By Matt B. Walen
Golf is a very humbling game. It's very similar to working in the newspaper game both have very little room for error.
In golf, the hacker (I haven't achieved the title of golfer yet) tees the ball up and swings for the hole. Most holes take good golfers two, three, sometimes as many as five swings before holing out. This activity continues for nine or 18 holes, depending on the amount of time one has to spend on golf.
I haven't figured out the reason these so-called golf experts keep trying to swing their clubs the minimum amount of times during a round. The clubs are rather expensive, after all, and one might as well get as much use out of the equipment as possible. I view the extra swings as a way to get more exercise and, therefore, more value for the round of golf.
I view myself as a course hack, kind of like Chevy Chase's character in Caddyshack never really know what I shoot and just play for the love of the game. Of course, his character was a much better golfer than my hacking ability allows.
I posted a stellar 62 the first night of golf league play. In doing so, I only lost one ball, had another ball stolen and was three over in the beverages consumed category. All in all, a very good night of golfing, er, I mean hacking.
With a little practice and more beverages consumed, I'm sure I can raise the level of play and probably shoot close to 100 for the nine holes. That works out to a nice savings on green fees for myself.
I'm falling in love with the game because it allows me the opportunity to get outside and soak in some sun. I love the way my hair gets sun bleached and skin turns dark tan.
One of my heroes from the comics page, Doonesbury's Zonker Harris, was an expert golfer/sunbather and was seen on the professional circuit for duffers/tanners. He never amounted to much because he liked steady drives of 20 yards this allowed for a perfect tan and a great lie for every shot.
Unfortunately, my golf swing is like that.
The mechanics of a golf swing are very similar to how the newspaper crew at The Havre Daily News works together to get the paper out on time. Every department works in harmony to make sure the paper is completed on time very similar to how the different joints in the body work together to make one fluid motion when striking the golf ball.
If the golf swing motion is slightly off, the ball takes off in a bad angle and may force the golfer to play from a bad position on the course. I've mastered the art of a perfectly bad golf swing, I lack control of where to send the ball, and my skill on the greens is phenomenal.
The world of journalism can be just as challenging as a Jack Nicklaus-designed course sand traps (deadlines), water hazards (deadlines), and the super long par 5 (deadlines).
Instead of teeing it up for nine or 18 holes, we tee up the paper five days each week. Most of the time we try to keep the drives down the middle of the fairways. Occasionally one factual tidbit of a story lands in the rough and isn't totally accurate. At this point we take a drop (correction) and score a bogey or double bogey on the story.
Unfortunately, we don't have any mulligans in journalism. That's what makes the world of journalism so interesting and maddening at the same time. We tee up the newspaper and the whole world gets to see our shanks and boinks.
I'm just thankful that I find the game of golf so enjoyable as do I find my choice of profession.