Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Beatin' that first bucket

When the thermometer outside the window of my home office hit 75 degrees at noon today, I couldn't resist the temptation any longer.

I slammed my laptop closed, stuffed my pasty white legs into a pair of shorts and tossed my clubs into the trunk. I didn't have time to play 18, but I sure had time to bang a jumbo bucket. In no time at all I was at the Golf Zone in Horsham, making all kinds of horrible creaking sounds and grunting noises as I tried to get limber after a long winter's sloth. Other than taking a few swats at an indoor range, I hadn't touched a club since my last round of the season in late November in Florida.

I wasn't the only one with the same idea. The Golf Zone was doing a brisk lunchtime business. By my intitial count, there were 15 guys hitting balls. More guys were arriving by the minute. I bowed in reverence to the fella who had his twin sons, who were maybe a year old, parked in a double-seater baby stroller next to his mat, watching their Dad beat balls.

Naturally, I hit the ball great. I'd excited about that, except that I always hit that first bucket or two of the season great. Sometimes, the greatness even extends into my first actual round of the season. But along about that second or third round, the doubt starts to creep back into my mind and into my swing. This ain't my first rodeo. By then, it's only a matter of time before I'm sailing tee shots two fairways over.

Not to get all doomsday about it, but my guess is it'll happen next week in Miami, when I try to sneak in a round while I'm covering the WGC-CA Championship. Wish me luck.

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