’t take that much time at all. Only about 10-15 minutes, and I’m set for the day. I also have a tournament I’m playing in this weekend—a scramble—so we’ll see how I fair under these intense playing conditions. Especially on a course that’s 3,300 yards from the tips.

Yes, that’s right. I said 3,300 yards from the tips. Kind of makes your brain fart, doesn’t it?

Well, at the very least, I just put a little more pressure on myself to perform now that you guys know how short this course is. Now, there IS a crap-load of water, but if I "pull a Tiger" and hit irons off of the tee all day, I really don’t have an excuse for playing poorly—especially when I have 3 other people keeping me sane. Or at least that’s the idea.

Take care all.

5 comments:

English Dave said...

Tom!

Firstly ... is that you, looking like Stevie Wonder at the top of the page? That follow-through's got shank written all over it, with the thought that "If I keep looking straight ahead, people will think that's where the ball's gone". You handsome and clever devil, you.

Secondly, send the first letter. If you get to use a course for free after sending that one, you know you're in like Flynn. But if that somehow doesn't work, send the second one and volunteer your monkey services and everything.

Lastly, good luck with your big boys course at the weekend. Are you sure you'll be able to manage it all the way around? It IS quite far. Are you sure it's not just a par 3 course? The average hole is only 183 yards. If you need a wood on one of those holes ... well, good fucking luck in qualifying to play at somewhere like Torrey Pines (7800 yards or something like that). I'm sure you'll be fine. I have every faith in you.

Take care, champ.

Tom Collins said...

Dave, you're hilarious. And I agree...I think if I play poorly this weekend, and the boys of the USGA happen to catch wind of my stellar performance...they might just blacklist me from ever playing golf again. They might even create a new rule on my behalf.

Rule 14-3-2-48-1,583.4b:

Association with Tom Collins

Any golfer or golfers caught within 100 yards of Tom Collins are assessed a penalty of 2 strokes per hole while in breach of this rule for stroke play formats.

In match play, both players are disqualified automatically. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

The Armchair Golfer said...

Tom,

Why not tell the golf course owner you are writing about your quest here, and will include their name, etc.? Maybe give them a free ad or blurb of some kind. That's good exposure.

I have golf folks trying to give me free stuff all the time ... why not you, and why not a complimentary golf venue for your experiment?

Armchair

The Armchair Golfer said...

Oops! I see that you've taken that approach in Sample #2. Yes, I like it.

The Artful Golfer said...

I volunteered to create and maintain our Men's Club website, and without my even asking, the club pro generously offers me quite a bit of free golf in exchange. I use blogger to author the site and use labels to organize content - see monarchdunesgolfclub.org. Apparently, you have a lot of blogger experience as well ;).