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Brock: Birthday golf lesson

Last week I was with my daughter Amanda on her birthday as we passed the golf course in Havre, Mont. I thought back to her 16th birthday. Amanda, no thanks to her dad's coaching, was an all-state golfer for Havre High School. So, for her birthday...

Harvey Brock

Last week I was with my daughter Amanda on her birthday as we passed the golf course in Havre, Mont.

I thought back to her 16th birthday.

Amanda, no thanks to her dad's coaching, was an all-state golfer for Havre High School. So, for her birthday 15 years ago, I took the day off to golf with her brother, Tom.

Golf is funny in that some days you play good and others horrible. I would be really rich if I could figure out why.

That Tuesday morning, my game was great and the birthday girl's game was as bad as mine was good. Every shot I hit was like it was struck by somebody who knew what they were doing and Amanda's game was like my normal game-in that every shot was an adventure.

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Golf is all mental and requires focus. While I was tuned in to my game, she was losing her composure. To compound her frustration, I started a fatherly three-minute lecture that lasted about two hours on staying calm. I pointed to my cool and calm demeanor as the proper way to play good golf after each good shot.

I lectured her that reacting negatively after each of her bad shots only compounded the problems with her game that day. She reminded me that it was her birthday and it wasn't fair that I was playing the game of my life. Her 13-year-old brother needling also did nothing to help her composure that was fading fast.

When we arrived at the tee box of the last hole, I reiterated that golf was all mental and that keeping cool like her dad had a lot to do with playing well.

Now, up until that time and ever since, I had ever been under par on the last hole of any golf course. Even if I was only one under. (To those folks much smarter than I who don't play golf shooting par is the Holy Grail for a below-average golfer.)

The ninth hole is the easiest hole on that golf course and one that I had pared several times and even birdied a few times. While I may have been cool on the outside, inside that was not the case. Still, the next two shots mirrored my previous shots and the ball settled safely a mere 90 yards away. All that was left was a simple wedge on the green, two putts and an under-par round was mine.

Naturally, I missed the green and landed in the sand trap-and that day it was a trap. Shot No. 4 failed to get out of the trap. No. 5 sailed across the green to the trap on the other side of the green. No. 6 sailed back into the original trap. No. 7 did finally exit the trap, where I took three puts to get the blasted thing into the hole.

I finished with a 10 on the hole and 9 over par-much to the amusements of my kids, who fell out of cart laughing hysterically at the cool and calm guy who started the hole but left the course five shots before finishing.

Golf has taught me many a things. Amanda and I both got a reminder of how humbling the game is and it left her dad wondering why he plays the stupid game along with a lesson about practicing what you preach.

Related Topics: GOLF
Opinion by Harvey Brock
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