Musing with Cecil Buffington



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May 2, 2010

What level of golf do you play ? ? ? 

As I watched the Quail Hollow Golf Tournament this past Saturday, I continued to be amazed at the ball striking ability of these people that play the game of golf for a living. For those of you that are not extremely knowledgeable of the game, I’ll update you on some of my infinate wisdom gained after 40 years of attempting to play the game.

There are several sub-levels to the game of "golf".

Many of you have undoubtedly played the miniature golf game called putt-putt. That qualifies as one sub-level. Another level is playing a par 3 course. Another still is played by amateurs that can play a par 72 course at around 80 strokes. This is "amateur golf", and then there is "professional golf" like they play on the PGA tour. Finally, we come to the game I play. Believe me it is nothing like amateur golf or professional golf. Up until today,  I never knew what exactly to call it. But after playing 18 holes and then watching the pros on television, I think I have finally figured out what to call the game I try to play.

Since it isn’t really at the quality level of amateur golf and it certainly isn’t anywhere near the pro level, I guess you’d have to call it "imitation golf." That’s basically what it is. A good definition of imitation golf could very well be "An individual swinging a golf club at a ball, while hoping to make contact, with the end result being that the ball will end up in an area or location where they can hit it again."

You’d be surprised how many of my "shots" land in places where I can’t hit the ball without fishing it out of the water, moving it from behind a tree or digging some of the weeds out from around it so I can hit it again. That is, of course, when I can find it.

Another thing I have learned about this highly addictive game is that it seems like every round you will hit that ONE shot that gives you the motivation to return to the course again. A practitioner of imitation golf has a strange affliction called "enhanced optimism". They tend to believe the day will come when they will hit the majority of their shots just like they hit that one amazing shot during their last round. Believe me, it just isn’t likely to happen.

But like most duffers, I’ll continue to go back to the course. I’ll buy that bucket of range balls and hit several of them fairly well. Then I’ll walk up to that first tee and hope the law of averages dictate that it is my turn to hit a decent shot that gives me a chance to have a decent score on the hole.

Playing golf may be the ultimate frustration, but you'd be amazed how it breaks the boredom.

Such is the life of an imitation golfer.

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