An Empirical Proof of Golf’s Superiority to Tennis

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Gary Levering, a lawyer and real-estate developer in Houston, died last year. He played on the golf team at Northwestern from 1957 to 1961 (photo above, courtesy of Northwestern Athletics), and once he’d established himself in his career he reimbursed the university for his scholarship. He believed that golf was a more difficult sport than tennis—and he proved it. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

Amy Alcott, Walter Keller, Dean Martin, and Riviera

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On Saturday, Jim Nantz interviewed the great Amy Alcott—who won 29 LPGA Tour events, beginning in 1975, when she was 19—during the CBS broadcast of the Northern Trust Open (nee the Los Angeles Open), at Riviera. In 1995, on assignment at Riviera for Golf Digest, I met Walter Keller, who had been Alcott’s teacher. He told me that he first saw her on the practice tee at Riviera when she was a young girl. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.Dinoandluckies

The Muny Life: Mayfair Country Club

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Recently, I wrote about Mayfair Country Club, a muny in Sanford, Florida, and its interesting connection to Moe Norman. But wait! There’s more! John, one of the regulars, used to work for the tour player Mike Souchak. A friend of his told me, “John has 42 clubs in his bag. When he lifts the bag out of his truck, the truck rises.” John said, “I’m down to 16 or 18. But I’ve got a few beers in there, too.” Here’s a board that one of the regular groups at Mayfair uses to make up teams, or something:

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You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

 

Moe Norman Slept Here (Richard Nixon Did Not)

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The Canadian golf legend Moe Norman spent his winters in Florida, and for many years he supported himself mainly by hustling and giving exhibitions. At one point, the pro at Mayfair Country Club, a muny in Sanford, let him stay, rent-free, in an apartment on the second floor of the clubhouse. I visited Mayfair last winter. The stairs to that apartment had been removed in a renovation, so in order to show me the place Mike Kenovich, the superintendent at the time, had to find a ladder. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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These Are Still the Best Winter Golf Gloves — Plus Other Apparel News

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My friends and I haven’t been able to play golf in about a month now, so I’ve been wearing my winter golf gloves mainly to walk the dog. The ones I like best are still Winter Xtreme, by HJ Glove. They’re thick but flexible, and they have nice grippy silicone webbing on the palms and fingers. And Amazon has them in stock — something that hasn’t always been true. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Headcovers

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My favorite headcover was made of black plush and had the Grateful Dead’s red-white-and-blue “Steal Your Face” skull logo embroidered on it. I got to play golf with Jim Furyk once, and before we teed off his caddie, Fluff Cowan, looked into my bag and said, “So, you’re a fan of the boys, eh?”—one of my proudest moments in the game. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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How He Hit That: My Pitching Wedge from Jimmy Kimmel’s Teeth

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A dozen years ago, in an effort to scientifically determine the effect of alcohol on the golf swing, Golf Digest sent me and three of my regular golf buddies—Barney, Jim, and Hacker (real name)—to Las Vegas for four days, and gave us unlimited access to golf, casinos, and beer. They also recruited a second foursome, whose members included Jimmy Kimmel (then of the Man Show) and Carson Daly (then of MTV). You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

Back-Roads Scotland: Boat of Garten

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Eight years ago, I took what’s probably my favorite golf trip ever. I flew to Glasgow, Scotland, without an itinerary, and spent a little over a week playing only golf courses I’d never heard of. My second stop was Boat of Garten. On the fourth, I caught up to Andy and Pat, a retired couple from Aberdeen, and played the rest of the way with them. Andy had lured Pat to the course by assuring her that it was flat, and he did penance for this untruth by pulling her trolley up the steeper hills, of which there were many. (He had already lightened his own load by leaving eight of his golf clubs at home.) This hole is called Gully:

P1020860You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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Did Donald Trump Copy His Hairstyle From Nature?

P1010611The snowstorm that the Weather Channel had such a cow about earlier this week turned out to be a dud in our part of New England, but we still got six or seven inches Then on Friday morning we got a few more. As a consequence, I’ve spent a lot of time staring at a bird feeder my wife gave me for one of the windows in my office — which our dog has also been interested in. Anyway, I think I’ve figured out where my close personal friend Donald Trump got his hairstyle. You can read more at this blog’s new home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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Is This Idea So Crazy That It Just Might Work?

Not long ago, I received a promotional email from a golf course my friends and I have often played during the winter, called Lyman Orchards. That got my hopes up—but the email wasn’t an announcement that the course had re-opened; it was an invitation to celebrate “National Pie Day” with “a Free 6-inch Pie.” And the pie wasn’t really even free, since you had to buy twenty-five dollars’ worth of other crap in order to get it. And then the weather turned almost vengeful: driving rain and sub-freezing temperatures. And then we got snow.

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I’ve been passing this golf-free period by working—or “working”—and, when I think of it, throwing birdseed onto the hill outside my back door. And one day I noticed something interesting: the birds, with all their frenzied wing-flapping and hopping-around as they pushed and shoved each other to get at the seed, had cleared almost all the snow from the area where I’d been feeding them:

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That made me wonder: could bird power be harnessed to keep golf courses open during the winter? Spread birdseed with crop-dusting planes, which can’t have anything better to do until spring, and let birds take it from there? Fairways and greens only, to keep costs down? I don’t know; I’m not an ornithologist. But let’s try it.

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When my wife was in third grade, her Brownie leader didn’t believe her when she said there was a bird with “tit” in its name, but my wife was right, and the photo above is proof. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, on a day when there was no functioning golf course within a hundred miles of where we live, the Sunday Morning Group went out to dinner, at a sports bar called 1st and 10.

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Hacker (real name) ordered something that isn’t on the menu anymore but that the chef will make for you if you know to ask for it:

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It’s two hot dogs split the long way and wrapped in a tortilla with chili, bacon, cheese, and some other stuff, then dipped in batter and deep-fried—and it comes with fries. I asked our waitress why it wasn’t still on the menu, and she said they took it off because no one but Hacker had ever ordered it.

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Quite a few guys showed up that night. One who didn’t was Stanley. The day before, he had reported, by email: “Had a golfer’s knee installed on Monday. Now rehabbing. Legs the same length.” Hacker visited him a couple of days later:

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Golfers who have knee replacements often figure they ought to get more handicap strokes. But shouldn’t they actually lose strokes, to make up for how much better they feel? When I suggested that to the group, Stanley disagreed. “I have no doubt that the U.S.G.A. will soon ban this device,” he wrote from the rehab center. “However, my knee was installed prior to the change and is therefore grandfathered.” We’ll see.

The other thing we’ve been doing this winter is working on our relationship with our first (and, so far, only) official sponsor: Jagermeister. Our sweatshirts are at the embroidery shop right now, because we’re having our names and some other stuff added to them. Even so, we’ve had a measurable impact on sales. A bridge partner of mine in Mississippi, who doesn’t play golf but does read my blog, wrote to say that he is seriously thinking about buying a bottle. And Other Gene’s wife, Diana, recently ordered some in a restaurant.

Just the beginning, my friend. Just the beginning.

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