I need to golf more often.
I figured this out while enjoying a round of golf last week at Dodge City Country Club. I fared well driving the ball, was OK with the mid-range but I have little to no short game.
Part of my problem, I know, is how I learned to golf. When I really got interested in the game and played once or twice a week, I had a starter set of clubs. I had a 1 and 3 wood, a putter and 3,5,7 and 9 irons.
Now, I have a full set of clubs, but the one that vexes me the most often is the pitching wedge. I can’t hit one to save a bogey.
See, when I was golfing regularly I used a 7 iron for all my chip shots. I gauged distance and hit the 7 iron for everything from a bump-and-run from short distance to a medium distance, high shot. I didn’t have a pitching wedge, so I never learned the proper way to hit one.
Now, some might suggest I could improve my play of the pitching wedge by going to a driving range and hitting bucket after bucket of range balls to figure it out. They’re right, but also wrong.
See, I’ve golfed twice each of the last two summers. The summer before that I got on links four times. It seems as I’ve gotten older, the opportunities are less and less. Plus, golfing can be a little pricey.
I need to convince our ownership to provide me what was given as part of my benefits package when I was an editor in Pennsylvania.
Upon arrival at the newspaper, the publisher informed me part of my job’s perks was a golf membership to the local golf course. Yes, I was in heaven. Weekly golf without any out-of-pocket expenses.
It even included golf cart fees.
I played a lot of golf — including tournaments — that summer. Of course, we’re talking 20 years or so ago, but you’d never guess how many stories I got while on that course.
But, I digress. What I was trying to say is that with limited time and finances, instead of going to a driving range when I have time and money, I’d rather be playing golf.
I know I’ve explained this before, but golf is serenity for me. When I sobered up 26 years ago, where I went to rehab had a 9-hole golf course. I spent many an hour learning to play golf and being out in nature, keeping myself calm and enjoying my time.
So, no matter how bad I play or how horrible my stress level is, golf relaxes me. It’s my personal "reset" button, allowing me to relax, to get out of my own head and to "Let go, Let God."
Yes, I’ve broken 100, but only once have I played 18 holes under 90. I’ve had impromptu lessons given by various golf pros I was friendly with over the years, which thankfully improved my drives, but I’ve never practiced much at a driving range.
And I have no clue how to use a pitching wedge.
That being said, a buddy and I went golfing last week to discuss some stories. Since we both enjoy golfing it made the perfect setting for discussing business, while having an enjoyable day.
The best part of golfing is that there is always something about your round to like. I shot 102 (yes, I know, horrible), but it was the first round of the year, I made par on one hole, I hit several decent sand saves and only lost one ball for 18 holes.
However, it showed me also that I need to play more. Just hitting pitching wedges twice a summer will never allow me to figure things out. My short game needs work, my fairway woods or hit-and-miss and, well, the only way to improve is to go out and do it.
So, unless the newspaper ownership agrees to the golf membership perk (not happening), there is no way I’m golfing once a week. I’ll be lucky if I get one a month in.
Thank goodness I like to hit the 7 iron. The pitching wedge is going to have to stay in the bag — at least for another year.
Roger Bluhm is the managing editor of the Dodge City Daily Globe. Follow him on Twitter @roger_dcglobe or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.