How often have you heard someone complain about their high cholesterol, even though they eat right and work out regularly?
I’m told that the biggest factor in determining such traits is beyond your control—it’s built into your genetics. Try as you may, if your grandparents “cursed” you, you may never get that cholesterol number down to the low 150’s (millennials should ask their parents what a cholesterol test is…😊).
So why would I bring that up, and why is there a robot golfer (Iron Byron) shown on Steemit as my avatar? Although we don’t have all the same parts, I do happen to have some “robot” in me in the form of a mechanical hip—the finest titanium-ceramic joint money could buy. Although it is likely somewhat self-inflicted—from many years of high-impact sports—there is certainly a genetic component as my ancestors have a history of osteo-arthritis that they have so generously shared with me. It appears that the 2nd bionic joint is not too far in the future—this time a knee.
So, I absolutely love golf. I set the stage with genetics so that I have an excuse why I can’t blast a tee shot 300 yards in the air (like my 2 sons that play). If I am not playing golf, I’m either watching the latest PGA Tour event on the DVR, or reading about golf on the web. Although my day job is an avionics engineer, I will enter my 14th season as a high school golf coach next spring. I tell the kids that I coach you don’t need a perfect swing, and that I am the living example of how you can mis-hit shots all over the golf course yet still score around par. USGA handicap index is currently 5.1.
I’ve been playing the game for nearly 50 years (don’t do the math to see how old I am). The past 20 or so I’ve often been accompanied by one or both of my sons, who each played some college golf. On a rare occasion—say once or twice a year—I can come out on top with the score of the day, but it’s normally a battle between the two of them, with me limping across the finish line in 3rd place. Given the onset of “senior menu” status, they finally allowed me to move up one set of tee markers from the back tees, and affectionately dubbed them the “JV tees”. I told my wife she is not allowed to play golf as I am barely clinging to the #3 spot in the family as it is—don’t want to drop to 4th!
The “Iron Brian” nickname was assigned by my brother, who claims I’ve never hit a tee shot out of the fairway (he’s older and has some memory issues). Occasionally I’ll bend over to put a tee in the ground and my hip joint will produce an audible squeak, much like a door hinge in need of a drop of oil. Then, out come the jokes like “Tin Man, get your oil can. That brother and I have had some spirited matches in the past, but yours truly normally comes out on top in that one. One time, after spending about $40 at the beverage cart throughout the day, he was so disgusted with losing to his little bro that he tossed the 6 1-dollar bills in the air that he lost to me, sending me scurrying across the green to catch them before they blew into the greenside water hazard. It’s the principle, not the amount. That same brother once disappeared into a deep grass bunker on the far side of the green, then sent his ball up onto the green in what appeared to be a miraculous shot from deep rough. My suspicions were soon confirmed by his sh#t-eating grin as he appeared on the green that it was indeed the top of his fingers I saw above the horizon, part of the hand that propelled the ball upward instead of his wedge. The great thing about golf is that (normally) there are no referees to blame bad calls on like with most other sports I have enjoyed. It’s just you against the course, and also against that bit of gray matter between your ears. Even though my best drives are behind me, I probably shoot more 9-hole under-par rounds now than ever before because I use the brain instead of the brawn. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be able to hit an iron to the green for the 2nd shot on a par 5, but, realistically, that’s not going to happen. I have to play for position, leaving me with a good chance to get up-and-down from 100 yards or so. True story: On a course we never played before, my boys were contemplating how much of the dogleg par 5 they could cut off. Looking at the hole map, one said to the other, “Look, it’s only about 290 (yards) to carry that bunker”. Well, that line off the tee was not an option for me, so I aimed straight down the middle of the fairway, content to play it as a “3-shot hole”. Long story short—the big hitters tried to cut too much off the dogleg and found themselves in knee-high rough, both recording a bogey, while Dad hit a wedge from 100 yards and knocked in a 10-footer for birdie. Once in a while, “old age and treachery” triumphs over “youth and vitality”.
Future blogs may not focus on golf, but as they used to say on the PGA commercials, “I love this game!” As the legendary Tigger would say, Ta Ta For Now (TTFN).